Monday, June 27, 2016

Who I'm awed by

Current favourites below. It is clearly a disservice to fit many of these people under a category, because clearly their influence and great talents are wide-ranging. In fact, the common theme in those that I'm awed by is as much breadth as depth. Salman Khan (of Khan Academy) it seems knows about everything well enough to teach it to you better than your specialist teacher. Bill Gates fluidly moves between high technology and philanthropy. Ramachandran is a brilliant and eccentric neuroscientist, but his ameteur attempts at archaeology are also very impressive. Tyler Cowen and Rajan look more like specialists in this group, but their breadth inside economics is wide ranging - unlike most economists who are limited to one or two areas. Some of it, I confess, is because of of my own inclinations in Economics. Daniel Kahneman is more of a specialist, yes, but in an area that has increased greatly our understanding of how breadth has a depth all its own. David Eagleman is an outstanding neuroscientist whose work of fiction "Sum" was equally outstanding. On a similar vein, Vikram Seth - delightful poet and mighty novelist; is also a pretty good painter; George Soros, who you might better know as a hedge fund manager, made seminal dents in the philosophy of markets. Charlie Rose is the most versatile interviewer I know - and betrays a good understanding of subjects from Literary theory to Macroeconomics to Hollywood to Brain sciences to Politics. In fact, he has been responsible for introducing me to several things I later got very interested in.

In time, I'm sure this list will change as my own interests evolve, but for now I'm pretty happy with this. There are so many others I admire a lot, but in condensing the list I know I've tended to favor those who are not just great, but whose greatness exerts itself across many disciplines, as well as into a human element I love.

Salman Khan
Bill Gates

VS Ramachandran
Raghuram Rajan
Tyler Cowen
Daniel Kahneman
David Eagleman

Iain McGilchrist
Jaggi Vasudev
George Soros

Vikram Seth
Jagjit Singh
Hugh Laurie

Shashi Tharoor
Barack Obama

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