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Einstein: His Life and Universe Paperback – May 13, 2008
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"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
“This is a biography that happens to be treatise on creativity. I was about to say scientific creativity, but I think I mean creativity itself. It shows us the creative exuberance of a man with an extraordinary visual imagination, able to recast certain problems in surprising ways.” -- Ian McEwan
About the Author
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (May 13, 2008)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 704 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0743264746
- ISBN-13 : 978-0743264747
- Item Weight : 1.95 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.13 x 1.4 x 9.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #5,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Mr. Isaacson's Einstein biography addresses such things as the myth he was poor at math, who were the people who helped him on the road to his scientific discoveries, his two marriages and relationship with his sons and two step-daughters, Einstein's good fortune to be working at the Swiss Patent Office when he developed his theories, his slow ascension into eventually being accepted into academia, his revulsion of German nationalism during the first and second World Wars, his involvement in the development of the atom bomb, his belief in "God," the politics behind him eventually being awarded a Nobel Prize in physics, and Einstein's push back during the United States' Red Scare witch hunt. The biography jumps back-and-forth between personal episodes and his scientific breakthroughs. Thankfully, Mr. Isaacson gives a clear general overview of Einstein's mass-energy equivalency, the photoelectric effect, as well as his Special and General Theory of Relativity. Despite the author doing a good job of not wading into the deep end of the physics pool by not including mathematical equations, this numbskull reader still needed assistance of YouTube videos to better grasp Einstein's theories. It also explains why quantum mechanics unsettled him throughout his life. The author also highlights how serendipity occurred numerous times during Einstein's younger years which helped him to focus on his major breakthroughs. The book also includes 16 pages of black-and-white photos.
This is the second biography I have read by Mr. Isaacson. Both the Steven Jobs and Albert Einstein books overlooked that they were clearly on the high-functioning autism spectrum (also known as Asperger's). Because of my family's dynamics, there were oodles of red flags that appeared to me whenever the author discussed Einstein's and Job's eccentricities. I suggest the reader keep it in mind when reading either of Mr. Isaacson's excellent books.
Isaacson has won my vote: he's one of the best biographers of our time. Book after book, he captures the essence of these figures with respect and critical review. Einstein is a fascinating, flawed, and brilliant man. Isaacson adeptly weaves stories of scientific discovery with the trials and tribulations of marriages run amok. Einstein's temperament was extreme: kindness juxtaposed with coldness. Isaacson compares the two and leaves his focus on display for the reader.
I was exceptionally impressed by Einstein's political leanings and powerful statements. Here are a few that captured my attention:
"Blind respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."
'A new idea comes suddenly and in a rather intuitive way. But intuition is nothing but the outcome of earlier intellectual experience."
"People who live in a society, enjoy looking into each other's eyes, who share their troubles, who focus their efforts on what is important to them and find this joyful -- these people lead a full life."
"Use for yourself little, but give to others much."
Top reviews from other countries
However this does give one a good idea how winning a Nobel prize can typically happen much later after the fact and how a noble prize winner can be immediately projected into fame at that time, especially in this case by the American population. We see this still today where an Nobel winner, an expert in a relatively small field, is asked to pronounce on so many world issues and to patronize so many causes. We still see this today.
Let me add I bought a used, hardcover edition from Betterworldbooks via Amazon. It did arrived later than expected, in excellent condition. As I had already been refunded, they magnanimously agreed to make me a present of it! So I am more than happy to recommend them.
I would love to have met him! I am neither mathematical or scientific but somehow it makes sense now.