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The common thread that binds Leonardo, Franklin, Einstein and Jobs

By Alec Hogg

Like millions of others around the world, I’m besotted with Podcasts. The audio equivalent of PVRs are free, accessible and mushrooming everywhere. And the best way I know of learning while conducting otherwise monotonous tasks.

They recently opened a window for me into the thinking of my favourite biographer, Walter Isaacson. After his tours de force on Franklin, Einstein and Jobs, Isaacson’s latest subject is Leonardo da Vinci. To promote the book, he hit the podcast circuit, delivering hours of great infotainment.

In one of the best of these podcasts he was asked by Wharton professor Adam Grant to recommend his favourite books. Topping Isaacson’s list is the Bible. The other three are all travel-related – Homer’s The Odyssey; Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn; and On The Road by Jack Kerouac.

Why so? Isaacson believes exploring places outside familiar surroundings is the best way to connect to humanity and helps us stay curious and observant. Travel is also the common thread between the four geniuses he knows so well. Having just been in Davos, you won’t find any argument from my side.

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