John Adams' relationship to databases has variously been that of peasant to tsar, meteroid to star, and finally tick to hound. His interest began in his early teens, when he wondered how all those lists which 'they' were keeping on which, he was reliably told, his name was found, could possibly be maintained, let alone kept consistent.
John Adams "was utterly hopeless as a grand designer of narratives, and he knew it. The artifice required to shape a major work of history or philosophy was not in him. But he was a natural contrarian, a born critic, whose fullest energies manifested themselves in the act of doing intellectual isometric exercises against the fixed objects presented by someone else's ideas." At least that's how Joseph Ellis tells it in "Founding Brothers."