My wife Deb and I love Hawaii and have been there many times. One year we were on the island of Lanai, having dinner in one of the hotel restaurants, when an older couple walked in. They were both just over five feet tall — none other than Milton and Rose Friedman.
Milton, one of the most influential economists of the twentieth century, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1976. At the time we saw them they were in their mid-eighties.
I went over to his table, introduced myself and mentioned a couple, Frank and Mary, whom I knew were close friends of theirs as well as mine. Frank and I had worked together for many years and he’d told me about visits with the Friedmans at their summer home in Vermont.
We chatted for a few minutes. I asked about various books of his, some going back decades. His responses were instantaneous and precise. I mentioned a book he’d published with my company three decades ago. He knew the exact title and the year it was published. It reminded me of talking with a very bright thirty year old. The phrase, “A mind like a steel trap” is appropriate.
The next morning I went to the fitness center and noticed two treadmills going, the heads of the occupants barely visible above the control panel. You guessed it; Milton and Rose were there for their morning aerobic exercise. No wonder he maintained his brainpower.