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La Dolce Duck Commander: How Duck Dynasty Teaches Us About da Vinci

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La Dolce Duck Commander: How Duck Dynasty Teaches Us About da Vinci

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La Dolce Duck Commander: How Duck Dynasty Teaches Us About da Vinci

In Michael Gelb’s book “How To Think Like Leonardo,”  he determined seven character traits that made Leonardo da Vinci one of the most influential geniuses in history. These seven principles provide a framework for pursuing knowledge through hands-on inquiry. When I started thinking about how to illustrate those principles in today’s world, I realized that the Robertson family (yes, of Duck/Buck Commander and Duck Dynasty fame) embodies all of da Vinci’s principles.

In Michael Gelb’s book “How To Think Like Leonardo,”  he determined seven character traits that made Leonardo da Vinci one of the most influential geniuses in history. These seven principles provide a framework for pursuing knowledge through hands-on inquiry. When I started thinking about how to illustrate those principles in today’s world, I realized that the Robertson family (yes, of Duck/Buck Commander and Duck Dynasty fame) embodies all of da Vinci’s principles.

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Editor's Notes

  • One of the hottest shows on TV today is Duck Dynasty. It’s bigger than American Idol. Basically, it centers around Willie Robertson, the CEO of Duck Commander, a brand started by his father making duck calls, and the entire backwoods Louisiana family.
  • In Michael Gelb’s book “How To Think Like Leonardo,”  he determined seven character traits that made Leonardo da Vinci one of the most influential geniuses in history.
  • These seven principles provide a framework for pursuing knowledge through hands-on inquiry. When I started thinking about how to illustrate those principles in today’s world, I realized that the Robertson family embodies all of da Vinci’s principles. Check it out:
  • The first principle is about cultivating an open mind that allows you to broaden your universe and increase your ability to explore it.
  • CEO Willie is constantly trying to introduce new ideas and methods. While some episodes, like this one where Willie buys a winery, are obviously more about hijinks than cultivating thought, there’s a reason Duck Commander brand has grown exponentially under his leadership.
  • Principle number 2: Da Vinci viewed sickness as elements that were out of order in the body and health as the restoration of those elements. In other words a sound mind means a sound body.
  • It’s a running joke through the show that the father, Phil, considers Willie to be ‘yuppified,’ meaning he’s become softened by city life and can’t handle the outdoors, and that’s why he’s always at odds with what’s happening.
  • But in the end, Willie usually returns to his roots or the dynamic is restored in some way, demonstrating thatrestoration of elements and returning to health in the way da Vinci proposed.
  • Sfumato literally translates as ‘going up in smoke.’ It’s a metaphorfor being able to deal with uncertainty. Our world changes quickly, and in Gelb’s words, maintaining poise in the face of paradox is the key to sanity.
  • TheRobertson clan proves pretty unflappable in business and public. Recently Morrissey refused to go on Jimmy Kimmel’s talk show with the Duck Dynasty guys, and they weren’t offended or upset by it, they simply wished him the best.
  • Much of this principle relies on the brain's 'hemispheric proclivities.' Each member of the Robertsonfamily has a unique viewpoint, and the meshing of these creates the dynamic which shines through in their business model.
  • Da Vinci understood the importance of letting the mind travel outside standard constraints while balancing logic and imagination, like this sketch of Neptune with ocean waves depicted as horses.
  • From their humble beginnings, the duck commander brand grown into this huge empire and branched into so many different mediums is reflective of the talents of each family member, like Miss Kay’s bullfrog cook book.
  • Dimonstrazione is about more than just experience, it’s about persistence and a willingness to learn from mistakes. Many studies have shown that success in business is dependent on resilience, and the ability to live and learn from difficult experiences.
  • A hallmark of the business that has continued from the time Phil started is that each duck call is made and tuned by hand. While the company has grown a lot since then, by constantly refining their processes, they’ve managed to maintain that same quality and connection with their product.
  • Da Vinci said that “The five senses are the ministers of the soul.” and we use our senses to enliven not only our experiences, but also our souls.
  • As anyone who has hunted can tell you, the senses are heightened are in the woods, and intuition takes over. It’s intuitionthat clarifies the experience, the same intuition that da Vinci clarified through his thousands of sketches with only slight variations.
  • This is probably the most obvious connection of how Phil and the boys live da Vinci's principles. Their connection with nature and its ecosystem is built into the fiber of both their business and their livelihood, but it’s deeper than that.
  • It’s the ability to see relationships and patterns, and make unfamiliar combinations and connections. Whether developed by da Vinci or the Robertsons, innovation happens when connections are made between things that seem completely unrelated at first.
  • But the driving thought behind all of this is that is just as possible to live the sweet, soulful life, la vita dolce, right here in Minnesota by being cognizant of how the choices we make influence our world.

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