Luca Pacioli was born in 1447 in the Tuscan Region of Italy. He was trained in merchant skills. He moved to Venice when he was 19 to tutor three sons of a merchant. He wrote his first book for the boys. This was to become his career direction.

Before Luca turned 30, he became a Franciscan friar. He started teaching mathematics at a university and continued private tutoring. He wrote a series of books, primarily for the use of his students. He would travel extensively and ended up in Milan where he met Leonardo daVinci and became his mathematics tutor. Luca and Leonardo became collaborators on books with Leonardo doing the illustrations. They also became intimate and were forced to leave Milan when France seized the city.

Luca continued to write and publish books. One of these books became the basis for developing accounting practices throughout Europe. Although Luca didn’t invent the accounting practices, he became known as the father of accounting because he was the person who showed merchants how to use accounting concepts. The principles that he outlined in his book are still in use today.

One book that Luca never published became the basis for modern magic and numerical puzzles. The book was on the shelves of a University library when it was discovered centuries later. Another book showed applications of mathematics in architecture. This book also shows the use of perspective and influenced artists at that time. Another book examined strategies for playing chess.

Luca passed away at age 70 having left a legacy of work affecting mathematics and accounting. While he wasn’t the origination of many of the things he wrote about, he was the person who made them accessible to others. Hidden heroes make impacts in many different ways. In Luca Pacioli’s case, he was the teacher who changed the way businesses practiced accounting. He was the teacher who influenced artists. He was the teacher who influenced architecture. And he was the teacher who helped make mathematics a subject of practical interest.

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“A teacher affects eternity: he can never tell where his influence stops.” – Henry Adams