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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

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (3762 )
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  •  
    Kathy Emmett, ID, United States 07-04-07
    Kathy Emmett, ID, United States 07-04-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Einstein"

    I am no math wiz…but if Einstein was alive today, he would be helping to right our national moral compass. What he had to say about war, political power, rights of the individual and reasons to be fiercely independent are important messages to think about today. His genius seems to have been driven more by his creativity than by his math skills, which should give us all hope.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kris ANCHORAGE, AK, USA 07-04-07
    Kris ANCHORAGE, AK, USA 07-04-07 Member Since 2001
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    "Not a novel"

    You gotta love Einstein.... I listened out of repspect for a man who has given us so much. Interesting book, better if you read along while listening. Could have summed this one up in a 1/4 of the book. Fell asleep a few times.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Powell, OH 07-03-07
    Kevin Powell, OH 07-03-07 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Science and Spirituality"

    "God doesn't play dice" could be the alternate title of this book. This book has a very professional (i.e. historical) writing style that nicely blends the hard facts of science and the soft reasoning of religion in Einstein's life. Examples of this include full descriptions of the "thought experiments" that were the basis of Einstein's theories and the personal conflicts that he struggled with in politics. There is no thrilling conclusion to this book as most will start the book already knowing it's conclusion. However, if you are interested in connecting the dots in between the beginning and the end than this is the book for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Dayton, OH, USA 06-17-07
    Eric Dayton, OH, USA 06-17-07
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    "Excellent"

    This book did a great job and covering both sides of Einstein.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Duxbury, Massachusetts, United States 08-02-13
    Bill Duxbury, Massachusetts, United States 08-02-13 Member Since 2013
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    "I was told there would be no math"
    Would you try another book from Walter Isaacson and/or Edward Herrmann?

    Yes


    What could Walter Isaacson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Edit from it the endless, boring scientific language


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The part when I deleted it from my iPhone


    Any additional comments?

    What a fascinating man and a story that....zzzzzzz

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sleonrd 06-13-07
    sleonrd 06-13-07 Member Since 2003

    I am a READER! I always have an audio book going, an e book going and a hard copy going. I read all genres but love my thrillers !

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    "Too long"

    This was interesting but too long. I gave up after 12 hours and Einstein was only in his 40's. Maybe it picked up the pace after that but I just didnt care anymore. Go for the abridged unless you are a HUGE Einstein fan.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tanuki San Los Angeles, CA USA 11-12-13
    Tanuki San Los Angeles, CA USA 11-12-13 Member Since 2012

    I work. I ski. I play. I write. I have a family. I garden. I coach. I volunteer. I sketch. I run. I read.

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    "I don't understand quantum physics"
    Would you listen to Einstein again? Why?

    I would rather read it for my second time. There are some chapters that I don't need to review but I missed many of the concepts that were discussed about his work with physics.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Einstein?

    I liked getting a picture of his demeanor and personality.


    What does Edward Herrmann bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His voice is not boring. He kept my attention.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    His personal relationships remind me of Warren Buffet's.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Gibson Bay Area, San Francisco 10-28-13
    Mark Gibson Bay Area, San Francisco 10-28-13 Member Since 2009

    Author, consultant and thought-leader on problems at intersection of sales and marketing

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    "Einstein, Relativity and the Power of Thought."
    If you could sum up Einstein in three words, what would they be?

    Very strong biography and in-depth research of the life of the 20th centuries greatest scientist. The fact that Einstein figured most of his great leaps in his head in thought experiments staggers belief. Never dull and while not as intimate as Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography, still a wonderful and worthwhile read and history of theoretical physics in the first half of the 20th century.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Einsteins early struggle for recognition and the pre-war years when the Nazi party came to power provide a gripping account of the dangers for Jews in Germany and Europe as a whole during the war


    What about Edward Herrmann’s performance did you like?

    Very well read, thoroughly engaging and never boring.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Einstein, Relativity and the Power of Thought


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gareth Columbus, OH, United States 07-22-13
    Gareth Columbus, OH, United States 07-22-13 Member Since 2013

    I love all nonfiction but in particular history & science. When I tire of facts I'll run to fiction

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    "Fascinating and comprehensive"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Einstein to be better than the print version?

    Never read the printed version but would prefer the audio to get through the density of the material


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Einstein of course. Because he was a brilliant scientist but not a perfect person. He made mistakes but imagined the world in a way few did.


    What does Edward Herrmann bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He takes his time when it gets to the dense physics bits. He makes the physics in the book sound as if it were the story of little red riding hood. Simple, clear and concise.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Alongside a light beam.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LA Stillwater, OK United States 07-21-13
    LA Stillwater, OK United States 07-21-13 Member Since 2012

    LA

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    "Fascinating Look at the Man, His Mind and Life"
    What did you love best about Einstein?

    This book is so interesting. It is hard to put down and beckons for encore listening presentation.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Einstein, of course!


    Which character – as performed by Edward Herrmann – was your favorite?

    Again, Einstein, of course!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but I couldn't. It's pretty lengthy.


    Any additional comments?

    This instantly became one of my all time favorite books!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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