20somethings — Good news

20somethings — Good news February 7, 2013

From The Art of Manliness:

At age 20: Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard and cofounded Microsoft, and Sir Isaac Newton began developing a new branch of mathematics.

At age 21: Thomas Alva Edison created his first invention, an electric vote recorder, Steve Jobs co-founded Apple Inc., and Alfred Tennyson published his first poetry.

At age 22: Inventor Samuel Colt patented the Colt six-shooter revolver, and Cyrus Hall McCormick invented the McCormick reaper, which allowed one man to do the work of five

At age 23: T. S. Eliot wrote “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” John Keats penned “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” and Truman Capote published his first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms.

At age 24: Johannes Kepler defended the Copernican theory and described the structure of the solar system.

At age 25: Orson Welles conscripted, directed, and starred in Citizen Kane, Charles Lindbergh became the first person to fly alone across the Atlantic, New York farmhand Joseph Smith founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, John Wesley began planting the seeds for Methodism at Oxford, and Alexander the Great became the King of Persia.

At age 26: Albert Einstein published five major research papers in a German physics journal, fundamentally changing man’s view of the universe and leading to such inventions as television and the atomic bomb, Benjamin Franklin published the first edition of Poor Richard’s Almanac, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, and Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Italy.

An impressive list of accomplishments to be sure. And despite how many might interpret this kind of “precociousness,” I would argue that these men accomplished what they did not despitetheir age, but because of it.

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  • RJS

    Well, I don’t agree that these men accomplished what they did because of their age. We all move through every age … Or die first. Older people (and younger people) have accomplished amazing things.

    The lesson is that we need to let 20-somethings show what they can do at 20-something, rather than expect them to wait for age, wisdom, experience …

    (But very few should set their goals by the abilities of the 0.01% and the luck of right place right time. The right place right time is a little bit of a two-edged sword of course because the true 0.0001% also find the right thing for their time and place, and many of this group likely belong in this 1 in a million category)

  • Dana Ames

    Not to forget St Athanasius, who wrote “Against the Heathen” and “On the Incarnation of the Word” before he was 25. He also was a participant in the Council of Nicea in his late 20s.


  • And this is supposed to make me feel better about my life?

    And wasn’t Calvin in his 20’s when he wrote the Institutes?

  • Bonhoeffer completed his PhD at age 21 with his dissertation Sanctorum Communio . . .

  • Wow, way to make the 30 year old in the room feel like he hasn’t gotten anything done in his life. Thanks!

    Seriously though, this is an interesting list. Bookmarked for future reference.