Bad Students, Rebels and Other Geniuses – Infamous Youths of the Famous People
Book: Bad Students, Rebels and Other Geniuses – Infamous Youths of the Famous People
Author – Luboš Y. Koláček
Publisher – Jan Melvil Publishing
Instead of a Content, this book has a List of Students and among them names of famous people – Leonardo da Vinci, Napoleon Bonaparte, Václav Havel, Božena Němcová, Albert Einstein… and perhaps even some less well-known ones, like Toyen or Jan Eskymo Welzl.
When I first opened the book, slightly yellowish paper offered me a breath of nostalgia that reminded me of the books that I found as a kid on the shelves belonging to my grandparents. As I browsed through its pages, the feelings of oldness only grew stronger – black and white photographies with long descriptions written underneath them, thick borders, large lettering, important passages highlighted in red. That was my first impression. However, the second one –upon really reading into it- was utterly disarming. Brilliantly sorted information about the geniuses of mankind, focused on the truly important facts and trivia. For example, did you know, that Leonardo da Vinci was born an illegitimate child in a poor family, that he attended school only briefly because he was absolutely unfocused? As a dedicated self-learner, who learns from hills, fields and meadows, he however remains a genius throughout the centuries.
And while I was reading, I discovered more curious infomation: Toyen, a painter prodigy, less well known by her real name Marie Čermínová, spent most of her life dressing like a man and apparently also feeling like one. Walt disney, the master of fairy tales, would not be allowed to play as a kid – who would’ve guessed? Meanwhile, Karel Gott liked to attend funerals of complete strangers. Jaromír Jágr spent his nighs with his face burrowed in textbooks, John Lennon didn’t bother with learning at all. Albert Einstein would rather get beaten than for him to study. And Gregor Johann Mendel, a famous geneticist, failed his botany class! Well, such are the ways of the mankind’s elite.
What discoveries those were. I must say, that after reading the stories of geniuses who definitely didn’t behave like ones in their school years, those people (in my eyes) gained a little bit more humanity.
Allow me to conclude my teatrise about this book with the words of the author from the book’s prologue: „…how often they were bad students. Either because from their early days, they followed their goals and school obstructed their path in some way, or maybe in their youth they did not have any goal at all, much less straight A’s… . Most of them had not recieved great predictions of their future.“ I warmly recommend this book to anyone, with no regards to their school performance. Who knows, maybe you’ll even find a piece of yourself in one of the stories… and maybe… maybe the next genius will be YOU.