725-867-8495 WWW.ASKEROTHLAW.COM FEBRUARY 2020 3 LESSONS FROM THE LIFE OF LEONARDO DAVINCI
One of my favorite pastimes is reading biographies of historical figures. Just recently, I finished listening to the audiobook version of “Leonardo da Vinci” by Walter Isaacson, narrated by Alfred Molina. Of all the biographies I’ve read, this is definitely one of my all- time favorites, especially thanks to its several amazing takeaways. Here are three of my favorites. My first takeaway from the book is to use life’s setbacks to your advantage . Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452, out of wedlock. His mother was a peasant with no status at the time, while his father was a notary who was deeply involved in the trading industry and well-respected. Being an illegitimate child in the 15th century gave people a huge disadvantage in life. Typically, Leonardo da Vinci would be expected to follow in his father’s footsteps, but he was banned from joining the trade guilds because he was an illegitimate child. Obviously, this could be considered a huge setback for da Vinci. However, his situation turned out to be a life-changing advantage. Without the looming pressure of following his father into the notary business, Leonardo da Vinci had the freedom to explore his passion as an artist. Not being able to join the family business turned into one of da Vinci’s greatest blessings. Like da Vinci, all of us are met with circumstances and opportunities that have the potential to slow us down. But when viewed from a different perspective, life’s setbacks can actually propel us forward. Leonardo da Vinci was also relentlessly curious . He had a never-ending curiosity about the world, studying and learning wherever he went. His constant curiosity and pursuit of knowledge ran the gamut of the natural world. He studied many things, including, how the jaw of the crocodile works, hydrodynamics and geology, and even methods of properly painting the edges of shadows. When we take the time to engage in nature, look at the world we live in, and learn something new, our
lives enrichen. One particular quote from the book highlights this exceptionally well:
“Above all, Leonardo’s relentless curiosity and experimentation should remind us of the importance of instilling, in both ourselves and our children, not just received knowledge but also a willingness to question it — to be imaginative and, like talented misfits and rebels in any area, to think different.” Similarly, da Vinci took the time to enjoy the natural world . Throughout his life, Leonardo da Vinci always had a notebook with him wherever he went. He created thousands of pages of meticulously drawn notes and illustrations, some of which are masterpieces on their own, such as “Vitruvian Man.” But what’s really amazing is that each creation was for his personal enjoyment and edification. He never officially published any of his incredible notes and illustrations—they were for his own use and enjoyment. Leonardo did, however, indirectly benefit from his relentless note taking of the natural world. Through his love of nature, he increased his understanding of light, nature, and the human form, allowing him to create beautiful masterpieces millions of people admire today. While the next artistic masterpiece might be beyond our grasp, I do find that walking in nature recharges my batteries. Getting this chance allows me to be a better lawyer, father, and friend because it allows me to relax, take a break, and take in the world. Being in nature is a vital part of my life; I go camping, fishing, hiking, and walking with my family as often as I can. I highly recommend this book, or its audio version, if you can’t sit down to read — Alfred Molina’s voice is like smooth, smooth butter. Anyone interested in learning more about Leonardo da Vinci, his accomplishments, and the nuggets of life-inspiring moments will find a significant amount of joy in its pages.
OF ALL THE BIOGRAPHIES I’VE READ, THIS IS DEFINITELY
ONE OF MYALL- TIME FAVORITES, ESPECIALLY THANKS TO ITS SEVERAL AMAZING TAKEAWAYS.
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