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jerryking : renaissance   23

Da Vinci code: what the tech age can learn from Leonardo
April 26, 2019 | Financial Times | by Ian Goldin.

While Leonardo is recognised principally for his artistic genius, barely a dozen paintings can be unequivocally attributed to him. In life, he defined himself not as an artist but as an engineer and architect......History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes. The Renaissance catapulted Italy from the Medieval age to become the most advanced place on Earth. Then, as now, change brought immense riches to some and growing anxiety and disillusionment to others. We too live in an age of accelerating change, one that has provoked its own fierce backlash. What lessons can we draw from Leonardo and his time to ensure that we not only benefit from a new flourishing, but that progress will be sustained? When we think of the Renaissance, we think of Florence. Leonardo arrived in the city in the mid 1460s, and as a teenager was apprenticed to the painter Verrocchio. The city was already an incubator for ideas. At the centre of the European wool trade, by the late 14th century Florence had become the home of wealthy merchants including the Medicis, who were bankers to the Papal Court. The city’s rapid advances were associated with the information and ideas revolution that defines the Renaissance. Johann Gutenberg had used moveable type to publish his Bible in the early 1450s, and between the time of Leonardo’s birth in 1452 and his 20th birthday, some 15m books were printed, more than all the European scribes had produced over the previous 1,500 years.

..as Leonardo knew, and the Silicon Valley techno-evangelists too often neglect, information revolutions don’t only allow good ideas to flourish. They also provide a platform for dangerous ideas. The Zuckerberg information revolution can pose a similar threat to that of Gutenberg.

In the battle of ideas, populists are able to mobilise the disaffected more effectively than cerebral scientists, decently disciplined innovators and the moderate and often silent majority. For progress to prevail, evidence-based, innovative and reasoned thinking must triumph.
.....Genius thrived in the Renaissance because of the supportive ecosystem that aided the creation and dissemination of knowledge — which then was crushed by the fearful inquisitions. Today, tolerance and evidence-based argument are again under threat.
accelerated_lifecycles  architecture  broad-based_scientific_enquiry  capitalization  cross-disciplinary  cross-pollination  curiosity  dangerous_ideas  digital_economy  diversity  engineering  evidence_based  Florence  genius  globalization  human_potential  ideas  immigrants  Italy  industry_expertise  Johan_Gutenberg  lessons_learned  Leonardo_da_Vinci  Medicis  medieval  physical_place  polymaths  observations  Renaissance  Renaissance_Man  Silicon_Valley  silo_mentality  tolerance  unevenly_distributed  visionaries 
april 2019 by jerryking
Opinion | The American Renaissance Is Already Happening - The New York Times
May 14, 2018

In many of the cities the local library serves as an all-purpose community center. In Bend, Ore., the library has a few dozen local partnerships — AARP volunteers help people do their taxes in the library; Goodwill workers teach résumé writing. In Charleston, W.Va., and Columbus, Ohio, the libraries zero in on programs for infants to 3-year-olds, so children enter school ready to learn.
social_mobility  David_Brooks  libraries  civics  James_Fallows  renaissance 
may 2018 by jerryking
Review: New biography Leonardo da Vinci examines the archetypal Renaissance Man - The Globe and Mail
MICHAEL HARRIS
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 3, 2017

Da Vinci was the archetypal Renaissance Man, ignoring the borders of science and art. His promiscuous curiosity was – well, the stuff of genius......Isaacson argues that da Vinci is history's greatest creative genius and, given the evidence amassed in this 600-page work, one would be hard-pressed to argue.....da Vinci's genius springs from his disregard for categories. Whereas a visual artist today would be encouraged by a hundred confounding factors to "stay in her lane" and pursue visual art for its own sake, da Vinci would have been disgusted by such constraints. Science was no distraction; in fact, science fed his paintings.....da Vinci had a reverence for the wholeness of nature and a feel for the harmony of its patterns, which he saw replicated in phenomena large and small."......Da Vinci's was a world where life held knowable patterns. Dig deep enough, expend enough honest curiosity, and the mysteries of the universe began to unfurl. .....The book – as approachable as it is enlightening – achieves something similar; it inspires the reader to become more curious about the patterns underlying its subject – just as da Vinci was curious about the patterns underlying everything else.
biographies  books  book_reviews  creativity  genius  Leonardo_da_Vinci  Medici  patterns  pattern_recognition  polymaths  Renaissance  Renaissance_Man  transgressiveness  Walter_Isaacson 
december 2017 by jerryking
Biographer Walter Isaacson explains what made Leonardo da Vinci a genius - The Globe and Mail
RUSSELL SMITH
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 4, 2017

