Einstein and an assistant, having finished a paper, searched the office for a paper clip. They finally found one, too badly bent for use. They looked for an implement to straighten it, and after opening many more drawers came upon a whole box of clips. Einstein at once shaped one into a tool to straighten the bent clip. His assistant, puzzled, asked why he was doing this when there was a whole boxful of usable clips. “Once I am set on a goal it becomes difficult to deflect me,” said Einstein.
[Einstein said to an assistant at Princeton that this was the most characteristic anecdote that could be told of him.]