Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawkins were rank amateurs because they were handicapped by their pathetic math skills.

The real math pros are accountants.

As the old joke goes:

A businessman needed to hire someone who knew math. For the interview, he had written on a white board “2 + 2 =.” The mathemetician wrote “4,” as did the physicist. When an acountant arrived, he looked at the whiteboard, locked the door, checked to make sure the window was locked, and pulled the curtains. He leaned close to the businessman and whispered,

“What do you want it to be?”

Creative accounting requires more mental gymnastics than figuring out how the universe began or will end. Here’s a great example:

Forestt Gump, the movie, cost $55 million dollars to produce. It earned nearly $680 **BILLION**, but according to the accountants, it lost money. Some of the contributors (like author Winston Groom) had agreed to a percentage of the net profits. However, since it never made a dime, their share was zero.

Let’s review the math:

$679,850,637,000

– $55,000,000

** ZERO***

* After depreciation, marketing, amortization, title, and dealer preparation charges–and other “Generally Accepted Accounting Principles”.

I didn’t include taxes, because if it “lost money,” I’m not sure whether or not they had to pay any.

Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, eat your hearts out!

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Excellent, Steve. I would like to “add” just a couple of things. First, for years and years the one question that students ask algebra teachers is: “Why do we study algebra because when will we ever use it again?” And algebra teachers never answer because they have no answer themselves.

Albert Einstein applied what he DID know about math to LIFE. For example he said “Genius is neither magical nor mysterious. It is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.” Einstein always spoke to thinking simple: “To solve the human equation, we need to add love, subtract hate, multiply good, and divide between truth and error. If simplicity truly is the ultimate sophistication, is it only in math or in life too that we seek the most simple common denominator?”

History proves, Steve, the great thinkers and doers simply add, divide, subtract, and multiply—and reduce all problems to their most simple common denominator when seeking X–the unknown or uncertain–in life. Great post, Steve. Thank you.