Hello, my name is Ron White and I am a two-time USA Memory Champion, memory training expert and memory keynote. I am excited to share my thoughts on Albert Einstein and how he looked at friendship.

Albert Einstein was not a reclusive man, and enjoyed a wide circle of friendships and acquaintances. Unlike most scientists that many would call ‘geeks’ today, Einstein thrived on socializing. He made friends easily, with his wit and upbeat attitude, and he coveted them even more deeply than he did his marriages.

The "Olympiad" Conrad Habicht, Maurice Solovine -- Einstein's friends-for-life, recipients of many of his letters on Zionism, as well as other subjects.

When you became a friend to Albert Einstein you held a loyalty others would envy. Throughout his adult life people were constantly trying to exploit Einstein for their own gain. Being a simple and humble man he shied away from the limelight, but did reach out to people he enjoyed spending time with.

One such man was Gillett Griffin, who at the time he met Einstein was a 25-year-old art historian who was working in Princeton University’s graphic arts library. Einstein was 74 at the time, but took a shine to the young man that lasted until his death. Griffin never was sure why Einstein liked him, he believed it was because they had different interests, and he was at ease with not having the pressure of ‘shop talk’ around him all the time. “He knew that I was not using him, that everything that was said was being held,” Griffin said. Out of a desire to respect Einstein’s closely guarded privacy, Griffin said he took no pictures of Einstein and chose not to write down the contents of any conversations.  Griffin said the friendship made him the “luckiest person I’ve ever known.”

Einstein was a man of compassion. He gave the same degree of respect to everyone, no matter what his or her station in life was. His friendships ranged from famous men to the simple, and they all were treated equally. He was a man who cared about people, and was always trying to ‘fix’ their problems – often to the chagrin of those who didn’t think they needed ‘fixing’. Sometimes he got a little carried away, trying to repair the lives of those he thought needed ‘help’, but it was always done out of affection.

A young man, Maurice Solovine, once replied to an ad Einstein had placed in the newspaper for him to teach math lessons. Einstein took a shine to the lad and when he was asked how much Solovine owed him, Einstein replied that he didn’t want his money, however he did want his friendship.

Albert Einstein felt that small, daily acts of kindness were the basis for relationships, whether they were amorous or plutonic, and he had a way of making people feel at ease and accepted.  He is quoted as saying: “Only a life lived for others is worth living.”

Max Planck had developed what we now know as the ‘quantum theory’. Einstein took Planck’s theory and advanced it with his work on the photoelectric effect. Some scientists were nudging Einstein to take credit for Planck’s discovery. Einstein refused to take credit for someone else’s work. Planck went on to win the Nobel Prize for his work. Planck and Einstein later developed a deep friendship. In later years Planck and Einstein had a falling out, mostly due to a series of tragedies in Planck’s life and his withdrawl and depression. Einstein was not able to comfort his friend, and spent the rest of his life regretting their separation.

Einstein was a playful soul, always interested in exploring new things and taking an interest in what others were doing. He enjoyed giving people puzzles and then watch as they attempted to solve them. He took great delight in the energy and inquisitiveness of young people, and encouraged them to question and seek answers. He defended his friends, and took great pride in developing new friendships, for Einstein felt friendship was one of the most precious commodities a person could have.

What do you look for in a friend, and what do you do to establish a friendship that others want to cherish? Is there someone in your life you regret losing touch with? If so, it’s never too late to rekindle that friendship.

For more information on Albert Einstein, listen to the CDs on “How To Develop The Mind of Einstein” available on this site.


TopSynergy.com – Albert Einstein in relationships: http://famous-relationships.topsynergy.com/Albert_Einstein/

Collected Quotes from Albert Einstein: Stanford University – http://rescomp.stanford.edu/~cheshire/EinsteinQuotes.html

Nj.com – Meet Gillett Griffin, Princeton Friend of Albert Einstein: http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/03/in_1953_gillett_g_griffin.html

Schoolnet.com – Albert Einstein: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAeinstein.htm

Wikipedia – Max Planck: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Planck