All geniuses almost by definition, are outliers, outsiders. To use the metaphor of today, they think outside the box, they're non-conformers, rebelling against the status quo. Galileo Galilei was a rebellious genius in science. Karl Marx rebelled against the capitalist economic system. Andy Warhol against traditional museum-type art and Beethoven against the norms of classical music. Harriet Tubman and Nelson Mandela fought against racial injustice. Muhammad Ali protested against the Vietnam War. Martin Luther rebelled against the Roman Catholic Church and established the first protestant religion. Jeff Bezos seemed to be speaking for all these rebels when he said, "If you want to be understood at all times, don't do anything new." Who are some of the rebellious geniuses of today? Well, certainly one on almost everyone's list would have to be Elon Musk. Musk has rejected established orthodoxy in regard to automotive transportation. He rebelled against state and county ordinances during the COVID pandemic, as well as against the rules set up by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. In the biological sciences, consider chemist Katalin Kariko, whose work in directing mRNA and gene sequences to suppress viruses facilitated the appearance of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID vaccine. Her work was initially laughed at, her grant applications denied, and the article she submitted rejected. Eventually, both Pfizer and BioNTech listened, and Dr. Kariko is now mentioned as a future Nobel Prize winner in chemistry of her team at the time, however, it was said, "Well, we were screaming a lot, but no one would listen." Now, people do. Two iconoclastic artists also come to mind. One is the late Jean-Michel Basquiat, who began as a rebellious graffiti sprayer, defacing the status quo of public and private buildings, but became mainstream to the point that one of his works on canvas can now sell at established galleries in New York City for over $100 million. Another recent artistic rebel is Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who in 1995 lifted a million dollar Han Dynasty vase over his head and smashed it to the ground so as to suggest that to create new art requires that old art customs and habits, and culture be smashed. As progressive rock musician Frank Zappa once said, "Without change, there is no progress." What about former US President Donald Trump? Certainly, he rebelled against then, changed the written and unwritten traditions of the US political system for better for worse. Is he a genius? Well, each of us will have to decide. What about those who invaded the US Capitol on January 6th, 2021? Are they rebellious geniuses? One might argue that they are merely hooligans, intellectually challenged thugs. But what about those who dressed as Mohawk Indians and dumped tea belonging to the King into Boston Harbor in 1773, an act of rebellion that pushed forward the American Revolution. We could argue about who is a patriotic rebel or a hooligan, and under what circumstances. But likely we would all agree that not all thinking outside the box is genius and not all rebels are geniuses. Independent thinking is a necessary, but insufficient cause of genius. It's only one agent of genius among many. To think outside the box, some geniuses seemed to have dropped outside the box, dropped outside the system of formal education, dropouts. But let's be honest here. Most dropouts do not become geniuses or even success stories. They drop out not because they have an alternative vision of the world, but because they seem to have no forward-looking vision at all. A few transformative people, however, on rare occasions defy convention, they drop out of school to pursue an alternative aim, a dream. Here are a few who did so. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard. Steve Jobs out of Reed College. Bob Dylan out of the University of Minnesota. Lady Gaga, out of NYU, New York University. Oprah Winfrey from Tennessee State. Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter and Square dropped out twice of two different colleges. Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, at first, couldn't get into college, Ernest Hemingway could, but refused to go. Richard Branson and the just mentioned Jean-Michel Basquiat dropped out of high school and so did Albert Einstein at least for a time. Dropping out seems to work best for those individuals who are motivated, not by external forces, such as a school, or school teachers, or parents, but rather by an internal passionate desire. Let's take just two of these rebels who dropped out in different ways, Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein. At a Stanford University of commencement speech in 2005, a ceremony ironically designed to celebrate the completion of a university education. At a commencement speech at Stanford, Steve Jobs extolled the virtues of not completing a college degree. Said Jobs to the graduates and faculty, "Looking back, it, dropping out, was the best decision that I ever made. The minute I dropped out, I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me and begin dropping in on the ones that looked far more interesting." Steve Jobs was ever the rebel and worshiped rebels. Remember from our first session, his Apple Think Different commercial is him of praise to rebels, misfits, and geniuses. Clearly, Jobs saw himself as one of these. As his longtime assistant, Andy Hertzfeld, said about Jobs at the time, "Rebelliousness and willfulness were engrained in his character. He had a sense that he was special, a chosen one, and enlightened one. He thinks there are people who are special, like Einstein and Gandhi and the gurus he met in India, and he's one of them." Jobs acted as if the norms of society did not apply to him. He refused to put a license plate on his car and he parked that car in handicapped spaces. When Jobs gathered a group of Apple employees in a separate building to build the Macintosh computer, he suggested that a pirate's Jolly Roger flag fly above the building. The Jolly Roger flew again at Apple's headquarters on the 40th anniversary of the company. Jobs also said rhetorically, why join the Navy when you can be a pirate? Albert Einstein was a rebel too, especially against traditional learning in any authority figures. He didn't respect his teachers and they didn't respect him. Einstein thought learning should be fun. He said this about his earliest teachers. "The teachers at the elementary school seemed to me like drill sergeants and the teachers at the high school, like lieutenants." He later added, "The systematic training in the worship of authority was supposed to accustom pupils at a very early age to military discipline. It was particularly unpleasant." One of Einstein's teachers said to him, "Your mere presence here spoils the respect of the class for me." At the end of 1894, at the age of 14, Einstein dropped out of high school for a period of almost two years. But Einstein was smart enough to intuit that before you can think outside the box, you have to know what's inside the box. Thus, Einstein self-educated for almost two years and did a year of prep school before enrolling, coming back to school, enrolling in a prestigious technical university, Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule, ETH in Zurich, the Swiss equivalent of MIT. But even here, Einstein was rebellious. When the professors handed out materials in class, Einstein would roll them up in a ball and conspicuously throw them in the wastebasket. When he finally finished his education at ETH, none of his professors would write a letter of recommendation for him, and thus he languished with no permanent job for four years. Says biographer Walter Isaacson of that period, "The faculty were acutely aware of Einstein's impedance, but not his genius." In 1953, when accepting an award for non-conformity in scientific matters, Einstein thanked the donors by saying, "It gives me great pleasure to see the stubbornness of an incorrigible, non-conformist, warmly acclaimed." Indeed, an incorrigible non-conformist who sticks his tongue out at the world. But as always happens, two geniuses who do in fact change the world. The iconoclast becomes the icon. The outsider becomes the insider. That was true of Einstein, the rebellious student who went on to revolutionize physics, as well as Andy Warhol who revolutionized the world of art. Consider that in 1962, Andy Warhol's Campbell soup cans were thought to be so radical that no one would buy them. I repeat, no one would buy them. Eventually someone did, the art dealer Irving Blum. In 1996, Blum sold the collection to the Museum of Modern Art in New York for $15 million. Some 20 years later in 2007, Warhol was so accepted that he had become a literally a pillar, a pillar of the official traditional establishment as shown here in Edinburgh, Scotland at the entrance to the Royal Academy of Art. From rebel to icon. But the new icon then engenders the next rebel. This is the dialectic, the Ying and Yang between the status quo and rebellion. Between the status quo and dynamic change. The genius, the transformative rebel, is the catalyst of that change.