What Makes a Genius?
History’s greatest thinkers continue to impact our lives today through their legacies—a new law, a revolution, a scientific breakthrough. But these individuals did not have great ideas because they were geniuses. They were geniuses because they had great ideas.
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- Oscar Wilde
- Amelia Earhart
- Leonardo DaVinci
- Queen Victoria
- William Shakespeare
- Eleanor Roosevelt
- Rosa Parks
- Nelson Mandela
- Abraham Lincoln
- Hedy Lamarr
- Bill Gates
- Mohandas Gandhi
- Benjamin Franklin
- Albert Einstein
- Maya Angelou
- Susan B. Anthony
- Ludwig Von Beethoven
- Charles Darwin
Oscar Wilde was a 19th century Irish author, playwright and poet who was infamously imprisoned for being openly gay. His works, including The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest, are considered literary masterpieces of the late Victorian period.
Amelia Earhart was an American aviator who became the ﬁrst woman to ﬂy solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and the ﬁrst person ever to ﬂy solo from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland. During a ﬂight to circumnavigate the globe in 1937, Earhart disappeared over the Paciﬁc, but her legacy has continued through the advancement of women in aviation.
A leading figure of the Italian Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci was a painter, architect, inventor and largely self-educated student of physics and anatomy. His most famous works include the Vitruvian Man, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa.
Under Queen Victoria’s 63-year reign, later known as the Victorian era, there were great advancements in industry, science and the building of the London Underground.
William Shakespeare had a foundational influence on the English language, penning hundreds of words in his 17th century stage plays and poems. He wrote 37 plays, including Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet.
As the First Lady to United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt was famous for her role in public service, advocating for children’s causes and women’s issues. As the chair of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Eleanor Roosevelt was the driving force in creating the 1948 charter of liberties, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Plato is known for his Dialogues, which focus on the quest for truth and the definition of what is good and for founding The Academy (Academia), considered the first university in the Western world.
In 1955, Rosa Parks, refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus to make room for white passengers. She was arrested, and convicted of violating Montgomery’s Jim Crow segregation laws. Her defiance sparked the Montgomery bus boycott, which launched nationwide efforts to end racial segregation of public facilities.
Nelson Mandela was a nonviolence anti-apartheid activist and philanthropist who served as South Africa’s first black president from 1994 to 1999.
Sixteenth president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln served during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Following his famous Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, he enacted measures to abolish slavery in the United States.