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How to Be More Like Leonardo da Vinci (Ep. 240)

Have you ever wanted to be good at everything?

Well, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, the concepts behind essentialism make this unrealistic, right?

This question was exactly what made me want to read up on Leonardo da Vinci, the quintessential renaissance man. Did he defy essentialism, or were his incredibly varied abilities built in a way accessible to us mere mortals?

I went on to read the impressively dense Leonardo da Vinci biography by Walter Isaacson to try to shine a light on things. And it turns out Leonardo was even more skilled than I was aware … but still flawed, still human. So we can learn from him.

Don’t worry, though — I’m not going to demand you read the book. I enjoyed it, so go for it, if you’d like. But if you’re more interested in a few lessons we can take from Leonardo, today’s episode is the shortcut for you.

Things mentioned in this episode:

This week’s episode is sponsored by:

  • Audible: Get Audible for the first three months at $6.95 per month by going to or texting “CIG” to 500-500.
  • Skillshare: with over 20,000 courses in a wide range of different skills, Skillshare can help you take things to the next level. Get started with 2 weeks of unlimited learning for just 99¢ at

Other things we mentioned in this episode:

Want more cool stuff? You can find all sorts of great tools at my Resources page.


  • 0:02:03 – What was Leonardo da Vinci interested in?
  • 0:18:47 – Addictions and Da Vinci’s procrastination
  • 0:27:55 – Being obsessive and curious
  • 0:32:46 – Sponsor: Audible (Listening to audiobooks)
  • 0:37:37 – Sponsor: Skillshare (Learning new skills)
  • 0:39:41 – Thinking deeply about things
  • 0:45:34 – Keeping your mind open to being wrong
  • 0:47:16 – Collaborating with other people
  • 0:52:46 – Thoughts on Da Vinci and Essentialism
  • 1:03:57 – Recap and conclusion

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How to Be More Like Leonardo da Vinci