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Aubrey de Grey: How to be a Successful Heretic

Posted by: Helen Walters on February 27, 2008

This morning saw TED University, which is essentially a ton of presentations by people who haven’t been invited to go on stage. There were a ton of sponsored activities, too (of which more later). I saw and heard some interesting stuff, but I’ve only got a few minutes before heading into the next session (theme: What Is Our Place in the Universe?) so I’ll simply recount the lessons of Aubrey de Grey, a Cambridge (UK) academic who runs the Methuselah Foundation. His aim: to cure old age, arguing that 90% of deaths in industrialized society are from a disease that young people don’t die from. 100,000 people die from ageing every day, and he wants to cure the disease. Sounds kooky, and there’s no denying that de Grey is a real radical, but his more generalized philosophy struck a real chord that we would all do well to apply.

His own personal Ten Commandments after the jump:

1. Be right (diligence before oratory)
2. Be boastful (about your topic)
3. Be a doer (as well as a talker)
4. Be indomitable (if not invincible)
5. Be diplomatic (not maybe all the time)
6. Be everywhere (a pint is worth 1000 words)
7. Be pithy (especially under pressure)
8. Be inspirational (with a team that's organisational)
9. Be selfless (remember that control is only a means to an end)
10. Be right (and be able to explain why to experts and laymen)

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Reader Comments


December 30, 2008 02:11 AM

i want to be the most famous and rich person in the world.

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What comes next? The BusinessWeek Innovation and Design team of Michael Arndt and Helen Walters chronicle new tools for creativity and collaboration, innovation case studies in both the corporate and social sectors, and the new ideas that have the power to change the way things have always been done.

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