Thursday, January 5, 2017




Below is one of my favorite articles I have written about him.  From 2010, it's titled:


One of my nephews called me with a problem he was having in his manufacturing engineering class at college. I told him that I couldn't help him as I was abysmally ignorant of the area and he said that he figured I would have had that kind of issue at work. I laughed and answered, "I had engineers to figure out that stuff FOR me!" I told him that he should call his Uncle Duke. He said, "But Uncle Duke didn't go to college." I said, "Well, he's the smartest guy I know about that kind of stuff." I then told him that Uncle Duke was an autodidact and my nephew said he didn't know what that meant and I told him that it meant "self-taught";  Michael, another nephew, was visiting and he overheard the conversation.

A few weeks later, in talking to my nephew, he stated, "Boy, that Uncle Duke is smart!" He had indeed called my brother with the problem and my brother was able to help solve it.

A couple of months after that, Michael and his girlfriend were visiting and Michael was telling her about the different members of the family who were expecting to play poker that evening and I heard Michael say, "Yeah, my Uncle Duke is an autodidact!" What a pleasure to hear him explain to her the meaning of "autodidact".

It's good to know they can still learn something! It reminds me of the Mark Twain story of how at the age of 16 Mark couldn't believe how DUMB his parents were, but by the time he reached 21 he couldn't believe how SMART they had become!

FOOTNOTE: Famous Autodidacts (culled from THE AUTODIDACTS HALL OF FAME)

Louisa May Alcott

Henry Ford
Woody Allen

Benjamin Franklin
Hans Christian Anderson

Robert Frost
Maya Angelou

Bill Gates
Alexander Graham Bell

Ernest Hemingway
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Steven Jobs
Truman Capote

George Washington
Grover Cleveland

Abraham Lincoln
Walter Cronkite

Malcolm X
Charles Dickens

William McKinley
Walt Disney

James Monroe
Bob Dylan

Florence Nightingale
Thomas Edison

Edgar Allen Poe
Albert Einstein

John D. Rockefeller

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