The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf is a biography of Alexander von Humboldt, a Prussian naturalist born in 1769. Humboldt had an older brother, Wilhelm. Their father died when they were young, and their mother was emotionally detached from her sons. Alexander and Wilhelm received exacting educations. Alexander became interested in exploration and science, but his mother pressured him to become a civil servant, so he attended a mining academy to become a mine inspector while conducting his own botanical research.
In 1900, aged 22, Charles Stewart Rolls was the best known motorist in Britain, better known than Jeremy Clarkson today, having won the "Thousand Mile Trial" of that year, the event that launched motoring as a practical popular concept. Rolls followed his success in the Trial by racing in highly dangerous inter-city races in Europe.
Few organizations solve as many impossible problems as NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and nobody knows more about leading rocket scientists to unlikely breakthroughs than Adam Steltzner. As the phase lead and development manager for EDL (entry, descent, and landing) of the Curiosity rover to Mars, Steltzner spearheaded the creation of one of engineering's wackiest kluges - the sky crane, which allowed the heaviest rover in the history of space exploration to land on Mars unscathed.
"All that craziness expected"
What's it like to travel at more than 850 MPH, riding in a supersonic T-38 twin turbojet engine airplane? What happens when the space station toilet breaks? How do astronauts "take out the trash" on a spacewalk, tightly encapsulated in a space suit with just a few layers of fabric and Kevlar between them and the unforgiving vacuum of outer space?
When it comes to scientists that have made their mark in the world, none are perhaps more famous than Albert Einstein. Students around the world are taught about his theories and equations, with E=mc2 undoubtedly being the most famous. However, there was more to this man than simply being a genius or the original prototype of the mad professor. Instead, this was a man that was dedicated to not only his profession, but also the concept of pacifism, something that most people are unaware of.
According to Winston Churchill, Alan Turing made the single biggest contribution to the Allied victory over Nazi Germany with his code-breaking machine. The world is also indebted to Turing's genius for the modern computer. It was clear that Turing had a remarkable mind from an early age. He taught himself to read in just three weeks. At his first school, the headmistress said, "I have had clever and hardworking boys, but Alan has genius."
Volcanoes have fascinated - and terrified - people for ages. They have destroyed cities and ended civilizations. In this book, John Dvorak, the acclaimed author of Earthquake Storms, looks into the early years of volcanology and its "father", Thomas Jaggar. Jaggar was the youngest of five scientists to investigate the explosion of Mount Pelee in Martinique, which leveled the entire city of St. Pierre and killed its entire population in two minutes.
For those who are just starting to do great in life, they can find real lessons from the life of Steve Jobs who didn't have an affluent life or a memorable childhood, money, or an extravagant college experience. He began as a simple man who only wanted to accomplish something out of his dreams. He didn't have enough in life, only the ability to live and make use of the available resources around him.
Chances are, you are familiar with the name Walter Reed only because you have heard of the major army medical center named after him. Maybe you have heard of his name in general references related to yellow fever. Either way, there is so much more to this humble, hard-working man than most know. He wore many hats; husband, father, military officer, scientist, and doctor are just a few. His scientific achievements are benefiting humanity today.
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Will Smith, Concussion is the riveting, unlikely story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the pathologist who made one of the most significant medical discoveries of the 21st century, a discovery that challenges the existence of America's favorite sport and puts Omalu in the crosshairs of football's most powerful corporation: the NFL.
"If you know, come forth and speak."
Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist: more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast; there's a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon. His colourful adventures read like something out of a Boy's Own story.
In the mid-1950s, Kurt Vonnegut takes a job in the PR department at General Electric in Schenectady, where his older brother, Bernard, is a leading scientist in its research lab - or "House of Magic". Kurt has ambitions as a novelist, and Bernard is working on a series of cutting-edge weather-control experiments meant to make deserts bloom and farmers flourish.
"Engaging yet disquieting"
In the spirit of Steve Jobs and Moneyball, Elon Musk is both an illuminating and authorized look at the extraordinary life of one of Silicon Valley's most exciting, unpredictable, and ambitious entrepreneurs - a real-life Tony Stark - and a fascinating exploration of the renewal of American invention and its new makers.
"Interesting and Informative"
Based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.
Why we think it’s a great listen: You thought he was a stodgy scientist with funny hair, but Isaacson and Hermann reveal an eloquent, intense, and selfless human being who not only shaped science with his theories, but politics and world events in the 20th century as well. Based on the newly released personal letters of Albert Einstein, Walter Isaacson explores how an imaginative, impertinent patent clerk became the mind reader of the creator of the cosmos.
