Nikola Tesla was, to say the least, quite a character. He went from rags to riches and back to rags, from high society to living largely as a recluse whose only friends were the local pigeons he visited every day. He was eccentric, but he was also a genius best known for inventing the modern alternating current electricity supply system. In 1934, in an interview with “The New York Times,” Tesla explained in part what helped his genius thrive. Seclusion, he argued, was vital to the creative mind: “The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. No big laboratory is needed in which to think.” For Tesla, solitude was the key to innovation. “Be alone,” he said, “that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.”

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