Learning from Leonardo
Leonardo da Vinci’s life was a never-ending journey of learning. As museums commemorate the 500th anniversary of his death this year with special exhibitions, his mind and his works continue to astound scholars. In 2016, medical researchers writing about the mesentery, a misunderstood part of the human digestive system that they argued should be considered an organ, credited da Vinci in their paper. Da Vinci had accurately drawn the complicated layers of the mesentery centuries before.
The quintessential Renaissance Man’s thirst for knowledge and understanding of the world motivated him to explore many facets of science and art. Da Vinci even learned maths from “Maestro Luca”, or Luca Pacioli, the Franciscan friar whose 1494 book first described double-entry bookkeeping.
Bill Gates, a longtime admirer of da Vinci and owner of one of the few surviving da Vinci notebooks, said in an interview in 2013, “It’s an inspiration that one person, off on their own, with no positive feedback — nobody ever told him what was right or wrong — that he kept pushing himself, found knowledge in itself to be a beautiful thing.”
In today’s world, where “disruption” in the finance function is commonplace, management accountants who embrace da Vinci’s attitude towards learning can keep their skills from becoming obsolete.