"Surprise: Two books in one!"
With his characteristic eyebrow-raising behavior, Richard P. Feynman once provoked the wife of a Princeton dean to remark, "Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman!" But the many scientific and personal achievements of this Nobel Prize-winning physicist are no laughing matter. Here, woven with his scintillating views on modern science, Feynman relates the defining moments of his accomplished life.
"Well Worth the Read"
Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), credited as the inspiration for radio, robots, and even radar, has been called the patron saint of modern electricity. Based on original material and previously unavailable documents, this acclaimed book is the definitive biography of the man considered by many to be the founding father of modern electrical technology.
"Tesla was a hundred years ahead of his time"
Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, whether climbing the highest volcanoes in the world or racing through anthrax-infested Siberia. He came up with a radical vision of nature, that it was a complex and interconnected global force and did not exist for man's use alone. Ironically, his ideas have become so accepted and widespread that he has been nearly forgotten.
"highly inspiring and beautifully written"
There have been many books - on a large and small scale - about Steve Jobs, one of the most famous CEOs in history. But this book is different from all the others. Becoming Steve Jobs takes on and breaks down the existing myth and stereotypes about Steve Jobs. The conventional, one-dimensional view of Jobs is that he was half genius, half jerk from youth, an irascible and selfish leader who slighted friends and family alike.
"Contextual, Insightful, Inspiring"
Reporter Sam Kean reveals the periodic table as it’s never been seen before. Not only is it one of man's crowning scientific achievements, it's also a treasure trove of stories of passion, adventure, betrayal, and obsession. The infectious tales and astounding details in The Disappearing Spoon follow carbon, neon, silicon, and gold as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, war, the arts, poison, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.
"Excellent, if unfocused"
Masters of Doom is the amazing true story of the Lennon and McCartney of video games: John Carmack and John Romero. Together, they ruled big business. They transformed popular culture. And they provoked a national controversy. More than anything, they lived a unique and rollicking American Dream, escaping the broken homes of their youth to produce the most notoriously successful game franchises in history - Doom and Quake - until the games they made tore them apart. This is a story of friendship and betrayal, commerce and artistry.
"How it was"
Losing the Signal is a riveting story of a company that toppled global giants before succumbing to the ruthlessly competitive forces of Silicon Valley. This is not a conventional tale of modern business failure by fraud and greed. The rise and fall of BlackBerry reveals the dangerous speed at which innovators race along the information superhighway.
"The problem of staying ahead of the curve"
Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband and their toddler holding down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation-performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, and counseling grieving relatives. Working Stiff chronicles Judy's two years of training, taking listeners behind the police tape of some of the most harrowing deaths in the Big Apple.
"Great story - but not for the faint of heart!"
Gene Kranz was present at the creation of America's manned space program and was a key player in it for three decades. As a flight director in NASA's Mission Control, Kranz witnessed firsthand the making of history. He participated in the space program from the early days of the Mercury program to the last Apollo mission, and beyond. He endured the disastrous first years when rockets blew up and the United States seemed to fall further behind the Soviet Union in the space race.
"Couldn't wait to listen a second time"
Based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs conducted over two years - as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues - Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.
"Don't bother with the abridged version"
In 1987, Dr. Benjamin Carson gained worldwide recognition for his part in the first successful separation of Siamese twins joined at the back of the head. The extremely complex and delicate operation, five months in the planning and twenty-two hours in the execution, involved a surgical plan that Carson helped initiate. Carson pioneered again in a rare procedure known as hemispherectomy, giving children without hope a second chance at life through a daring operation in which he literally removed one half of their brain.
In Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography, Walter Isaacson provides an extraordinary account of Jobs' professional and personal life. Drawn from three years of exclusive and unprecedented interviews Isaacson has conducted with Jobs as well as extensive interviews with Jobs' family members and key colleagues from Apple and its competitors, this is the definitive portrait of the greatest innovator of his generation.
"More man, less tech, might have made a better book"
Twitter seems like a perfect start-up success story. In barely six years, a small group of young, ambitious programmers in Silicon Valley built an $11.5 billion business out of the ashes of a failed podcasting company. Today Twitter boasts more than 200 million active users and has affected business, politics, media, and other fields in innumerable ways.
