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BrianEno's term for "communal genius".

We tend to label great ideas and innovations with the person who came up with them.

But most people who you've heard of have got famous partly due to being part of a network of connections who both stimulate and bounce ideas off each other, and help to promote, draw attention to each other.

See also :

Quora Answer : Is it possible for great thinkers like Leonardo da Vinci, Karl Marx, Noam Chomsky and Paul Graham to come from outside the top tier U.S. universities? If so, how?

Mar 15, 2013

In general, all the thinkers you have mentioned came out of some kind of historically significant intellectual community. Leonardo da Vinci was in Florence during the renaissance. Marx studied and got his doctorate from good German universities in the aftermath of Kant and Hegel. Chomsky comes from the US academic elite. Paul Graham is certainly smart, well educated, and deliberately moved from the no. 2 centre of startup culture (Boston) to the no. 1 centre (Silicon Valley) because he is such a strong believer in the importance of context.

Based on them, you'd have to assume that answer is "no". It doesn't have to be "top tier U.S." universities, but it certainly has to be some of the leading institutions for whatever you are trying to do.

Frankly, if you're not in some sort of community, you have problems. I was going to suggest Satyendra Nath Bose as a model. But then I saw on Wikipedia he was taught by Jagadish Chandra Bose who, himself, had been educated in London (the wealthiest and most important city in the world at the time.)

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