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How to Think like Leonardo...

Di Caprio? Nope. I'm talking about Da Vinci, of course.

In How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci, author Michael Gelb suggests that we follow Da Vinci's example and cultivate ambidexterity:

When Michelangelo was working on the Sistine Chapel, he astounded observers by switching his paintbrush from one hand to the other as he worked. Leonardo, a natural left-hander, cultivated this same ambidexterity and regularly switched hands when working on The Last Supper and other masterpieces. When I interviewed Professor Raymond Dart and asked him for his recommendations on the development of human potential, he responded, “Balance the body, balance the brain. The future lies with the ambidextrous human!”
In business, it's important to hire ambidextrous employees -- people who have business and technology skills. For they can imagine the future. If you don't employ multi-talented professionals, you lose out on business oportunities that cannot be imagined by the linear worker.

Back to Leonardo. The artist not the actor. While reading Gelb's book I chanced upon the enchanting story of Leonardo's unfinished horse.

Leonardo was commissioned to build a 24-foot bronze horse by the Duke of Sforza. Alas, the Horse was not to be. After much work, Leonardo completed a clay model, and the Horse was ready for casting. France invaded Milan, however, and French archers used the clay horse for target practice, reducing it to a clump of clay. It's said that Leonardo never got over the destruction of the Horse.

After reading an article in National Geographic entitled “The Horse That Never Was,” Charles Dent was inspired to start a foundation to finish the horse.

Ironically, Dent died when the Horse was in the same stage of production -- model completed and acclaimed, but not yet cast -- as when it was destroyed by the French archers.

Before he died, the foundation promised Dent that The Horse would be completed.

On September 10, 1999 -- 500 years from the day the original model was destroyed -- the dream became reality. Il Cavallo -- The Statue of Liberty for Creativity -- was reborn in Milan as a tribute to the da Vincian love of truth and beauty.
When a renaissance man's dream gallops through the mist of time and takes center stage in Milan, you know that ambidextrous men and women hold power in their hands.

Note: An American Horse was also cast.

September 06, 2004 | Permalink


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We are a graduate program designing a one page brochure for graduates within the College of Engineering. May we have permission to use your quote "In business,it's important to employ ambidextrous employees -- people who have business and technology skills. For they can imagine the future." Your statement has great relevance for our program.

Since we are working on a very tight timeline, I would sincerely appreciate your input.
Many thanks, Bonnee

Posted by: bonnee basso | September 27, 2004 12:57 PM


Sure, you may quote me.

Much success with your graduate program.


Posted by: Steve | September 27, 2004 07:03 PM

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