The following is an excerpt from Mike Rucker’s new book, “The Fun Habit: How the Pursuit of Joy and Wonder Can Change Your Life. “
Despite his complex mind, Einstein was known to be a lot of fun.
You probably know this famous portrait but may not be aware of its backstory.
The photo was taken by Arthur Sasse, on March 14, 1951, Einstein’s 72nd birthday. In the uncropped photo, we can see Einstein sitting in a car, between his wife, Elsa, and Dr. Frank Aydelotte, the head of the Institute for Advanced Study.
Einstein’s wife, Elsa, and Dr. Frank Aydelotte, the head of the Institute for Advanced Study, were driving home from his birthday party in Princeton, New Jersey. Einstein, it is said, was asked repeatedly to smile into cameras as they left.
When Sasse asked for one last photo, he defiantly made a funny face. Einstein liked the resulting image so much, he immediately ordered multiple copies so he could sign and send them to friends as a joke.
Later on, he used this photo to make greeting cards. Einstein rarely let others get in the way of his fun.
He was quick to joke, rarely wore socks (he thought that the shoes should do the job), let his mustache and hair grow, and gave interviews on his porch in fluffy pink slippers.
The photo was a testament to his commitment to having fun. Yet, when Sasse submitted it to the editors, there were some who questioned whether or not it should be published, considering Einstein’s fame.
It only ever saw the light of day because Sasse related how much the great scientist himself loved the image.
According to Walter Isaacson’s biography, “Einstein: His Life and Universe,” the personality traits that contributed most to Einstein’s greatness were curiosity and nonconformism.
Scientific studies suggest that humor and intelligence are associated. People who show an aptitude for fun also seem to have superior cognitive abilities.
Einstein was excellent proof of that. According to legend, Einstein’s second great idea was that he added an egg when cooking soup so you could boil an egg in a separate pot.
Excerpted from “The Fun Habit: How the Pursuit of Joy and Wonder Can Change Your Life.” (c)2023 by Michael Rucker and reprinted with permission from Simon & Schuster Atria Publicity.
The post How Einstein really felt about this photo taken of him on his 72nd birthday appeared first on Business Insider.