Here is a really good article I really want to blog about.
It is full of great quotes like this one:

That is exactly what places like Yale mean when they talk about training leaders. Educating people who make a big name for themselves in the world, people with impressive titles, people the university can brag about. People who make it to the top. People who can climb the greasy pole of whatever hierarchy they decide to attach themselves to.

Or this one:

We have a crisis of leadership in America because our overwhelming power and wealth, earned under earlier generations of leaders, made us complacent, and for too long we have been training leaders who only know how to keep the routine going. [...] What we have now are the greatest technocrats the world has ever seen, people who have been trained to be incredibly good at one specific thing, but who have no interest in anything beyond their area of exper­tise. What we don’t have are leaders.

What we don’t have, in other words, are thinkers. People who can think for themselves. People who can formulate a new direction: for the country, for a corporation or a college, for the Army—a new way of doing things, a new way of looking at things. People, in other words, with vision.

I think the author is right to the point here. The future has to be invented, so leaders must be able to do that, and unfortunately in most countries the best universities don't teach that. Let's not even talk about MBAs!
Here is what the author says about thinkers —in the article this is about General David Petraeus, but he could as well have used Steve Jobs as an example:

No, what makes him a thinker—and a leader—is precisely that he is able to think things through for himself. And because he can, he has the confidence, the courage, to argue for his ideas even when they aren’t popular. Even when they don’t please his superiors. Courage: there is physical courage, which you all possess in abundance, and then there is another kind of courage, moral courage, the courage to stand up for what you believe.

The next part of the article is about how people can learn to think.

[...] Multitasking, in short, is not only not thinking, it impairs your ability to think. Thinking means concentrating on one thing long enough to develop an idea about it.

[...] Concentrating, focusing. You can just as easily consider this lecture to be about concentration as about solitude. Think about what the word means. It means gathering yourself together into a single point rather than letting yourself be dispersed everywhere into a cloud of electronic and social input. It seems to me that Facebook and Twitter and YouTube—and just so you don’t think this is a generational thing, TV and radio and magazines and even newspapers, too—are all ultimately just an elaborate excuse to run away from yourself. To avoid the difficult and troubling questions that being human throws in your way. Am I doing the right thing with my life? Do I believe the things I was taught as a child? What do the words I live by—words like duty, honor, and country—really mean? Am I happy?

And I love this one:

Leadership means finding a new direction, not simply putting yourself at the front of the herd that’s heading toward the cliff.

In the end, the author did not explicitly include developing free software or blogging as a way to learn to think, but it seems to me that these activities qualify:

So solitude can mean introspection, it can mean the concentration of focused work, and it can mean sustained reading. All of these help you to know yourself better. But there’s one more thing I’m going to include as a form of solitude, and it will seem counterintuitive: friendship. Of course friendship is the opposite of solitude; it means being with other people. But I’m talking about one kind of friendship in particular, the deep friendship of intimate conversation. Long, uninterrupted talk with one other person.

So go ahead and read the full article. It's worth it!
And by the way this one from the same author is great too!