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  • Writer's pictureNishant Mittal

11th book of 2019: Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

As far as I can remember, I've always been fascinated by Leonardo Da Vinci. I don't think there's anymore more accomplished than him in entire human history; his excellence is ridiculously off the charts. When you read his Wikipedia page, you find out that he's the greatest polymath to have ever lived and that he pioneered over fifteen fields of work. Fifteen! From art to engineering, music to anatomy - Da Vinci nailed it all.

I was particularly interested in Da Vinci because I've myself been passionately juggling three fields of work since forever: Entrepreneurship, Music and Writing. Despite hero worshiping the guy for twenty years, I realized I didn't know much about him. How did he do it? Is there something I can learn from and make a mark? Or is it just impossible? The answer is, of course - you don't know.

After reading this one, I realized that there were two primary reasons of Da Vinci's inexplicable reach: First, his ability to observe things in extraordinary detail. And second, to connect/converge those observations and get them to work. He began as an artist, a painter; the guy knew how to "see" and "draw" unbelievably well. That's the start. Next step in his journey came to be "imagining" things that he couldn't "see" and putting them on paper. Which was followed by trying to make those drawings come to life. That's called inventing, by the way. So imagine you can observe and draw things in great detail. You see a flute and listen to it, observe it trapping air to make those beautiful sounds. Then you deep dive into the study of airflow and draw a better flute! That's what Da Vinci did. In over fifteen fields.

Basically, seeing and drawing well tied everything for Da Vinci. Interesting question is, what ties everything for you?


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