The world has an abundance of great intellectual giants in all sorts of domains, some living and some dead. Most of us can gain a lot of knowledge and wisdom from them — if we had the time, the motivation, the inclination and the ability to do so.
Unfortunately as it happens we lack one or more of those, and can’t appreciate their works and don’t directly benefit from their genius. Most likely we’ll never be able to understand the works of the likes of Nietzsche, Ramanujan, Einstein, Hayek, Turing, et al. They are supremely important for humanity as a whole but we ordinary individuals gain very little practical wisdom from them.
Instead we are more likely to gain quite a bit from much lesser people. Why? Because they are not that far removed from us in our mundane lives. I call them “persons with mundane practical wisdom.” Continue reading