What we can learn from Leonardo constitutes the peculiar last chapter of this otherwise sober and cautious biography. At its end Isaacson moves from his role as historian into something closer to self-help guru. He lists a set of Leonardish attributes for us to emulate that sound a lot like advice to tech startups: "Retain a childlike sense of wonder… Think visually… Avoid silos… Collaborate…" Add this to repeated comparisons to Steve Jobs, a previous biographee of Isaacson's, and one is reminded that this is a very American biography (Isaacson was managing editor of Time magazine for years), one that sees "creativity" as primarily a corporate asset.
Russell_Smith  books  biographies  genius  Leonardo_da_Vinci  Walter_Isaacson  Steve_Jobs  polymaths  foxes  hedgehogs  renaissance  cross-disciplinary  cross-pollination  generalists  curiosity  creativity  collaboration  silo_mentality 
december 2017 by jerryking
In the Age of Information, Specializing to Survive - NYTimes.com
By J. PEDER ZANEMARCH 19, 2015

Artists from Picasso to Bob Dylan and entrepreneurs including Bill Gates and Steve Jobs changed the world by finding “radically new ways of looking at old problems,” Mr. Galenson said. “They cut through all the accumulated stuff — forget what’s been done — to see something special, something new.”

It is why, Mr. Galenson added, the historian and physicist Stanley Goldberg said of Einstein, “It was almost as if he were wearing special glasses to make all that was irrelevant invisible."
polymaths  Renaissance  information_overload  fresh_eyes  specialization  sense-making  reconceptualization  Pablo_Picasso  Bob_Dylan  billgates  Steve_Jobs 
march 2015 by jerryking
Renaissance man Joseph Rotman was a patron of education - The Globe and Mail
JANET MCFARLAND
The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Jan. 27 2015

He and his wife, the former Sandra Frieberg, whom he married in 1959 and with whom he had two children, have long been known for their support for Canadian culture and arts.
Rotman  obituaries  UWO  philanthropy  institution-building  moguls  tributes  benefactors  uToronto  culture  cultural_institutions  patronage  education  Colleges_&_Universities  renaissance  Renaissance_man 
january 2015 by jerryking
The Self-Destruction of the 1 Percent -
October 13, 2012 | NYTimes.com | By CHRYSTIA FREELAND.

IN the early 14th century, Venice was one of the richest cities in Europe. At the heart of its economy was the colleganza, a basic form of joint-stock company created to finance a single trade expedition. The brilliance of the colleganza was that it opened the economy to new entrants, allowing risk-taking entrepreneurs to share in the financial upside with the established businessmen who financed their merchant voyages.

Venice’s elites were the chief beneficiaries. Like all open economies, theirs was turbulent. Today, we think of social mobility as a good thing. But if you are on top, mobility also means competition. In 1315, when the Venetian city-state was at the height of its economic powers, the upper class acted to lock in its privileges, putting a formal stop to social mobility with the publication of the Libro d’Oro, or Book of Gold, an official register of the nobility. If you weren’t on it, you couldn’t join the ruling oligarchy.

The political shift, which had begun nearly two decades earlier, was so striking a change that the Venetians gave it a name: La Serrata, or the closure. It wasn’t long before the political Serrata became an economic one, too. Under the control of the oligarchs, Venice gradually cut off commercial opportunities for new entrants. Eventually, the colleganza was banned. The reigning elites were acting in their immediate self-interest, but in the longer term, La Serrata was the beginning of the end for them, and for Venetian prosperity more generally. By 1500, Venice’s population was smaller than it had been in 1330. In the 17th and 18th centuries, as the rest of Europe grew, the city continued to shrink....several recent studies have shown that in America today it is harder to escape the social class of your birth than it is in Europe. The Canadian economist Miles Corak has found that as income inequality increases, social mobility falls...Businessmen like to style themselves as the defenders of the free market economy, but as Luigi Zingales, an economist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, argued, “Most lobbying is pro-business, in the sense that it promotes the interests of existing businesses, not pro-market in the sense of fostering truly free and open competition.”
business_interests  capitalism  Chrystia_Freeland  city-states  cronyism  crony_capitalism  depopulation  elitism  entrenched_interests  history  income_distribution  income_inequality  lobbying  locked_in  moguls  new_entrants  oligarchs  pro-business  pro-market  Renaissance  self-destructive  self-interest  social_classes  social_mobility  The_One_Percent  Venice  winner-take-all 
september 2013 by jerryking
Review: Medici Money by Tim Parks | Books
28 May 2005 | The Guardian | Edmund Fawcett who reviews Medici Money by Tim Parks

