I'm currently reading "Uncertainty" by David Cassidy in conjunction with my P-chem class. While I can't currently write a review of the book, as I haven't finished yet, I do have to say that reading about his early life is a serious motivator for myself. He learned how to apply Calculus to Physics during his high school years through self-study. I'm in my mid-twenties, and while I've progressed in that direction to a point that I'm feel pretty confident with it now, man! I did that with the help of professors lecturing me on that very topic. Looking at the educational ability of the greats around the turn-of-the-century is humbling and inspiring.
Also, interesting fact: Max Plank, Albert Einstein, and Werner Heisenberg all graduated from the same "Gymnasium" -- early 20th century German equivalent to our High Schools. Implicated reason for this: the rich ensured that the best teachers were teaching at their Gymnasium by way of spending money on them. This isn't pointed out to denigrate the ability of these great men, but it does make you wonder about those who think teachers are already payed enough. (Totally anecdotal evidence reinforcing my personal bias in action)