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Extended Audio Sample Einstein: His Life and Universe, by Walter Isaacson Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (24,477 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Walter Isaacson Narrator: Edward Herrmann Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Einstein: His Life and Universe was written by Walter Isaacson, author of biographies of Benjamin Franklin, Henry Kissinger, and Steve Jobs.

Isaacson unpacks the life of the mind of this creative and monumental genius, Einstein--the man who embodied the 20th century scientific spirit. Both anecdote and theory are covered with fluidity as are the questions of what made Einstein the brilliant mind with which we are so familiar? How did his mental processes operate? Isaacson reveals how his rebellious nature, his creativity unbridled, fed his scientific imagination and hunger to reinvent stale concepts.

With correspondence just released, we also rediscover a father, a husband and a patent clerk who struggled in his personal relationships and could not find employment teaching. Yet we find this is the same man, the locksmith, seemingly holding the keys to the mysteries of the quantum universe. His free spirit and his marvel drove him to question conventional wisdom. A gadfly on the back of others less flexible and forward thinking, Einstein bothered and bored his peers, yet these values or, some would say, personality characteristics, are the same which make Einstein so relevant, and inspiring, for our century. Indeed, Isaacson makes clear that in an era where our lives are far more integrated than ever before, we need a dose of Einstein's spirit, wisdom, and love of creative freedom.

Walter Isaacson is a writer and biographer born in 1952 in New Orleans, Louisiana. First a journalist, later a political correspondent, managing editor of Time and eventual a chairman and CEO of CNN, he is currently president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies organization. He is chairman emeritus for Teach for America, and was selected as Time's 100 most influential people of the world for 2012.

How did his mind work? What made him a genius? Isaacson’s biography shows how his scientific imagination sprang from the rebellious nature of his personality. His fascinating story is a testament to the connection between creativity and freedom.

Based on newly released personal letters of Einstein, this book explores how an imaginative, impertinent patent clerk—a struggling father in a difficult marriage who couldn’t get a teaching job or a doctorate—became the mind reader of the creator of the cosmos, the locksmith of the mysteries of the atom and the universe. His success came from questioning conventional wisdom and marveling at mysteries that struck others as mundane. This led him to embrace a morality and politics based on respect for free minds, free spirits, and free individuals.

These traits are just as vital for this new century of globalization, in which our success will depend on our creativity, as they were for the beginning of the last century, when Einstein helped usher in the modern age.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of No Ordinary Time

  • “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

  • “An illuminating delight…This is a warm, insightful, affectionate portrait with a human and immensely charming Einstein at its core…A wonderfully rounded portrait of the ever-surprising Einstein personality.”

    New York Times

  • “A triumph…Isaacson understands Einstein and explains his discoveries while sharing riveting personal detail.”

    People

  • “Isaacson…has triumphed over expectation, producing a thorough exploration of his subject’s life, a skillful piece of scientific literature and a thumping good read.”

    Observer (London)

  • “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.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred audio review)

  • “Penetrating and magnificently nuanced.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “A comprehensive and marvelously readable life of the eminent scientist—and more, the eminent counterculturalist, rebel, humanist and philanderer…An exemplary biography, at once sympathetic and unsparing. Readers will admire Einstein’s greatness as a thinker, but they will now know that he, like all other idols, had feet of clay.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Kim | 2/18/2014

    " I loved listening to the audio read, narrated by Edward Herrmann of Walter Isaacson's biography on Einstein: His Life and Universe. Einstein lived during some of the most complex decades of humankind. I greatly appreciate how in his brilliancy, he remained humble, humorous, passionate, concerned for social justice, sane, independent in his thinking, work and vision despite the upheavals throughout his life, including WWI and WWII. Although I have very little interest in theoretical physics, I do understand and relate to a type of his passionate spirit to seek what holds the universe together and to not conform (blindly or mindlessly) to those in power, status, wealth and/or authority. I would not be surprised if a generation or mass group of followers rise up in the 'spirit of Einstein' to promote their new era cause for world peace using some of his quotes on why all nations need one collective world government to oversee controlling nuclear arms. Time will tell. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Bill Johnson | 2/10/2014

    " Good biography--took a little work staying with it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Dixie | 2/5/2014

    " Its both an well researched and insightful look into his life, but gives an easily graspable (is that a word?) explanation of his theories. A must read for anyone who wishes science was more entertaining and likes intellectual stimulation!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Pedro | 1/29/2014

    " Interesting and quirky person. At times I felt I was reading about myself. Truly a fascinating person. "

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