Quotes from Da Vinci

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Leonardo Da Vinci, arguably one of the most creative humans who ever lived, was a man whose curiosity led him into many fields of art and science. I have long been fascinated by his works, and recently purchased a digital copy of his “codexes” the notebooks history has preserved.

Any time you tackle a new concept, you need to understand why you are doing this. Was it because someone “forced” you to do it, or was it because you actually wanted to dig deeper into the technology you are trying to master as part of your future profession.

When I was very young, I decided to figure out how airplanes worked. I started digging into that, and discovered that Leonardo also had a passion for flying. Better yet, I had some art skills, which took me into art museums where I first saw some of Leonardo’s paintings. I was hooked.

The way this man lived his life is worth studying, He is considered one of the best artist/Scientist we humans have ever produced.

Even though we are working at developing your programming skills, it is fun to take some of his sayings and see if you can find a link to how you approach learning the craft of software development.

Here are a few quotes from Leonardo, collected from a website that specializes in quotes from famous people: See if you can find a link to how you should pursue your study, and your work, to Leonardo’s philosophy of a life well lived.

The painter who draws merely by practice and by eye, without any reason, is
like a mirror which copies every thing placed in front of it without being
conscious of their existence.
Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his
intelligence; he is just using his memory.
How many emperors and how many princes have lived and died and no record of
them remains, and they only sought to gain dominions and riches in order
that their fame might be ever-lasting.
I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from
distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds
to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves
their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Art is never finished, only abandoned.
For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes
turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.
He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship
without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast.
In order to arrive at knowledge of the motions of birds in the air, it is
first necessary to acquire knowledge of the winds, which we will prove by
the motions of water in itself, and this knowledge will be a step enabling
us to arrive at the knowledge of beings that fly between the air and the
Just as food eaten without appetite is a tedious nourishment, so does study
without zeal damage the memory by not assimilating what it absorbs.
It's easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.
Men of lofty genius when they are doing the least work are most active.
Although nature commences with reason and ends in experience it is
necessary for us to do the opposite, that is to commence with experience
and from this to proceed to investigate the reason.
Experience does not err. Only your judgments err by expecting from her what
is not in her power.
The truth of things is the chief nutriment of superior intellects.
For, verily, great love springs from great knowledge of the beloved object,
and if you little know it, you will be able to love it only little or not
at all.

Some of those quotes apply to me, the aviation enthusiast, who ultimately became a commercial pilot, all because of a decision I made at age eight, after watching a model airplane fly through the sky.

Leonardo Da Vinci made a huge impression on my life, and helped shape the way I approach learning. I was privileged to visit his grave in a small chapel at Chateau d’Amboise on the Loire River in France, where he was the King’s Architect during the last years of his life. I visited his last home, a mile away from the Chateau, and I have seen the Mona Lisa twice, once in Washington D.C, and once in the Louvre in Paris. This summer, I plan on Seeing the “Adoration of the Magi” in Florence, and may be lucky enough to visit his home town.


Find the hook that will drive your professional life, and learn from the masters, who taught us how to master our own world!