November 29, 2004
Excerpts: 10 Lessons from History's Innovators - Part II
When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. Jonathan Swift Lesson #1 - MAKE NO ASSUMPTIONS. Edwin Armstrong was constantly trying to do things in radio circuitry he was told by the experts were impossible. He kept reminding them of one of the sayings of Henry Wheeler Shaw (181885), the Lanesboro, Massachusetts, lecturer and humorist known as Josh Billings: It aint ignorance that causes all the trouble in this world. Its the things people know that aint so. Time and again in this study we find that breakthroughs come from the discarding of assumptions. Ignorance that ignites curiosity is a better starting point than half-knowledge. No man becomes a fool, said the immigrant electrical engineer Charles Proteus Steinmetz, until he stops asking questions. From the book THEY MADE AMERICA by Harold Evans, with Gail Buckland and David Lefer. (c) 2004 Little, Brown & Co.