"A Shakespearean Drama"
The best-selling author of Inside Steve's Brain profiles Apple's legendary chief designer, Jonathan Ive. Jony Ive's designs have not only made Apple one of the most valuable companies in the world; they've overturned entire industries, from music and mobile phones to PCs and tablets.
"A history of apple though the lens of design"
J. Robert Oppenheimer was one of the iconic figures of the 20th century, a brilliant physicist who led the effort to build the atomic bomb but later confronted the moral consequences of scientific progress. When he proposed international controls over atomic materials, opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb, and criticized plans for a nuclear war, his ideas were anathema to powerful advocates of a massive nuclear buildup during the anti-Communist hysteria of the early 1950s.
"One of the best books I have read"
Nikola Tesla was a major contributor to the electrical revolution that transformed daily life at the turn of the 20th century. His inventions, patents, and theoretical work formed the basis of modern AC electricity, and contributed to the development of radio and television. Like his competitor Thomas Edison, Tesla was one of America's first celebrity scientists, enjoying the company of New York high society and dazzling the likes of Mark Twain with his electrical demonstrations. An astute self-promoter and gifted showman, he cultivated a public image of the eccentric genius.
"A detailed examination of Tesla's work"
In little more than half a decade, Facebook has gone from a dorm-room novelty to a company with 500 million users. It is one of the fastest growing companies in history, an essential part of the social life not only of teenagers but hundreds of millions of adults worldwide. As Facebook spreads around the globe, it creates surprising effects, even becoming instrumental in political protests from Colombia to Iran.
"Great history, poor analysis. TERRIBLE recording."
Three years ago, 32-year-old Markus "Notch" Persson of Stockholm was an unknown and bored computer programmer. Today, he is a multi-millionaire international icon. Minecraft, the "virtual Lego" game Markus crafted in his free time, has become one of the most talked about activities since Tetris. Talked about by tens of millions of people, in fact.It is the story of unlikely success, fast money, and the power of digital technology to rattle an empire. And it is about creation, exclusion, and the feeling of not fitting in.
"A decent depiction of a fascinating story"
"I am hopelessly and forever a mountaineer," John Muir wrote. "Civilization and fever and all the morbidness that has been hooted at me has not dimmed my glacial eye, and I care to live only to entice people to look at Nature's loveliness. My own special self is nothing". In Donald Worster's magisterial biography, John Muir's "special self" is fully explored as is his extraordinary ability, then and now, to get others to see the sacred beauty of the natural world.
"A good biography for historical perspective"
In My Life as a Quant, Emanuel Derman relives his exciting journey as one of the first high-energy particle physicists to migrate to Wall Street. Derman details his adventures in this fieldanalyzing the incompatible personas of traders and quants, and discussing the dissimilar nature of knowledge in physics and finance. Throughout this tale, he also reflects on the appropriate way to apply the refined methods of physics to the hurly-burly world of markets.
"Thoroughly Enjoyed It"
I hate every wave of the ocean', the seasick Charles Darwin wrote to his family during his five-year voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle. It was this world-wide journey, however, that launched the scientists career.
By identifying the structure of DNA, the molecule of life, Francis Crick and James Watson revolutionized biochemistry and won themselves a Nobel Prize. At the time, Watson was only 24, a young scientist hungry to make his mark. His uncompromisingly honest account of the heady days of their thrilling sprint against other world-class researchers to solve one of science's greatest mysteries gives a dazzlingly clear picture of a world of brilliant scientists with great gifts, very human ambitions, and bitter rivalries.
Long before Oliver Sacks became a distinguished neurologist and best-selling writer, he was a small English boy fascinated by metals - also by chemical reactions (the louder and smellier the better), photography, squids and cuttlefish, H.G. Wells, and the periodic table. In this endlessly charming and eloquent memoir, the he chronicles his love affair with science and the magnificently odd and sometimes harrowing childhood in which that love affair unfolded.
An unabashed original, John Horton Conway is Archimedes, Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali, and Richard Feynman all rolled into one - a singular mathematician with a rock star's charisma, a sly sense of humor, a polymath's promiscuous curiosity, and a burning desire to explain everything about the world to everyone in it. Born in Liverpool in 1937, Conway found fame as a barefoot Cambridge professor.
"A Brilliant Iconoclast"
Martin Gardner wrote the Mathematical Games column for Scientific American for twenty-five years and published more than seventy books on topics as diverse as magic, philosophy, religion, pseudoscience, and Alice in Wonderland.
