One sentence Summary
The Geography Of Genius explains how genius is not an inherited trait bound to individual, but rather happens at the intersection of time and place, by talking you on a tour through some of the historically most creative cities in the world.
Who’s the primary person who involves your thoughts once I say the phrase “genius?” For me, it’ll all the time be Albert Einstein. Nevertheless, I may’ve simply as nicely requested you “what involves thoughts…?” as a substitute of who. We normally tie the idea of genius to people, utilizing it as a time period to explain somebody who’s particularly vibrant, has tons of fine concepts and all the time says the fitting factor on the proper time. However there’s loads of genius happening on the planet that doesn’t have a single first and final title, like the best way bees construction their hives, nameless road artwork or the San Francisco cable automobile system constructed as early as 1873.Talking of the latter, it’s additionally one of many metropolis’s Eric Weiner describes as hubs of genius in The Geography Of Genius. He says genius is extra a results of time and place, quite than some inherent greatness or genetic make-up of a person. Listed below are my three favorite locations he explores and why they bred a lot genius: Would you wish to take a stroll by means of historical past, following the footsteps of genius? Prepared the ground, Mr. Weiner!
Ancient Athens is the grandmother of genius
It’s all the time unhappy to see when what was as soon as of true greatness has fallen and is nothing however a mere remnant of its wonderful previous. Athens positive is a type of locations. Greece has been in horrendous debt for years now, unemployment is sky excessive they usually simply can’t get a foot within the door anyplace.2,000 years in the past, Athens was the frontier of human progress. Statesmen, playwrights, philosophers like Socrates, a few of the biggest minds of all time had been Athenians. There are a pair causes for this: Athenians had been proud residents. As a result of they beloved Athens a lot, they’d all the time compete to see who might contribute to their native society probably the most. Wealthy locals invested into arts and leisure, ensuring tradition would advance, giving creativity an enormous backdrop. They weren’t afraid to undertake overseas concepts, like Egyptian structure, the Phoenician alphabet or Babylonian quantity system. Individuals walked all over the place. 10,000 steps a day isn’t simply good in your well being, it additionally boosts your cognitive capacity and creativity. Not solely, however largely liable for creation and innovation, these 4 issues made Athens the true grandmother of genius. Let’s hope it’ll get again up quickly! Because it seems, these traits are commonalities amongst different artistic hubs too
Because the church “invented” purgatory, it could finance a lot of innovation in Renaissance Florence
For instance, hardly any metropolis produced extra iconic artwork than Florence throughout the Renaissance. Michelangelo, Donatello, Da Vinci, these grandmasters of innovation and artwork all referred to as it their residence. Patronage performed an enormous function right here, with wealthy entrepreneur households, just like the Medici, financing and commissioning numerous work, sculptures and architectural ventures. Nonetheless, even they pale compared with the highly effective patronage of the Catholic church – which had more cash than ever earlier than, due to a intelligent “invention” of their very own: purgatory. The church instructed everybody they’d spend a sure time after loss of life in a spot of excruciating ache and struggling, relying on how a lot they sinned in life. Conveniently, by shopping for costly indulgences from the church (consider it as a letter of apology upfront – a line of credit score for sinning, if you’ll), you may cut back that point. Abruptly, the church’s treasure chambers have been flooded with gold, quite a lot of which went proper again into constructing monuments for the church, such because the Duomo. Competitors and collaboration have been additionally prevalent amongst Florentine inventors and artists. Additionally, identical to Athens, they adopted many overseas concepts, most of which entered town by commerce, such because the Arabic numeral system, dropped at Florence by Leonardo Fibonacci, which later unfold by your complete Western world.
Two things that make San Francisco a modern hub of innovation are weak ties and successful failures
When did Silicon Valley even develop into the image of innovation and technological advance it’s at the moment? It began within the 1930s. Fred Terman, the dean of Stanford’s Engineering College on the time, determined to boldly make investments into an organization two of his former college students fashioned: Hewlett-Packard. Pondering this complete expertise factor was value a shot, Terman went all in and constructed one thing known as Stanford Industrial Park, a expertise heart, which, had it failed, he would’ve became a faculty. This perspective resembles one of many two fundamental drivers of SF’s progressive spirit: profitable failure. So long as you arrange your ventures in a means that they’ll at the least fail in a wise means or be leveraged into one thing else, there’s not a lot to worry, is there? The second a part of SF’s innovation equation is what Eric Weiner calls weak ties. These are the connections with have with different individuals by buddies of buddies (of buddies) and so forth. Having many of those unfastened relationships has two benefits: You understand, work together and alternate with many individuals of various disciplines, industries and backgrounds.You’re not as invested in these relationships, which lets you problem dangerous concepts and crank up the velocity of execution. So the place will the subsequent huge heart of genius be? I do not know. But it surely’ll most likely be a spot with a lot of competitors, tradition and a giant inflow of overseas concepts – Israel perhaps?