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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

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  •  
    Lee Carol Stream, IL, United States 08-27-12
    Lee Carol Stream, IL, United States 08-27-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Walter Isaacson walks on water"
    If you could sum up Einstein in three words, what would they be?

    Interesting Incredible story


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Einstein. Because he is Einstein.


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

    Edward Herrmann reads the story as though he was there (which I guess Mr. Isaacson deserves credit for). But Mr. Herrmann certainly reads as though he was there, and wrote the material. So there.


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

    Moved is a strong word. This is a biography about a physicist.


    Any additional comments?

    Listen. You will like it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AnKa United States 08-25-12
    AnKa United States 08-25-12
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    "Very informative, maybe not suited for an audioboo"

    You learn a whole lot in this book: about Einstein's life, his personality, the historical context in which he lived, the scientific community of the time, and very importantly about Einstein's scientific findings. Those are explained in depth, and the author often tries to use very simple comparisons and explanations to make the reader understand. But since relativity, when Einstein came up with it, was a mystery even to many scientists, a non-scientist reader will likely be left wondering during many parts of this book.

    The science in the book may be easier to understand if one can read slowly at times, go back and reread, stop and contemplate. But that's just not what you usually do with an audiobook. It's a great book to listen to if you're prepared to be a little confused in exchange for learning a whole lot of stuff.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Sterling TX USA 08-24-12
    T. Sterling TX USA 08-24-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Outstanding"

    I found myself looking for more. Every interesting. A little slow in parts but over all great job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J 08-22-12
    J 08-22-12
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    "Enjoyable Biography"

    I generally listen to audiobooks when I run, so I listen in small chunks (30-40 mins or so) and I may skip a day or two. With some audiobooks, particularly long biographies, I lose track of where I am in the narrative if I take a couple of days off and have to backtrack a few minutes to remember the context (or just as often, I get bored and move on to a new book).

    I'm about halfway through this book and I haven't backtracked once. The writing is so engaging and each person is so clearly defined I feel like I've gotten to know Einstein and the people in his life. I even listen when I'm working around the house or yard, not something I typically do. Even when Isaacson is discussing Einstein's theories the pace of the narration keeps me engaged and isn't technical enough to lose me. Edward Herrmann might be the best narrator I've ever heard. His German pronunciation is lovely, his pacing is perfect and his voice is soothing. I'm very glad I purchased this.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mexdoc Mexico 08-18-12
    Mexdoc Mexico 08-18-12
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    "Can a long listen remain interesting?"
    What made the experience of listening to Einstein the most enjoyable?

    The insights into Einstein's life.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The great physicisist himself. I think the author does a terrific job at providing an image of Einstein that is very human, with nice and not so nice sides.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    I had trouble with the narrator's performance. After a while he sounded (to me)....detached? Sort of like the narrators in WWII American proaganda.


    Any additional comments?

    Overall, I am happy I listened to this audiobook. Kept me busy in my walks for quite some time. I do recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joel NEWPORT BEACH, CA, United States 08-16-12
    Joel NEWPORT BEACH, CA, United States 08-16-12 Member Since 2011

    Joel Szerlip

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    "I'm No Einstein But Still Enjoyed It"

    Having never taken a physics class a lot of the theory and life's work of Albert Einstein went over my head. In fact a lot of this book did. What I will say though that Walter Isaacson did an incredible job of bringing the whole life personal/professional into a nice clean package.

    There are some real dry spells in this biography, in fact I would go as far as to say that the abridged version might have been a better idea for me. However if you are at all fascinated by the Einstein and want to learn what made him tick this is a great book for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer SANDY, UT, United States 08-14-12
    Amazon Customer SANDY, UT, United States 08-14-12 Member Since 2012
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    "I enjoyed the technical aspects a lot."
    What did you love best about Einstein?

    That they did not shy away from describing basic technical concepts.


    What other book might you compare Einstein to and why?

    NA NA


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

    NA NA


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

    Einsteins life. sdfd


    Any additional comments?

    NA

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Dacula, GA, United States 08-07-12
    Adam Dacula, GA, United States 08-07-12 Member Since 2014
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    "A long but in-depth biography of a great mind"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I enjoyed the many ups and downs of man that has made such an impact on society with little said of his true life from beginning to end. The narrator did an excellent job of keeping the book interesting for most of the book. The somewhat monotone narrative made the book much easier to understand; while still giving emotion to the story.


    What three words best describe Edward Herrmann’s performance?

    Clearly understandablesubtle emotiona calming and easy to listen to voice


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

    With Great power comes great complexity!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward Yavno 08-06-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Perfect mix of history, physics and philosophy"
    Would you listen to Einstein again? Why?

    Not only it's a biography of one of the most notable people of the last century, but it's a very interesting look at the development of physics leading up to the atomic bomb.
    It also covers quite a bit of science history and many notable scientists for that period since Einstein was in a middle of much of it. All this with a backdrop of late 19th/early 20h centuries, word war one, word war two, and the postwar America. Add in some surprising influence of philosophy on Einstein's thinking and even the politics he was involved in and I found to be very interesting and captivating reading.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 07-22-12
    David 07-22-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Very entertaining story about a great man"
    Where does Einstein rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I enjoy the spy type story. So for me to enjoy this speak volumes. It was nice to hear about his struggles and successes...


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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