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#187 Albert Einstein
June 22nd, 2021 | E187

What I learned from reading Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson. 


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[0:01] In a drama that would seem fake were it not so horrifying, Einstein’s brain ended up being, for more than four decades, a wandering relic.

[4:22] Einstein remained consistent in his willingness to be a serenely amused loner who was comfortable not conforming.

[6:49] “In teaching history,” Einstein replied, “there should be extensive discussion of personalities who benefited mankind through independence of character and judgment.” 

[8:33] It is important to foster individuality, for only the individual can produce the new ideas.

[11:39] He had an allergic reaction against all forms of dogma and authority.

[14:37] It made me clearly realize how much superior an education based on free action and personal responsibility is to one relying on outward authority.

[20:24] It would be an astonishing nine years after his graduation and four years after the miracle year in which he upended physics before he would be offered a job as a junior professor.

[26:24] How To Win With People You Don't Like

[35:22] Had he given up theoretical physics at that point, the scientific community would not have noticed. There was no sign that he was about to unleash a remarkable year the like of which science had not seen since 1666, when Isaac Newton, holed up at his mother’s home to escape the plague developed calculus, an analysis of the light spectrum, and the laws of gravity. 

[41:41] To dwell on the things that depress or anger us does not help in overcoming them. One must knock them down alone.

[44:30] He responded by saying that he planned to “smoke like a chimney, work like a horse, eat without thinking, go for a walk only in really pleasant company.”

[54:25] The whole affair is a matter of indifference to me, as is all the commotion, and the opinion of each and every human being. 

[55:56] I am truly a lone traveler and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these ties, I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude.

[1:10:47] When shown his office, he was asked what equipment he might need. "A large wastebasket so I can throw away all my mistakes.”

[1:18:57] I do not know how the Third World War will be fought but I can tell you what they will use in the Fourth — rocks.

[1:22:26] Brief is this existence, as a fleeting visit in a strange house. The path to be pursued is poorly lit by a flickering consciousness.


Other episodes mentioned in this episode:

#18 Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman 

#25 Against the Odds: An Autobiography by James Dyson 

#94 The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success (Henry Singleton) 

#95 A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age

#110 Distant Force: A Memoir of the Teledyne Corporation (Henry Singleton)

Bonus episode between #168 and #169 Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II

Bonus episode between #179 and #180 Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon 


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