Cautionary Tales with Tim Harford

Fritterin’ Away Genius

May 14, 2021

Claude Shannon was brilliant. He was the Einstein of computer science... only he loved "fritterin' away" his time building machines to play chess, solve Rubik's cubes and beat the house at roulette.

If Shannon had worked more diligently - instead of juggling, riding a unicycle and abandoning project after project - would he have made an even greater contribution to human knowledge? Maybe... and maybe not. Are restlessness and "fritterin'" important parts of a rich and creative life?

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