Wherever you are in the world today whether you are just waking up or halfway through this Monday take heed as to the rest of the day that lies ahead of you.

One of my favourite modern biographers is Walter Isaacson. I have read all his books and whilst I was leafing through (as I always revisit books that inspire me) his biography of Leonardo Da Vinci I came across a passage that humbled me today.

For Isaacson Da Vinci’s observation of the world (an insatiable appetite to learn all he could about the world he inhabited) married with is imagination fuelled his innovation and creativity.

The passage is on page 5. Here Isaacson talks about how the notes that Leonardo kept (they have survived for over 500 years) truly provided insight into his character and how someone as innovative as Leonardo (with woeful little education) was a sponge for knowledge.

Here is one of Leonardo’s To-Do Lists dating from the 1490’s in Milan and it’s a list of things he wants to learn that day alone:

  1. The measurement of Milan and its suburbs
  2. Get the Master of arithmetic to show me how to square a triangle
  3. Ask Giannino the Bombardier about how the tower of Ferrara is walled
  4. Ask Benedetto Protinari by what means they walk on ice in Flanders
  5. Get a master of hydraulics to tell me how to repair a lock, canal and mill in the Lombard manner
  6. Get the measurement of the sun promised me by Maestro Giovanni Francese, the Frenchman
  7. Draw Milan

Wow. My to-do list for today, comparatively speaking, is pithy, not stretching and embarrassingly unimaginative. Practical but unimaginative.


We get so bogged down by work and life in general that we forget that innovation and transformation is preceded by learning.  For in that learning process there are breakthroughs in our purpose.

Have a great learning day today!


Norm Murray is CEO of nStratagem. Norm is an acclaimed Executive Coach, Strategist, Transformation & Turnaround expert. He is an inspirational Speaker, Motivator and Writer & a Complex Problem Solver. He has counseled Executive Leaders and Executive Boards worldwide from start-ups to major corporations in the Middle East, Asia, North America and Europe to achieve transformation, adaptation and enhanced performance results beyond expectations.

** The views, information, words, concepts or opinions expressed in our blogs, articles and blog articles are solely the opinions of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent those of nStratagem, its employees or its affiliated companies.

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