David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
from the world's big
Start Learning

Why Politicians Are No Einsteins

Question: Aside from moral issues, what insights have emerged from your personal reflection since resigning?


Eliot Spitzer: I think there are many ways to contribute and it is unclear to me whether one contributes more by being an elected official, being a school teacher, being an academic, working in not for profits that provide services to those who are in need and thereby creating opportunities for them, by being a technology whiz who creates some next step in some area I can’t even understand.  There are so many different ways to participate in ways that are rewarding emotionally.  Make one feel good about participating in our community so that we can focus as much as we often do, certainly as much as the media does on the politics.  You ask me, and again, this goes back to the days of the ancient Greeks where the politicians – we remember Paracelsus, we don’t remember the guy who was the great teacher at the high school in Athens.  So, we focus on politicians, perhaps too much.  Those who really have changed society, however – I guess Paracelsus did, but at large politicians don’t, it is Einstein, it is Freud, it is Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, it’s people who are creative thinkers who really change society in a fundamental way.  


Question: What has motivated your fairly early return to public life, and will you ever attempt a return to politics?


Eliot Spitzer: You know, it’s – I began simply by writing some articles for Slate. I enjoy writing whether people would be interested or not wasn’t clear to me. Interestingly, it had been a number of years since I’d actually had the opportunity to write because even though as Attorney General and Governor, I would speak quite often, rarely did I have the time to sit down and actually write an article, or a speech. And so, it was almost liberating to be in a position where I had the time to do that. And I enjoyed it. So, writing a few articles and then I was asked to provide some commentary on a few TV shows, and so bit by bit, I’ve accepted those invitations and spoken at a few venues. It has not been part of any preordained plan on my part. I have a day job, not only working in the family business, but teaching and now doing the writing, so I’m busy enough. So, this is not part of some scheduled return to anything, but I’ve enjoyed it.


Question: Where would you most like to see yourself in 10 years as a public figure?


Eliot Spitzer: Oh, I don’t know where, if anywhere, as a public figure. Ten years from now I’d like to see myself upstate with a little piece of property up there and – it is where I find peace and quiet, sitting there. It sounds, again, very kind of like a Hallmark card. You look up at the stars and you realize, okay, none of us is that important, but it’s where I love to spend time.

Recorded January 21, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen

It’s creative thinkers like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs who change the world, says New York’s ex-governor, who is stepping back into public life.

Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

Bubonic plague case reported in China

Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.

(Photo by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Getty Images)
  • The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
  • Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
  • Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Keep reading Show less

Education vs. learning: How semantics can trigger a mind shift

The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.

Future of Learning
  • The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
  • Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
  • Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
Keep reading Show less

How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

Keep reading Show less

Why is everyone so selfish? Science explains

The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.

Credit: Adobe Stock, Olivier Le Moal.
Personal Growth
  • Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
  • New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
  • Times of crisis tend to increase self-centered acts.
Keep reading Show less