How to Think Like a Genius 3 — Alfred Russell Wallace

In-Sight Publishing

How to Think Like a Genius 3 — Alfred Russell Wallace

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen and Rick Rosner

June 15, 2017

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Alfred Russell Wallace.

Rick Rosner: Yea — Wallace. Darwin and Wallace were good guys and decided to simultaneously publish. Darwin gets much more of the credit because Darwin was sitting on 24–30 years of work, and so he had hundreds and hundreds of pages of arguments and examples. He brought the hammer down on people who thought that anyone who wanted to easily discount his arguments — people were still arguing about evolution — but his opening salvo kicked everyone’s butt. It made it impossible to ignore or deny that there was at least evidence for this, even though people still continue to deny with their Creation museums. So, thinking about your tough problems until the point of obsession is a hallmark of world changing genius. Feynman — not Feynman — Hawking has unique qualifications for thinking at maniacal levels of dedication about his issues in physics.

Hawking was apparently not the most serious student, but a brilliant student, which is probably true if you watch Eddie Redmayne in the Hawking film, which I think reflects his cavalier attitude towards some of the things that might be expected of physics students. Physics is notorious for having problems or problem sets that might take four hours to work on 3 problems. And Hawking hated that, but was brilliant enough to work through that stuff without extreme drudgery that some other people might experience.

So, brilliance is always a more than adequate excuse to slack off on the hard work to physics, but over time, Hawking becomes locked into his body and eventually loses the ability to write and had to develop a picture-symbol language for himself that allowed him to manipulate tough physics equations and situations in his head. He no longer had a way to keep records on or to keep records physically, and so he was forced to train his brain through what I assume is concentrated, competitive, obsessive thought to think in physics terms.

And I guess that many people who are renowned for genius have followed this strategy, whether inadvertently or purposely to super-train their brains for the tasks that are taking place. I’ve tried to do that. In the middle of all my distractions and laziness, I have still been thinking about physics since I was 10, and with more of a focus that is more of a framework of what I’m thinking from just before I was 21 and now I’m 56.

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


Rick Rosner

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing


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and by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal.



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Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen supports science and human rights. Website: