It’s funny. Today I was thinking about unlikely friendships. The first one that came to mind was the one between Mark Twain and Nikola Telsa. Yep! They were friends. Mark Twain besides being a prolific writer was also an entrepreneur, an innovator and passionate about technology. Science fascinated Mark Twain. He developed a close and lasting friendship with Telsa.
Who would have thought the writer and the eccentric Telsa would have been such good friends, but apparently they were close friends. In fact, Twain spent a lot of time at Telsa’s laboratory. Twain even had a few patents, and invested some money in inventions that were not too successful. Twain lost a substantial amount of money on the paige typesetting machine. He invested approximately $300,000 (equal to $8,000,000 in inflation-adjusted in today’s terms.) He almost went bankrupt, but fortunately for Twain he was one of the best writers of his time! So, he was able to bounce back.
This got me thinking. It’s great to have dreams to be the best in your discipline, but it’s important to be curious about life, and to surround yourself with all types of people. Mark Twain did not only surround himself by fellow writers he surrounded himself with innovators, scientists, and thinkers. One interesting fact I found out not too long ago is that Mark Twain next-door neighbor was Harriet Beecher Stowe. Talk about top grade neighborhood! True she was a fellow writer, but she was an abolitionist and a progressive thinker for her time. I find it fascinating that his close friend was Nikola Telsa and his next-door neighbor was Harriet Beecher Stowe, and on any given day you probably could have seen them show up at Twain’s house to have tea, or whatever it was they drank at Twain’s house.
So, where am I going with this? Well, the most profound thinkers and writers that have ever walked this earth were extremely diverse and curious about life. This is what made them overachievers and better writers. The need and desire to discover new ways to make the world a better place. Although, having said that… I wonder how close of a friend Twain was with Telsa? In 1909 Thomas Edison visited Twain at his Redding home and filmed Twain. It is said this is the only existing film footage of Mark Twain.
Hmmmm… interesting. Thomas Edison, Nikola Telsa and Mark Twain friendly as can be. Boy, I wish I could have been a fly on the wall! Interesting, interesting, interesting. My favorite Mark Twain quote I think sums up the importance of being curious about life in order to excel in everything that you do.
“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” -Mark Twain