Einstein is the great icon of our age: the kindly refugee from oppression whose wild halo of hair, twinkling eyes, engaging humanity and extraordinary brilliance made his face a symbol and his name a synonym for genius. He was a rebel and nonconformist from boyhood days. His character, creativity and imagination were related, and they drove both ...
Einstein is the great icon of our age: the kindly refugee from oppression whose wild halo of hair, twinkling eyes, engaging humanity and extraordinary brilliance made his face a symbol and his name a synonym for genius. He was a rebel and nonconformist from boyhood days. His character, creativity and imagination were related, and they drove both his life and his science. In this marvellously clear and accessible narrative, Walter Isaacson explains how his mind worked and the mysteries of the universe that he discovered. Einstein's success came from questioning conventional wisdom and marvelling at mysteries that struck others as mundane. This led him to embrace a worldview based on respect for free spirits and free individuals. All of which helped make Einstein into a rebel but with a reverence for the harmony of nature, one with just the right blend of imagination and wisdom to transform our understanding of the universe. This new biography, the first since all of Einstein's papers have become available, is the fullest picture yet of one of the key figures of the twentieth century.
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Excellent tale of Einstein's personal life as well as a layman's guide to physics.
Jul 26, 2007
The nature of genius
I really enjoyed this book. Einstein was not only a genius and a contrarian, but also a fascinatiing man who lived a full life outside of his scientific pursuits. He enjoyed comradeship with co-workers and friends and had a full if somewhat convoluted family life. He cultivated the "absent-minded professor" image, and comes across as an endearing figure whom one would have liked to encounter walking across the quad at Princeton, etc. Isaacson does well in keeping the narrative interesting; he's not always the greatest at explaining the arcane principles of theoretical physics. Many times, he loses me, and on occasion, I think he's just quoting the explanations provided by his physicist consultants without fully grasping the concepts themselves. Then again, that's what made Einstein a genius along side Isaac Newton, Capernicus, Planck, et al. Read it.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-07-30 Herrmann's reading offers solid, enjoyable and informative listening. Herrmann knows when his material is strong and does not try to compete with it. Instead, he delivers a straightforward yet endearing portrait of arguably the best mind of the last century. Herrmann keeps the text purely narrative, refraining from affecting a German accent when quoting Einstein and others, with the occasional accent appropriately slipping in only when pronouncing foreign words. In this, the first full biography based on Einstein's newly released personal letters, Isaacson takes care to keep the great mind's discoveries and theories comprehensible. Einstein, whose internally visualized "thought experiments" often led to his groundbreaking observations (at 16 he imagined chasing a light beam until he caught up to it), expressed these images with simplicity and elegance. Einstein's rebellious personality as well as the internal workings of his brilliant mind are brought vividly to life thanks to Herrmann's perfect reading, which is filled with warmth and accuracy. Simultaneous release with the S&S hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 12). (May) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-02-12 Acclaimed biographer Isaacson examines the remarkable life of "science's preeminent poster boy" in this lucid account (after 2003's Benjamin Franklin and 1992's Kissinger). Contrary to popular myth, the German-Jewish schoolboy Albert Einstein not only excelled in math, he mastered calculus before he was 15. Young Albert's dislike for rote learning, however, led him to compare his teachers to "drill sergeants." That antipathy was symptomatic of Einstein's love of individual and intellectual freedom, beliefs the author revisits as he relates his subject's life and work in the context of world and political events that shaped both, from WWI and II and their aftermath through the Cold War. Isaacson presents Einstein's research-his efforts to understand space and time, resulting in four extraordinary papers in 1905 that introduced the world to special relativity, and his later work on unified field theory-without equations and for the general reader. Isaacson focuses more on Einstein the man: charismatic and passionate, often careless about personal affairs; outspoken and unapologetic about his belief that no one should have to give up personal freedoms to support a state. Fifty years after his death, Isaacson reminds us why Einstein (1879-1955) remains one of the most celebrated figures of the 20th century. 500,000 firsr printing, 20-city author tour, first serial to Time; confirmed appearance on Good Morning America. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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