Since the 1940s, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of USA is consistently ranked by the scholars in the top three, often #1. He is one of my favorite historical figures ever. His biography is very inspirational. Reared in a poor family on the western frontier, Lincoln was mostly self-educated, became a country lawyer and everything else he achieved.
While young Lincoln’s formal education consisted approximately of a year’s worth of classes from several itinerant teachers, he was, I repeat, mostly self-taught. He was an avid reader and often sought access to any new books in the village. He read and reread the King James Bible, Aesop‘s Fables, John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Daniel Defoe‘s Robinson Crusoe, and Benjamin Franklin‘s Autobiography.
He expressed his big curiosity and love for the books in this quote: “A capacity, and taste, for reading, gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others. It is the key, or one of the keys, to the already solved problems. And not only so. It gives a relish, and facility, for successfully pursuing the [yet] unsolved ones”.