People who (still) inspire me
People that inspire or have inspired me:
1) Peter Watson for his brilliant way to make «the» story of ideas, covering the greatness and the misery of mankind. I was lucky enough to meet him in person and bring him to Barcelona.
2) Hiroshi Tasaka, a Japanese teacher, scientist, philosopher, poet, whose work is the perfect combination of imagination and perspective. From him I learned that history has not yet begun, and it will not until we get to use correctly our human mental abilities.
3) Edward Tufte: for his fantastic books on information visualization, who taught me the beauty of making complex things understandable through images, without using letters, and trying not to tamper you.
4) Brian Arthur, for the best explanation yet of why technology is not a result of the economy, but just the other way around: the future is the discovery of more natural phenomena (mining of phenomena) that become solutions ans products through technology (programming of phenomena).
5) Benjamin Franklin, for being one of the last scholars who knew virtually everything that was known in his time: his biography still shows that imagination without technology can’t go very far away.
6) Rolf Tarrach, now the Rector of the University of Luxembourg, of whom I had the fortune of being a student a lot of time ago. An honest person who always welcomed me with interest and affection and who has always strive to work beyond the limited restrictions of «official science».
7) Steven Johnson, because his books have always opened new perspectives that have made me think.
8) Jared Diamond, for showing that it is way possible to start in a field (biology) to excell in another one (science writing): he is a master in combining knowledge coming from various sources to provide new imaginative explanations for the complexity of the world.
9) The Economist, which obviuosly is not a single person but many, who never sign their articles, but from whom I have learned a lot: with its sharp way of watching how the world changes, and with its elegant English prose. Reading The Economist every week has become one of the most intelligent ways to keep track of the «temperature» of the world.
10) Amazon, which is not a person either, but a collection of millions of books. Its recommendation engine has allowed me to encounter many authors that I would never have met otherwise: it helped me go beyond my actual benchmark, to discover lots of normal people who write on the edge of ideas.
The list could go on an on: Tintin, the Monocle journal, IDEO’s Tom Kelley, Richard Dawkins, Kevin Kelly, John Brockman, Harold Evans, and many many more…