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Einstein: His Life and Universe Paperback – May 13, 2008
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"Walter Isaacson has captured the complete Einstein. With an effortless style that belies a sharp attention to detail and scientific accuracy, Isaacson takes us on a soaring journey through the life, mind, and science of the man who changed our view of the universe." -- Brian Greene, Professor of Physics at Columbia and author of The Fabric of the Cosmos
"This book does an amazing job getting the science right and the man revealed." -- Sylvester James Gates, Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland
"This book will be widely and deservedly admired. It is excellently readable and combines the personal and the scientific aspects of Einstein's life in a graceful way." -- Gerald Holton, Professor of Physics at Harvard and author of Einstein, History, and Other Passions
"Once again Walter Isaacson has produced a most valuable biography of a great man about whom much has already been written. It helps that he has had access to important new material. He met the challenge of dealing with his subject as a human being and describing profound ideas in physics. His biography is a pleasure to read and makes the great physicist come alive." -- Murray Gell-Mann, winner of the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physics and author of The Quark and the Jaguar
"With unmatched narrative skill, Isaacson has managed the extraordinary feat of preserving Einstein's monumental stature while at the same time bringing him to such vivid life that we come to feel as if he could be walking in our midst. This is a terrific work." -- Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
"Isaacson's treatment of Einstein's scientific work is excellent: accurate, complete, and just the right level of detail for the general reader. Taking advantage of the wealth of recently uncovered historical material, he has produced the most readable biography of Einstein yet." -- A. Douglas Stone, Professor of Physics at Yale
"This is a brilliant intellectual tapestry -- and a great read. Skillfully weaving Einstein's revolutionary scientific achievements, his prolific political initiatives, his complex personal life, and his fascinating personality, Isaacson has transformed the transformer of the twentieth century into a beacon for the twenty-first century." -- Martin J. Sherwin, coauthor of American Prometheus:The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for biography
"I found so much to admire; there are many places where I just had to cheer what Isaacson had written." -- Dudley Herschbach, Professor of Science at Harvard
"Isaacson has written a crisp, engaging, and refreshing biography, one that beautifully masters the historical literature and offers many new insights into Einstein's work and life." -- Diana Kormos Buchwald, General Editor of the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein
"Isaacson has admirably succeeded in weaving together the complex threads of Einstein's personal and scientific life to paint a superb portrait." -- Arthur I. Miller, author of Einstein, Picasso
About the Author
Walter Isaacson, University Professor of History at Tulane, has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chairman of CNN, and editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Leonardo da Vinci; The Innovators; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. Facebook: Walter Isaacson, Twitter: @WalterIsaacson
Top customer reviews
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"Einstein," is a book by Walter Isaacson who discusses Einstein's life in detail. It is very well written for the lay person and reveals many interesting sides of Einstein's life and works.
As a scientist, Albert Einstein was one of the most epic stars among all 20th-century scientific thinkers. The book brings Einstein's life and times into clear focus, delivering new information never seen by the public. This biography focuses closely on Einstein's personal life and the non-scientific circumstances of his very long and highly productive career.
The book is not a fast read, nor is it simple read, but shows Albert Einstein (1879-1955) to be a master genius. The book is a fascinating and well-written account by Mr. Isaacson, whose style is to write about people who are so stunning that we need to know what makes them that way.
Isaacson's book studies Einstein as a man, with his many imperfections, some bizarre, others just plain incredible. What I especially admired was the angle of description that Isaacson chose for this detailed portrait of Albert Einstein.
I give the book 5 Gold Stars, which was 24 Karat Gold cover-to-cover. A brilliant masterpiece.
Isaacson emphasizes two character traits in particular that distinguished Einstein from other scientists: his almost obsessive sense of curiosity that led him to question why the physical world is as it is and a nature that was averse to dogma or a constraining authority in any sphere.
As a former Physics major, this portrait of Einstein seems to me to have captured his essence correctly. Isaacson has also gotten the physics mostly right.(He seems to think that the role of the observer in quantum physics has to be someone with a consciousness. This is one of his more glaring errors, atypical as they may be.)
The one criticism I would make of this book, and it is not really a fully fledged criticism, is that the author has little new to say about Einstein. All of his personality characteristics and the biographical details of his life are so well known that I wonder why Isaacson felt there was a need for another biography.
If you are being introduced to Einstein as a person or thinker and want to read a first-rate biography of him, I strongly recommend this book by Isaacson. But if you already familiar with Einstein’s life and work from other biographies I do not see much advantage in reading this one.
In short, like all of Isaacson’s biographies, keen psychological insight together with lively prose make this a fun read. But, on a subject as well studied as Albert Einstein, do not expect much original material to leap out of the text.