MANY DIF­FER­ENT PATHS LEAD TO A VI­SION

CON­VER­SA­TIONS WITH EX­CEP­TIONAL IN­DI­VID­U­ALS

Bulletin - - Editorial -

Ifthe pro­tag­o­nists in this edi­tion of Bul­letin were to meet and dis­cuss the ques­tion of how one be­comes a vi­sion­ary, their con­ver­sa­tion might sound like this:

“I don’t like ex­pe­ri­ence,” says RICHARD SAUL WURMAN (page 41), in­ven­tor of the TED con­fer­ences and the au­thor of around 90 books – adding: “If I knew how some­thing was go­ing to go, I wouldn’t do it.” ROGER FEDERER (page 6) is fa­mil­iar with the prob­lem: “If I had to play ev­ery match in the same way, it would be bor­ing.” Federer says he dis­liked hav­ing to prac­tice the same ten­nis strokes over and over at the start of his ca­reer. It was only when his for­mer coach lec­tured him about the im­por­tance of train­ing (“You just have enough tal­ent to get into the top 100 for a week”) that he ac­cepted that hard work was vi­tal to achieve success.

Next, JANE GOODALL (page 44) ex­plains how im­por­tant it was for her ca­reer not to be part of the aca­demic elite: “At uni­ver­sity, some­one would have told me at a point in time when I was fairly young and im­pres­sion­able that an­i­mals don’t have per­son­al­i­ties, in­tel­li­gence or feel­ings.” Goodall, who is to­day the world’s most renowned re­searcher of pri­mates, fears that she “per­haps would have be­lieved it” and never chal­lenged the sta­tus quo in her field of ex­per­tise.

“Tech­ni­cally speak­ing, Keynes would hardly be re­garded as an econ­o­mist to­day,” says ROBERT SKIDEL­SKY, the biog­ra­pher of John Maynard Keynes, the “most in­flu­en­tial econ­o­mist of the 20th cen­tury” (Frank­furter All­ge­meine Zeitung). Keynes (page 18) only at­tended a few lec­tures on eco­nomics and – like Goodall – went on to de­velop his own ground­break­ing views out­side ex­ist­ing schools of thought. The sit­u­a­tion was dif­fer­ent again in the case of the Swiss No­bel lau­re­ate KURT WÜTHRICH, a for­mer ski in­struc­tor and forester. It was more or less by chance that he came to fo­cus on his area of ex­per­tise (page 26): “I’ve done so many dif­fer­ent things, it re­ally didn’t have to be chem­istry.”

Many dif­fer­ent paths lead to a vi­sion. And to­day, it is as im­por­tant as ever – with­out a vi­sion, there can be no progress, no in­no­va­tion and, ul­ti­mately, no growth. We hope you en­joy read­ing our 30 con­ver­sa­tions with these ex­cep­tional in­di­vid­u­als. And who knows – maybe this edi­tion of Bul­letin will pro­vide in­spi­ra­tion for your own vi­sions.

Your ed­i­to­rial team

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