Medici Money: Banking, Metaphysics and Art in Fifteenth-Century Florenceby Tim Parks
Medici  history  book_reviews  Renaissance  banking  patronage  art  art_finance 
november 2011 by jerryking
Mighty Medici
Dec. 05, 2002 | TIME |By ROBERT HUGHES
Renaissance  Medici  patronage  philanthropy  art 
november 2011 by jerryking
Mining entrepreneur's university donation digging for ‘renaissance engineers’ - The Globe and Mail
james bradshaw
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Nov. 01, 2011

“renaissance engineers.” ---It’s a term he credits to his late wife, who saw the engineer of the future not just as a problem solver or functionary builder, but a sort of modern Michelangelo – expert and agile in more than one discipline, but also eager to consider and communicate how engineering relates to matters of sustainability, health, safety and civil society.

“You are an engineer, but at the same time you are an artist and you have to be able to tell the world how what you’re doing is going to benefit the world,”
York_University  interdisciplinary  mining  entrepreneur  Pierre_Lassonde  philanthropy  engineering  renaissance  Renaissance_Man  Colleges_&_Universities  moguls  Seymour_Schulich 
november 2011 by jerryking
Machiavelli's Daring 'Gift' - WSJ.com
AUG. 30, 2008 | WSJ | by WILLIAM AMELIA. Reviews Machiavelli's
daring 'gift of counsel' , 'The Prince' , which over the years, has
elicited 'admiration, fear and contempt'. "The Prince is a classic
handbook on power politics and the guide to gaining and maintaining that
power. The book dismisses the then-commonplace view that there is a
special connect between moral goodness and legitimate authority -- that,
"Rulers did well when they did good. When they were virtuous and moral
they were, in turn, obeyed and respected." In "The Prince," Machiavelli
urged rulers not to follow convention, but to understand fully the
nature of the people, to sense change and move with the times, to see
the new politics, the nuovi modi et ordini -- the new order -- both
global and local. Machiavelli last great work was, "Florentine
Histories," totally modern in concept, is widely considered a literary
masterpiece. he also penned, "The Art of War" which was his only work
published during his lifetime.
William_Amelia  Renaissance  book_reviews  new_rules  Niccolò_Machiavelli  primers  books  advice  political_power  leaders 
november 2009 by jerryking
Contemporary 'Courtier' - WSJ.com
JULY 14, 2007 | Wall Street Journal | By WILLIAM AMELIA.
Comments on Baldissare Castiglione's Renaissance handbook of manners is a
timeless document. The Courtier".
Renaissance  etiquette  book_reviews  William_Amelia  royal_courts 
november 2009 by jerryking
For a Post in Europe, a Renaissance Admiral - NYTimes.com
June 29, 2009 | New York Times | By THOM SHANKER. Profile of new NATO commander, Adm. James G. Stavridis.
profile  NATO  U.S._Navy  security_&_intelligence  renaissance  leaders  spymasters 
june 2009 by jerryking
The Data Mining Renaissance
Friday, April 10, 2009 | Gigaom | Gary Orenstein.

the web changed the way we radiate and consume information and in doing so, created a new opportunity to measure and monetize it. Faced with more user data, logging information, and web content than anyone thought one system could handle, the major web companies developed highly scaled data warehousing solutions themselves. Armed with these tools, they improved customer resonance by building better recommendation engines, more targeted advertising networks and more intricate campaigns.
data  analytics  analysis  data_mining  renaissance  digital_storage  massive_data_sets  tools  value_creation 
may 2009 by jerryking
Technology Review: Whither the Renaissance Man?
May 2005 | Technology Review | By Michael Hawley

We need to save the diversity of the individual. The irony is that
renaissance men and women are in short supply. Such an intense global
mix of cultures, ideas, and innovations, all apparently a mouse click
away, would seem to demand broad educational perspectives. Yet most
schools persist in turning out laser-focused young professionals. To
make a dent in a particular field, a person has to devote a good chunk
of his or her lifetime just to getting to the starting line. This
doesn't favor the jack-of-all-trades.
Benjamin_Franklin  cross-disciplinary  cross-pollination  curriculum  education  foxes  generalists  hedgehogs  life_long_learning  polymaths  renaissance  Renaissance_Man 
may 2009 by jerryking

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