And what I find is that they tend to diversify into things that are somewhat related, but somewhat more complex or more advanced. And in the process of diversifying, they rely enormously on talent that came from the outside.
PAUL SOLMAN: Although note, says Weiner, that these places have to be big and wealthy enough to attract top talent.
ERIC WEINER: Almost all of these genius clusters throughout history have been cities. And Athens wasn’t a huge city, but it was very dense, there were lots of interactions, and it was an urban life that we might recognize today, people trading and gossiping and getting together for these drunken symposia where they would recite poetry and drink wine.
PAUL SOLMAN: So, do you believe it takes a Socrates to make a Plato?
ERIC WEINER: And a Plato to make an Aristotle, and an Aristotle to make an Alexander, if you will. The point is that genius is contagious.
PAUL SOLMAN: Professor Hausmann’s research bears this out.
RICARDO HAUSMANN: Genius is not really about individuals. It’s really about a collective. It’s about a community of practice.