A while back several of us were having a conversation with Bill Stoller, one of the founders of Express Employment Professionals. The discussion shifted to what books we’ve read recently and Bill shared that he only read business books and biographies. As someone who used to ferociously consume fictions only I thought that seemed a little odd. Biographies? Yuck! Wasn’t that like a history book? Those were not on the top of my reading list.
Fast forward to the present. After reading the autobiographies of Bruce Springsteen and George W. Bush and the biographies of Steve Jobs, George H.W. Bush, and Albert Einstein I’m starting to get hooked!
I’m a little over two thirds through Einstein and I’m totally mesmerized. It’s been so intriguing on many levels for me to pick up on.
Learning about his schooling was a bit mind blowing to me. They would develop a hypothesis and then be sent out into the wilderness to find an example that either proved or disproved it and then use that as the learning session. How awesome is that – using nature as a classroom and leaving kids up to finding meaning in a different way.
I had no idea of the way some society worked back in his time. Learning about his family life was crazy. Did you know that he had a contract with his wife relating to when she could and could not speak with him?
Sure, everyone knows he’s a genius, but it has been so cool to see how he envisioned his ideas and tied them to examples that could be better understood in real life. I really wasn’t sure what the theory of relativity was all about, but his example of people watching a lightning strike on a hill from a moving train really helped me see it.
Learning about his shortcomings have also been very enlightening. The things that helped him become the genius figure that he is were often tied to his compete disregard for authority and status quo. Interestingly enough, later in his life he became the authority and status quo that he had rebelled against!
After wondering what Bill was thinking, I now totally get it. Learning from these historic figures has been a great way to view things from new perspectives, learn from the successes and failures of incredible thinkers, and see them as a little more human… and that’s something I can really appreciate.