fbpx
More

    To Be a Genius, Think Like A 94-Year-Old

    In 1946, a 23-year-old Army veteran named John Goodenough headed to the University of Chicago with a dream of studying physics. When he arrived, a professor warned him that he was already too old to succeed in the field.

    Recently, Dr. Goodenough recounted that story for me and then laughed uproariously. He ignored the professor’s advice and today, at 94, has just set the tech industry abuzz with his blazing creativity. He and his team at the University of Texas at Austin filed a patent application on a new kind of battery that, if it works as promised, would be so cheap, lightweight and safe that it would revolutionize electric cars and kill off petroleum-fueled vehicles. His announcement has caused a stir, in part, because Dr. Goodenough has done it before. In 1980, at age 57, he co-invented the lithium-ion battery that shrank power into a tiny package.

    We tend to assume that creativity wanes with age, but Dr. Goodenough’s story suggests that some people actually become more creative as they grow older. Unfortunately, those late-blooming geniuses have to contend with powerful biases against them.

    “Young people are just smarter,” Mark Zuckerberg pronounced at an event at Stanford in 2007, when he was the 22-year-old chief executive of Facebook. He added, according to a VentureBeat writer, “I only own a mattress,” and then expounded upon the putative correlation between youth and creative power. His logic didn’t exactly make sense (and he later apologized), but his meaning was perfectly clear: Middle-aged people are encumbered by boring possessions (gutters, dental floss, orthopedic shoes) and stale ideas.

    Since that speech, Silicon Valley’s youth worship seems to have grown even more feverish. Recently, a 12-year-old inventor named Shubham Banerjee received venture-capital funds from Intel to start his own company.

    The best work teams are those that are multi-dimensional, and that includes multi-generational. Just like eco-systems, variety makes for a robust organization. There is no age limit on creativity, and as much as we would like to snicker at Zuckerberg, there is no age requirement for wisdom. We have met plenty of older massively productive creative people, and more than a few very wise 20 somethings. Let’s take the age question out of the equation.

    Read here on Career Reinvention

    Read here on Jocelyn Beaudoin’s Extraordinary Career Change

    Read here for What You can Learn from a 70 year old Mother

    Read more here: NYTIMES

    Andreas Tzortzis
    Andreas Tzortzis
    He has worked as a journalist for the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Newsweek and Monocle Magazine from Berlin and London before leading Red Bull’s mainstream-facing content platform, The Red Bulletin, from Los Angeles. He recently returned to his hometown of San Francisco with his small family. dre@agei.st
    -Advertisement-
    3,043FansLike
    8,461FollowersFollow
    2,693FollowersFollow

    More Stories

    Whatever I Thought I Was Supposed to Be at This Age is Not What I Am and That’s Okay

    by Lee Sachs.In 1996 I got a job at a dotcom place in New York City’s “Silicon Alley.” You know, California has Silicon Valley...

    Hambis Charalambous, 57, Revisited 5 Years Later

    There is so much changing. So many industries and professions being disrupted, with the people in them having their lives disrupted. The intersection of...

    Peter Lindbergh. Photographer, Portraying Beauty at Any Age

    Peter Lindbergh passed last week. He was 74. We photographers rarely get to meet each other, but we are very aware of what each...

    Cannabis Tea and Menopause. Can It Help?

    Having unexpectedly co-founded a cannabis company at age 52 (how’s that for a conversation starter), one of the most frequent questions I’m asked is...

    Jeff Walker’s September Music Releases: Iggy Pop, Bon Iver, Lana del Rey and Jesse Malin

    Iggy Pop “Free” (Lorna Vista/Caroline) Never one to be pinned down or cornered, Iggy explores new territories on his 18th solo album. Although the...

    LATEST Profiles

    Hambis Charalambous, 57, Revisited 5 Years Later

    There is so much changing. So many industries and professions being disrupted, with the people in them having their lives disrupted. The intersection of...

    Ursula Beatt, 59: Creating Her Own World

    Photography by Claudia GoetzelmannWe are very interested in the idea of each of us creating a world around us that allows us to be...

    Ed Patuto, 59: Director of Audience Engagement at The Broad Museum

    Ed Patuto has an unusual job for a 59-year-old guy from Youngstown, Ohio. His gig is to get people to engage and participate with...
    X