Arthur Koestler identified four characteristics of the outstanding scientist, but it could be applied to more than just scientists:
- An oceanic sense of wonder
- A curious mixture of skepticism and credulous precocity
- Dual abilities, both to generalize and to concentrate on the particulars
- Multiple potentials — enough to succeed in any one of several careers
I love the phrase “oceanic sense of wonder.” The ability to generalize seems rarer than the ability to concentrate on particulars.
I spotted this list in James Austin’s interesting book Chase, Chance, and Creativity.