Category Archives: Book Review

Lessons from Leonardo

Lessons learned from Leonardo da Vinci, Remarks by Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne at the 2019 Convocation ceremony.

I’m really get inspired by the viewpoints of this President.

This remark was shared by Prof. Dr. Ismail Said.

Many of us knew his masterpieces, the “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper”, but we may know less about his achievements as inventor, scientist, engineer, scholar of literature, anatomy, and architecture.

What is so special about Leonardo? Here are the answers:

(1) Be curious. He was relentlessly curious. Due to the curiosity, he explored and gained knowledge of people, the natural world, and engineering. He combined that knowledge with his artistic inclination and created unprecedented works of art.

Moral of the story is use our time at university to explore, to be curious, with the enthusiasm and determination of Leonardo.

(2) Be true to yourself. He was individuality. He didn’t let others’ opinions constrain his own thinking, and he was often centuries ahead of time.

Being original and unique can be difficult. but ultimately rewarding.

Follow your heart and embrace your personality.

Cultivate and express those qualities that are uniquely your own.

Resist the inclination to model yourself on the success of others or to focus on someone else’s idea of what you should be.

(3) Be a team member. Although Leonardo was an individualist, he also took advantage of the growth and opportunities that come from being a team member. He was not a loner, but instead a genius who worked well with others and learned from others.

Connect with each other, support one another, and make room for new ideas.

(4) Adapt and Improve. Learned the way he experimented and then strove with great persistence to continually improve his work. He completed his portrait of “Ginevra de’ Benci”, and today we might call it a prototype.

Always try new things, adapt and improve. Don’t let obstacles dampen your spirit.

Success can take time.

“With hard work, you can accomplish more than you can imagine”.

If and when you hit rough patches, be assured you’re not alone.

You have Allah S.W.T the Almighty, The Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. (peace be upon him) and your families. 




The Cosmic Perspective

Today, I want to share what I learned from Prof. Dr. Ismail Said.

He already read a book entitled ” The Cosmic Perspective”,  written by Bennett, Donahue, Schneider & Voit, published in 2014. It is a textbook of physics major at Cornell University.

Begin with a nice point of view. “Science is not a body of facts but rather a process through which we seek to understand the world around us” (Bennett et. al., 2014).

Prof. Dr. Ismail Said stated that there are seven (7) pedagogical principles on delivering our lessons in the classroom namely:

(1) Stay focused on the big picture,

(2) Always provide context first,

(3)  Make the material relevant,

(4) Emphasize conceptual understanding,

(5) Proceed from the more familiar and concrete to the less familiar and abstract,

(6) Use plain language and,

(7) Recognize and address student misconceptions.

“Also, teach students to gain knowledge through analytical and critical thinking modes. These skills stay in them for long. Thus, students put less concern on getting grades, more on what they learned” he added.

He ended the sharing session with a scenario at Cornell University.

“Physics professors are instructed to set how many As be given in their classes. This to assure tough competition. Taufiq finds that his study is stressful. This is how Cornell generates good quality students. It has 22 Nobel Prizes in Physics”.