Stephen Hawking was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist and Director of Research at the Centre of Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge. He died in 76 years of life.
In his autobiography My Brief History, Stephen Hawking offers five life lessons on how to become a genius. They are not scientific. His book spent 147 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List and has already sold 10 million copies.
Here are the five pieces of advice he shares with book readers to help them make the most of their learning and academic experience, and reach their personal state of “genius”:
Tip #1: Don’t work too hard at school.
Hawking estimates that he did about 1,000 hours of work in the 3 years he spent at Oxford. “That’s about an hour a day”, he writes. According to him, lectures are for chumps.
Tip #2: Don’t miss opportunities by being too cool.
“We affected an air of complete boredom and the feeling that nothing was worth making an effort for. One result of my illness has been to change all that. When you are faced with the possibility of an early death, it makes you realize that life is worth living and that there are lots o things you want to do.” Hawking impresses upon his readers the importance of time and not wasting it.
Tip #3: Keep it simple.
When writing A Brief History of Time, Hawking abadoned jargon and mathematical fomrulae to make science understandable for the common man. He says, “I was sure that nearly everyone is interested in how the universe operates, but most people cannot follow mathematical equations.” Hawking admits that he has issues with them as well, because it is difficult for him to write them down.
He recommends thinking in pictorial terms and use mental images in words with the help of familiar analogies and diagrams. You don’t have to be a genius to know jargon kills brain cells.
Tip #4: Have fun.
Hawking has a long history of pranksterism. He’s been known to place numerous bets on fellow scientists on the nature of black holes. He is a huge fan of bad jokes as well. Life is way too short to not enjoy it.
Tip #5: Look for a silver lining (even if you contract Lou Gehrig’s disease)
Hawking was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative condition known as amyotrophic lateral scelerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, in his early 20s. It slowly robbed him of his ability to walk, move, and even speak. But Hawking says – “my disability has not been a serious handicap in my scientific work. In some ways it has been an asset : I haven’t had to lecture or teach undergraduates, I haven’t had to sit on tedious and time-consuming committees. I’ve been able to devote myself entirely to research.
He’s made seriously good lemonade from a bowl full of lemons.