Adjectives describing genius and talent frequently appear when the name of Nikola Tesla comes up in a conversation. But let's think of for a second – why? What did he invent or discover so that everyone considers him as one of the most clever and ingenious human ever living on the Earth? I would like to present my own sight on this puzzle.
Regard to a work.
I certainly believe there is one simple thing every successful life is based on – working on yourself. Being exceptional scientist and engineer, Nikola Tesla was not exceptional for this rule. As we know he was extremelly hard-working person, doing his business from 9:00 a.m. often until 3:00 a.m.! There were letters from his proffesor to his father warning that Nikola would die due to overworking if he resumed to work so much time. Also he claimed that he never had a dream for more that two hours. He could work in his laboratory for two or even three days without any sleeping.
They were crazy. Even nowadays some of them seem to be mad and then they were absolutely crazy. What will you say if someone tells you that he has decided to build a tower of 57 meters length to transmit enegry in a wireless way over the ocean? I suppose it won't be applied as a truth. And in my opinion this is the most astonishing part of him. He didn't fear to think different and turn ideas into reality even absent money or support. The more interesting thing about him is that his crazy ideas actually worked. And even that idea with power transmittion. All of designed by him equipments, facilities, motors and so on were able to do what they were supposed to do. Besides, his creativity couldn't be stopped, he even patented a biplane able to take off vertically. Moreover, his thoughts and speculations frequently were absolutely correct. For instance, the principle of radar was described by him in the magazine Electrical Experimenter. Even though his assumption that waves with high frequency could penetrate water was wrong, the general idea of usage of waves' reflections was right. As Emile Girardeau noted «If he was dreaming, at least he was dreaming correctly».
Personality and appearance.
As his contemporaries mentioned he was a self-confident and self-loved person with strange habits. His well-known weirdness was feeding pidgeons. Once he literally felt in love with an injured pidgeon. «I loved that pigeon as a man loves a woman, and she loved me» he said. This definitely contrasts with his appearance of tall (1.88 m) and serious scientist with big hands. Frankly speaking he gave his special attention to appearance and even the position during taking photos. His clothes were always neat and fit, he didn't wear any jewelry. Tesla was quite harsh and could criticize appearance of others with his inherent simplicity. The only negative opinion in the New York Times about Edison's death was written by him. In that article he blamed Edison in bad knowledge of physics and mathematics, claimed that he disregard rules of hygiene and said more other unpleasant things.
Would such a guy be wrong? Sure. Lots of his thoughts and assumptions were wrong. For example, he claimed that atoms were immutable and couldn't be divided in any way. His view of impossibility of existing of curved space was also incorrect. Of course from our point of view he seems to be an absolute genius, but he made his mistakes everyday. May it have been his life's secret?