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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: April 2007 ISBN: 9780743561396
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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.

The definitive, internationally bestselling biography of Albert Einstein. Now the basis of Genius, the ten-part National Geographic series on the life of Albert Einstein, starring the Oscar, Emmy, and Tony Award–winning actor Geoffrey Rush as Einstein.

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

Einstein, the classic #1 New York Times bestseller, is a brilliantly acclaimed account of the most influential scientist of the twentieth century, “an illuminating delight” (The New York Times). The basis for the National Geographic series Genius, by the author of The Innovators, Steve Jobs, and Benjamin Franklin, this is the definitive biography of Albert Einstein. Download and start listening now!

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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

  • 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."
    -- Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals
  • “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 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 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 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 Pedro | 1/29/2014

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

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt | 1/28/2014

    " Very comprehensive. A good scientific lexicon will be helpful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 DJ | 1/13/2014

    " Such a brilliant and sensitive man, Einstein seemed to connect clumsily with the other people in his life. It's amazing that the theories he developed were the results of "thought experiments" - that he could consider such possibilities from a relatively (no pun intended) early age is astonishing. The book has enough abstract science to make it a challenging read; it's well worth the effort, though! Well researched and compelling! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff Anderson | 1/13/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book. I felt like the author helped me enter Einstein's world a little bit and see him as a human being instead of an icon. The descriptions of discoveries and science seemed to be accurate while remaining accessible. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lee Anne | 1/13/2014

    " I hung in there through the science, but really just wanted to get to know Einstein as a person. Definitely a rare & wondrous little bird. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beverly Jones | 1/10/2014

    " Loved it... and misunderstood it. Most of it is very human and runs with curiosity... LOVED IT "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maxine | 1/5/2014

    " Einstein ,,,,,What a jerk he was! I actually never finished this book because it lost my interest. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bridget | 11/2/2013

    " Very well written. So engaging I was able to read it like a novel as opposed to the non-fiction biography that it was. Loved this. Definitely will read more of Isaacson's books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill Bradley | 10/20/2013

    " great insight to the real Einstein! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan Mattingly | 10/11/2013

    " This book will give you a good insight into Mr. Einstein. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristin Dahl | 2/22/2013

    " This book is excellent. I love it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wendy | 12/20/2012

    " I loved this book. Even when the theoretical was a little to above my head I still learned so much more about his theories. I didn't realize he was so charming and witty. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jestin Vanscoyoc | 12/2/2012

    " Enough science to tweak my nerd side and an interesting life story to be a good story overall. Einstein and all the 'characters' in his life were fascinating. I highly recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rebekah Helton | 9/13/2012

    " An interesting man, full if intrigue and human. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark Muckerman | 4/22/2012

    " Excellent bio. I learned as much about physics and relativity from this book as I did in school. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hitesh Chauhan | 4/12/2012

    " amazing account of Einstein's life by Mr. Isaacson!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Peter Lyte | 4/4/2012

    " I couldn't wait to read this after I discovered and was amazed by Issacson's biography of Benjamin Franklin. Have never finished it. Simply lost interest. I'm sure that says more about me than the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracey | 4/4/2012

    " Adult nonfiction/Biography. pretty interesting, just really f*ing long. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 McKenzie Dickens | 1/2/2012

    " I'd give this 7 stars if I could. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erika Lee | 9/24/2011

    " After reading this book, I've come to the conclusion that Einstein's mind was more interesting than his life, which made this at times a dull read, at times. I much preferred the social and political parts of the book, but even those didn't interest me as much as the Steve Jobs biography. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tem | 7/14/2011

    " Really enjoyed this book. It is a great overview not only of theoretical physics in the early 20th century but also a great insight into a clear independent thinker "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Drue | 5/17/2011

    " very good book- breaks up his life into decades and smaller time scales- delves into personal life and professional life- explains things in easy to understand terms "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joshua | 5/17/2011

    " While this was a very informative and detailed book, there were moments where i felt the author lost his way and fumbled through a few sections. Even with the hiccups, this is well worth the read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Annie | 5/15/2011

    " I listened to this a few months ago to get an introduction to Einstein. I enjoyed the balance between Einstein's family life and his intellectual pursuits. The reader was engaging.
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 J.P. | 5/8/2011

    " This is precisely how a biography should be. Expertly researched and masterfully written, this book is as brilliant as Albert Einstein himself "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sam | 4/28/2011

    " A fascinating look at the life and times of science's greatest celebrity. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Juan | 4/26/2011

    " Shows einstein as the person he probably was.. vey well linked to the world situation at the moment, specifically highlighting nacionalism and anti-semitism "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Miranda | 4/17/2011

    " This book made me appreciated Einstein more than ever. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hashim | 4/3/2011

    " A revealing pretrial of the life of a true genius! This book also shows the human side of Prof. Einstein. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leticia | 3/26/2011

    " I could not stop reading it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nonie | 3/23/2011

    " Read about 1/3. The science was above me. Then I cam across another book by Bill Bryson that explained stuff (like the random principle) in words I could understand; so I quit this biography and took up that book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shelby | 3/21/2011

    " How else can you understand both the character and how physics were changed. "

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About the Author
Author Walter Isaacson
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 JobsEinstein: His Life and UniverseBenjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. He and his wife live in New Orleans. Facebook: Walter Isaacson, Twitter: @WalterIsaacson
About the Narrator

Edward Herrmann (1943–2014) was one of America’s top audiobook narrators. He won multiple Earphones and Audie Awards, and his narration of the King James version of the Bible remains a benchmark in the industry.