Paul Dirac was among the great scientific geniuses of the modern age. One of the discoverers of quantum mechanics, the most revolutionary theory of the past century, his contributions had a unique insight, eloquence, clarity, and mathematical power. His prediction of antimatter was one of the greatest triumphs in the history of physics.
"Excellent, well written and narrated biography"
Part odyssey, part pilgrimage, this epic personal narrative follows the author’s exploration of coasts, islands, reefs, and the sea’s abyssal depths. Scientist and fisherman Carl Safina takes readers on a global journey of discovery, probing for truth about the world’s changing seas, deftly weaving adventure, science, and political analysis.
Alan Mathison Turing. Mathematician, philosopher, codebreaker, a founder of computer science, and the father of Artificial Intelligence, Turing was one of the most original thinkers of the last century - and the man whose work helped create the computer-driven world we now inhabit. But he was also an enigmatic figure, deeply reticent yet also strikingly naive. Turing's openness about his homosexuality at a time when it was an imprisonable offense ultimately led to his untimely death at the age of only 41.
"short well told story of Alan Turing"
From the acclaimed author of The Nobel Prize comes this fascinating portrait of four of the greatest minds in the history of science and the impossible turning point they faced. As World War II wound down, and it became increasingly clear that the Allies would emerge victorious, Albert Einstein invited three close friends - all titans of contemporary science and philosophy - to his home at 112 Mercer Street in Princeton, New Jersey, to discuss what they loved best: science and philosophy.
"A launch pad ONLY!"
The dream of capturing and organizing knowledge is as old as history. From the archives of ancient Sumeria and the Library of Alexandria to the Library of Congress and Wikipedia, humanity has wrestled with the problem of harnessing its intellectual output. The timeless quest for wisdom has been as much about information storage and retrieval as creative genius. In Cataloging the World, Alex Wright introduces us to a figure who stands out in the long line of thinkers and idealists who devoted themselves to the task.
"What a fascinating book"
The definitive inside account of the file-sharing revolution that overthrew the music industry, All the Rave reveals the family betrayal, greed, and mismanagement that hijacked one the most fundamental innovations of the Internet era. Named one of the three best books of 2003 by Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc., All the Rave has been out of print until now and unavailable in most formats. Author and veteran technology journalist Joseph Menn also wrote 2010's Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords who are Bringing Down the Internet.
"The Far-reaching Karma of Napster"
Everyone recognises the famous physicist with the wild, white hair. But what sort of person was the young Albert Einstein, before he became universally acclaimed as the archetypal genius? And how did his genius unfold? In this brilliant new Kindle Single, scientist Robyn Arianrhod blends biography with popular science to tell the story of how young Albert developed a theory that - unknown to him at first - contained the seeds of his extraordinary equation E = mc2.
"Not about e=mc2."
In 1988, James Orbinski, then a medical student in his 20s, embarked on a year-long research trip to Rwanda, a trip that would change who he would be as a doctor and as a man. Investigating the conditions of pediatric AIDS in Rwanda, James confronted widespread pain and suffering, much of it preventable, much of it occasioned by political and economic corruption. Fuelled by the injustice of what he had seen in Rwanda, Orbinski helped establish the Canadian chapter of Mdecins Sans Frontires (Doctors Without Borders/MSF).
"Deeply disturbing but essential reading"
Elisabeth Tova Bailey tells the intimate and inspiring story of her year-long encounter with a snail. While an illness keeps her bedridden, she becomes an astute and amused observer of the snail's surprising nocturnal adventures as it lives in a flowerpot on her nightstand. Intrigued by the snail’s clear decision making abilities, hydraulic locomotion, mysterious courtship, and molluscan anatomy, Bailey takes the listener deep into the life of this tiny amazing animal. With wit and grace, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating recounts a remarkable journey of human and gastropod survival and resilience, and shows how the natural world illuminates our own human existence. Winner of the William Saroyan International Prize for Nonfiction, the John Burrough Medal Award for Natural History, and a National Outdoor Book Award. If you enjoyed Wesley the Owl, The Guest Cat, and Marley & Me, you'll enjoy this unique interspecies audiobook listen.
"3.5 Stars—But Quite Enjoyable"
In 1695, Isaac Newton already renowned as the greatest mind of his agemade a surprising career change. He left quiet Cambridge, where he had lived for 30 years and made his earth-shattering discoveries, and moved to London to take up the post of Warden of His Majestys Mint. Newton was preceded to the city by a genius of another kind, the budding criminal William Chaloner.
"Terrific Historical Biography"