Many times, like Leonardo da Vinci, I write things like “describe the tongue of a woodpecker” into a notebook. This particular command, about finding out more about the tongue of a woodpecker, can be found in Leonardo’s notebooks. I found the following five sentences about Leonardo da Vinci comforting, encouraging, and inspiring. They are all from Walter Isaacson’s essay “The Lessons of Leonardo” published in the Wall Street Journal on October 1, 2017.

  1. His genius came from being wildly imaginative, quirkily curious and willfully observant.
  2. He left many artistic projects unfinished and pages of brilliant treatises unpublished.
  3. He made lists in his notebooks of hundreds of subjects, both marvelous and mundane, that he wanted to explore, from what causes people to yawn to methods of squaring a circle.
  4. His mind wandered merrily across the arts, sciences, engineering and humanities.
  5. He simply wanted to know.

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