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January 28, 2004
Christopher Columbus learning the job by doing it and by reading in his spare time

I'm very fond of these short biographies that they do nowadays. If you can have short stories, why not short summaries of great lives? But for Brian's Education Blog purposes such books can be tantalisingly insufficient. That Lenin book I quoted from yesterday is a foot crusher if dropped, or it would have been when it first came out in hardback. Which is why it went into such fascinating detail about the nuances of the man's education. Christopher Columbus by Peter Rivière, on the other hand, one of the Pocket Biographies series done by Sutton Publishing, is only 111 pages long.

So this is all it says (in paragraph one of Chapter One, "The Early Years", on page 8) about the education of its hero:

Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa in 'about 1451. His father, Domenico, was a weaver, and his mother, Susanna Fontanarossa, also came from a weaving family. We know of a sister, Bianchinetta, and two younger brothers, Bartolome and Diego, who were to be his companions and supporters throughout Us life. He received little in the way of formal education and the claim that he attended the University of Pavia, where he is meant to have studied geography, astronomy and geometry, is almost certainly not true. If later in life he was recognized for his knowledge of these subjects it was because he was self-taught. As a young bov he was engaged in his father's business, although at an earlv age he started going to sea. This was not altogether surprising since, along with Venice, Genoa was the great trading city of the Mediterranean.

And with that Columbus immediately sets to and discovers America, or whatever it was he actually did to it (see Introduction).

Still, for those who prefer short postings

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 01:59 PM
Category: Famous educationsLearning by doing

I find it very annoying at those little summaries as it showed no respect toward the person of interest. It only gave a vague background to how his life could have been. It really bugs the crap out of me.

Jewelries Online

Comment by: Anh-Kiet Ngo on January 29, 2004 05:55 PM

Anh-Kiet Ngo

Thanks for commenting here, but I disagree with you. Should there simply not be any short biographies of famous people in print? I think there should, if only to draw people towards longer ones, which this little book does. And the price of brevity is, well, brevity.

I don't think that this summary of Columbus's education bad, merely, as I said, tantalising, that is to say it made me want to learn more. What is disrespectful about that?

Good luck with the jewelry business.

Comment by: Brian Micklethwait on January 29, 2004 06:07 PM

Brian Micklethwait,

I lost the link to this page (your last name is hard to remember), and I found it back (thanks to my girlfriend, who, in this case, agrees with you more). I see your point that it brings people toward a longer book. A person like you for example, would find it intriguing and want to learn more. The ones I find disrespectful are those that are monetizing by targetting people who wants quick information for a research, and do not care much or thirst for information. Correct me if I am wrong please.

Jewelries Online

P.S. Thank you, but the site isn't doing as well as it should be =(.

Comment by: Anh-Kiet Ngo on February 20, 2004 09:47 AM

I feel that this bit of information is very helpful for a teenager who doesn't want to read a long biography. It is helpful for bits and peices of information. Keep it up!!

Comment by: Rebecca Hendrix on September 9, 2004 11:14 PM

Well, the was quite helful. I was looking for facts on Columbus's educationa nd that was pretty helpful. Thanks!

Comment by: Zeb L. on December 7, 2004 09:15 PM
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