One of the highest compliments we can pay a person is to call him “a renaissance man.” The prototype, of course, is Leonardo da Vinci. Not only could da Vinci produce art of the quality of Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, but he was a scientist and engineer who invented an early adding machine, made contributions to anatomy and even had a basic theory of plate tectonics.
We consider this remarkable (and it is) for many reasons. Most people consider art and science to be radically different areas of human endeavor, such that those who master both must be “geniuses” — that is, people whose talents are based on gifts far beyond normal abilities to integrate domains of skill. In fact, both art and science draw upon one of the most basic of human capacities: discipline.
In thoughtful moments, investors sometimes try to decide whether their success is a matter of art or science (or, if feeling unusually humble, a matter of