Is the lone genius a total myth? - Deepstash
Is the lone genius a total myth?

Is the lone genius a total myth?

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Is the lone genius a total myth?

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The lone genius is a myth

All great achievements involve some measure of collaboration.

Some geniuses were obvious partners - like Orville and Wilbur Wright, or Marie and Pierre Curie, or John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Then there are other more obscure cases where collaboration was the driver of creativity. 

  • Van Gogh had a brother Theo, who was "as much their creator as I, because the two of us are making them together."
  • Picasso rose to the height of his creativity through a friendly rivalry with Matisse.
  • After "a lot of discussions" with Michele Besso, Einstein "could suddenly comprehend the matter."

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The interaction between people is indeed the fundamental engine of the creative process.

We are just not so aware of it, because much of the creative exchange happens quietly to the side, and does not become part of our modern history.

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Remarkable creativity from one person

There is the case of Emily Dickinson. But looking closer, it becomes clear that she was immensely interested in people and wrote hundreds of poems for particular people, and sending them to them.

The big idea is that genius partnerships are stories of dialogue. As Warren Buffett said about Charlie Munger: "Charlie does the talking, I just move my lips."

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Rivals end up as collaborators

Some competition is important. Rivalry can push people to great heights. When one does excellent work, the other feels the need to do even better.

Matisse and Picasso built on each other, each trying to better the other.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney found pleasure in their rivalry of a joint enterprise.

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The power of collaboration shows up everywhere: between professor and student, where the student learns from the professor, and the professor discovers new things from the questions of the student.

If you want to find a new collaborative, 

  • meet up with people who share your interests. 
  • Look for the person that challenges you the most. The person may be very different from you and even drive you crazy.

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