A lot of people take learning for granted. We’ve all seen kids who play on their phones or sneak in escapist novels during classes. There are kids who make fun of those who pay attention to their studies. Some of us may have been the kids who acted that way. Some of us may still actually be those kids, reading this in the here and now! In the end, however, we all learn that a mind is a terrible thing to waste.
Luciano Baietti of Velletri in the Alban Hills near Rome is 70 years-old, but even he knows not to waste the importance of an education. He currently holds 15 degrees from various universities across the country of Italy, from Turin to Naples, which includes both bachelors and masters degrees, and is even working on his next one.
Baietti credits his love of learning to being something of a bibliophile. According to The National, “Thanks to books, I feel free, dammit,” he said. “After all, the words share the same root,” a play on the the Italian words, “libro” (book) and “libero” (free).
Although he spends much of his time pottering, he wakes up very early in the morning to start his studies, at 3 in the morning!
“At that time the brain is more open to assimilating knowledge, and it also allows me to keep a normal family life,” he explained. That said, he is not a novice to the educational system, but is a former headmaster himself.
In case you are wondering if it is worth it to study so much, even at Baietti’s advanced age, he got his name into the Guinness Book of Records in 2002 with his eighth degree, this time, a degree in motor skills.
He also has degrees in sociology, literature, law, political science, criminology, military strategies, and philosophy, with his first being in physical education, but his most recent is in tourism. And his next degree is expected to be in food science.
Of all his degrees, military strategies was the hardest for him. “It was co-organised by the defence ministry and Turin University and dealt with sensitive subjects related to national security,” he explained. “We had to attend the exams in uniform.”
That said, he also felt that his criminology degree also left an important mark on his life, adding that, “Listening to them, I sometimes surprised myself. I’d be convinced by their arguments, and would wonder about what was right or wrong – before realising that I had gone off course.”
Italy is a country known for its great minds, whether it be Dante or Machiavelli. However, Baietti looked to the French, specifically 19th century essayist Louis-Francois Bertin is a personal role model and hero to him. “He was a man of culture and knowledge,” Baietti added.