I will not delve into a biographical narrative of Heinlein's extraordinary life. If that is something you might enjoy reading, there is a good biographical synopsis here, as well as a published two volume set from William H. Patterson available here. No, this entry is entirely self-concerned; it is about the influence of Heinlein upon me.
Unlike many acolytes of Heinlein's, I did not cut my adolescent teeth on his early juveniles (young reader/adolescent literature), so I cannot attribute challenges to my adolescent mind the likes of Citizen of the Galaxy, or Red Planet. I did not even discover his juveniles until well into my adulthood, and at that point they no longer held any great value for me as they are principally adventure stories with a light sprinkling of moral narrative and a heavy dose of hard science.
A nearly ubiquitous feature of Heinlein novels is his "wise old man" archetype through which he speaks directly to the reader. In Starship Troopers, Colonel DuBois is this figure. During Rico's class in History and Moral Philosophy, a fellow student of Rico's asserts the old adage that 'violence never solves anything, to which DuBois replies: