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Einstein: His Life and Universe | [Walter Isaacson]

Einstein: His Life and Universe

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Isaacson is the modern master of the biography, so it was only natural that he turn his pen to Einstein. And more than any biography of the past, Isaacson's account unravels the life behind the brain and provides a full picture of the man who embodied the scientific spirit of the 20th century. Edward Herrmann is stirring and moves effortlessly from humorous anecdotes to scientific theories. —Chris Doheny

Publisher's Summary

How did Einstein's 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 the newly released personal letters of Albert Einstein, Walter Isaacson 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.

It's all relative: listen to more about Albert Einstein.

©2007 Walter Isaacson. All rights reserved; (P)2007 Simon and Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Winner, Biography/Memoir, 2008

"[A] lucid account." (Publishers Weekly)
"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)
"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)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Henrik Herndon, VA, United States 04-20-07
    Henrik Herndon, VA, United States 04-20-07 Member Since 2005

    I'm an audiobook nerd living in Copenhagen, Denmark. At the time of writing, I'm approaching 400 audiobooks.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Surprise: Two books in one!"

    This is truly a great audio book – and a steal at 1 credit. The author not only describes Einstein’s life in fantastic details – he also dedicates a fair amount of pages to the explanation of the theory of relativity. He does this surprisingly well – and in a way that makes you understand what it is all about. To this end, you can regard this title as both an Einstein biography and a “Relativity Theories for Dummies”. The narrator Edward Herrmann (as always) was a really good choice for this book. I enjoyed this book immensely – and can only urge others to download it and learn more about this incredible human being that Albert Einstein really was.

    119 of 120 people found this review helpful
  •  
    charles 05-08-07
    charles 05-08-07 Member Since 2005
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    "This is the kind of book that deserves a Pulitzer"

    In combining the personal and scientific story of Einstein Walter Isaacson has truly created a moving and highly entertaining biography. From his early triumphs as a Swiss patent examiner when he made his earliest breakthroughs to his quixotic quest for a "unified field theory" and his connection to the Jewish people I loved this book. If I were a Pulitzer voter I would give it a Pulitzer for biography. Edward Herrmann narrates with great care and I was able to follow the complex scientific parts with ease. If you download this book you will not be disappointed.

    36 of 36 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Fernandina Beach, FL, USA 04-16-08
    Michael Fernandina Beach, FL, USA 04-16-08
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    "Amazing Story and Well Read"

    Although extremely long, at over 21 hours, this audio book is well written and well read. With all of the time I invested in listening, when the end came I felt as if I was saying goodbye to an old friend. Very much worth the time and effort to listen.

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LB in Dallas Dallas, Tx United States 10-24-07
    LB in Dallas Dallas, Tx United States 10-24-07 Member Since 2002

    marlin515

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    "Worth the Effort Required to Read it."

    I feel like I just finished a minimester crash course in Physics. Not an easy read but worth the effort for the history alone. I learned a great deal about the 1st half of the 20th century, World War 1 & 2, European Universities, political climates, Nobel politics and more. It took me a while to get through it all and I may listen to some setions again to be sure I got it all. Really interesting in the personal aspects of Einstein and the level of fame and celebrity he enjoyed while alive.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Sarasota, FL, United States 06-23-07
    Stephen Sarasota, FL, United States 06-23-07 Member Since 2003
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    "More than an equation"

    As a PhD scientist I found that the book was a tremendous blend of not only the facts of his life but also a glimpse of how different the scientific world was in the early 1900's, how the public perceived science and the breadth of Einstein's life, accomplisments and goals.

    First this book gives a perspective about the man who may be the greatest scientific contributor. Brlliant in science and so human away from his theories. His intellect did not spare him from issues with women and family. He generated great loyalty from some and created life long enemies with others. His passion for sociological issues was as deep as his passion for science.

    For the non physicists, this book provides the best explanation of his theories I've ever read. It very succinctly provides the principles and their applications accurately without watering it down to be meaningless.

    The book tells of the comraderie amongst the most famous scientists of the day. I marvel that the interaction between Einstein and such notables as Marie Curie, Max Planck, Schroedinger (to name drop a few) communicated in such a meaningful way in a time when electricity was new! Imagine Einstein and Marie Curie's family going on vacations together!

    The other fascinating thing is the interest the general public had in science at that time. Imagine that the theory of relativity was front page news in the NY Times - or that people would gather in auditoriums not for a rock concert, but to hear the results of a research project that would confirm the relativity theory!

    19 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Tacoma, WA, USA 10-16-08
    Daniel Tacoma, WA, USA 10-16-08 Member Since 2008
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    "20 hours was not enough...."

    Absolutely great. There were so many details that history did not seem to detail well enough, but look no further than here. You don't need to know physics to enjoy this book, but you can learn. What an incredible journey of one of the greatest minds in history.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan G Kitchener, ON, Canada 05-10-07
    Dan G Kitchener, ON, Canada 05-10-07
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    "An intense indepth look into the mind of a genius!"

    This book on the life of Einstein was without a doubt the most indepth, personal, whitty, piece of work I've ever heard! It shocked me on many respects how he lived his life, both good and bad. This book is one I'll definiately be listening to again. I found that this book was perfect to keep my mind stimulated while doing my boring job. Many times I found myself laughing out-loud and having people give me funny looks. Einstein was more comical than I could have eer imagined! I only wish more scientists shared his mentality in this day and age and didn't believe all this evolution mumbo jumbo.

    30 of 36 people found this review helpful
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    Peter asheville, NC, USA 04-15-08
    Peter asheville, NC, USA 04-15-08
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    "Warmed Up to It"

    It took me quite a while to be engaged by this book. I almost quit it a number of times but kept plodding thru it until it finally captured my interest. The problem is the first 1/3 of the book is primarily the text of letters written to and by Einstein. I did not find there to be much insight into Einstein's life or any deduction by the author as to why or why not Einstein made certain choices in his science or personal life. However, once the book reaches the "miracle year" and more science is involved I found the book much more interesting. I also enjoyed the last part of the book immensely when Einstein's science is not as prevelant but his celebrity and social ideals become a major part of his character.

    16 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 08-20-10
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 08-20-10 Member Since 2009

    Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.

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    "Nicely done in all respects"

    If you are looking for a great treatment on the life and character of Albert Einstein look no further. I'm not so convinced, however, that one gleans much on the nature of Relativity from the book. The book considers a personal and professional chronology of his life in way that is interesting and stimulating. The narration is quite outstanding. Making a book like this an easy listen I do not think is an easy thing. The only book I might equate with this ease of listen and profundity of such a subject would be Parallel Worlds by Michio Kaku narrated by Marc Vietor.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol anderson, SC, USA 03-05-08
    Carol anderson, SC, USA 03-05-08 Member Since 2007
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    "finally i understand relativity"

    Very long, but worth it. Fascinating to learn about the life behind the famous theory. The author does a great job of explaining the science to those of us who are challenged in that subject. Obviously well researched and well organized.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
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