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Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Wright Brothers

I imagine that everyone has heard that old Edison quote:  "Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration."  It borders on the cliché.  But I don't think I've ever seen as practical and interesting an illustration of the concept until I read The Wright Brothers by David McCullough.  This is the third book I've read by McCullough, and I've enjoyed all three of them.  I don't think I had realized that, no matter what popular opinion was, the world was largely on the cusp of flight.  People were trying to solve the problem the world over.  Had anyone bothered to survey the contenders, it seems unlikely they would have put their money on the Wright Brothers.  There were players with almost unlimited government funding, much larger teams, and numerous publications to their names.  Somehow, despite all of that, the Wright brothers came out on top, due to an almost unbelievable combination of hard work, single mindedness, scientific rigor and ingenuity, business sense, and courage (or foolishness, depending on how you look at it).  I won't bother going into too much detail, but I do recommend the book to anyone who enjoys historical biographies.  It's a pretty quick read.

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