• Why simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
    Why simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” wrote Leonardo Da Vinci. He would paint over work that didn’t meet up with his expectations. Not surprisingly, Steve Jobs adopted da Vinci’s maxim in designing Apple computers. Simplicity is the reduction of complexity. It unclutters the multiplicity of crayons and fence-sitting gray space in the middle and replaces objects […]

  • Reexamining the Kiss Principle
    Reexamining the Kiss Principle

    “Keep it simple and stupid.” That was the acronym coined by aircraft engineer Clarence Johnson during the early 1930s. He proposed the “H” style tail for airplanes which helped stabilize flight. Keeping it simple is always easier said than done. What may appear visually simple, took a deduction of complex details. We don’t get to […]

  • Why Leonardo da Vinci wrote backward
    Why Leonardo da Vinci wrote backward

    Leonardo da Vinci wrote backward (mirror writing) because he didn’t want others stealing his ideas. Writes Da Vinci biographer Rachel A. Koestler-Grack: “The observations in his notebooks were written in such a way that they could be read only by holding the books up to a mirror.” But did a genius who combined art and […]

  • Leonardo’s strange faces

    There’s an excellent piece in the NY Times about Leonardo Da Vinci’s obsession with drawing weird faces: Leonardo was a true Renaissance man, fascinated with everything — the mechanics of flight, architecture, engineering, botany, artillery and human anatomy — but one of his favorite private pastimes was to draw faces, either as scribbles in the […]

  • Leonardo's To-Do List
    Leonardo’s To-Do List

    In his book Da Vinci’s Ghost: Genius, Obsession, and How Leonardo Created the World in His Own Image, historian Toby Lester translates one of Leonardo Da Vinci’s to-do lists. On it includes tasks like “calculate the measurement of Milan and suburbs” and “examine the crossbow of Maestro Ganneto.” It is no wonder the polymath is often […]

  • Leonardo da Vinci and the Codex Huygens

    The Codex Huygens is a Renaissance manuscript for a treatise on painting closely related to Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519). Its author has been identified as the North Italian artist Carlo Urbino (ca. 1510/20–after 1585), who must have been familiar with Leonardo’s notes before they were dispersed. Some of the drawings are faithful copies of now […]

  • Bill Gates on the genius of Leonardo da Vinci
    Bill Gates on the genius of Leonardo da Vinci

    A good book review from Bill Gates on Walter Isaacson’s latest book Leonardo da Vinci. More than any other Leonardo book I’ve read, this one helps you see him as a complete human being and understand just how special he was. He came close to understanding almost all of what was known on the planet […]

  • The illusion of a sole genius

    Upon winning the MacArthur Fellow award for creating unconventional, immersive opera experiences, Yuval Sharon didn’t feel like he was a ‘genius’ in any sense of the word. The fellowship is also known as “the genius grant” although the organization steers clear of using the term in its to describe MacArthur Fellows ““because it connotes a […]

  • Too many interests, more than one skill
    Too many interests, more than one skill

    We need doctors who specialize in heart surgery and spend 100% of their time helping other people. But we also need polymaths (Newton, Darwin, Leonardo da Vinci, etc.) to combine ideas to push society forward. As Dilbert’s creator Scott Adam points out, achieving excellence is rare. If you want something extraordinary [in life], you have […]

  • Leonardo Da Vinci: Thinking with an extra wrinkle in the brain

      No artist contained an extra wrinkle in their brain as big as Leonardo Da Vinci. He was a creative genius who combined the disciplines of both art and science to make something new. Leonardo’s formula: see, contemplate, emulate, remix, and recast. His undivided mind drove his imagination which led him toward discovery and innovation. He […]