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. Among Tesla's creations were the channeling of alternating current, fluorescent and neon lighting, wireless telegraphy, and the giant turbines that harnessed the power of Niagara Falls.
©1996 Marc J. Seifer (P)2011 Tantor
"Seifer's vivid, revelatory, exhaustively researched biography rescues pioneer inventor Nikola Tesla from cult status and restores him to his rightful place as a principal architect of the modern age." (Publishers Weekly)
although lengthy, I enjoyed getting extended glimpses of n Tesla life . detailed personality analysis
Too bad science isn't revered as much as it was in his time. Movie, Sport and Rock are the stars of today. Can you name one scientist a kid can grow up to admire? But such advances we'll have in the arts. Oh well, hopefully there will be another Tesla or Einstein in spite of ourselves.
I think it was well spent. Interesting to learn about the politics/economics from back at the turn of the last century (1900). Unfortunately not a lot has changed since many of the progressive reforms of Roosevelt have been rolled back here in the 21 century.
A bit dull.
Tesla a very interesting individual who probably due to his own short comings has not received anywhere near the credit he deserves for his inventions which monumentally changed the world of the time. We can't even imagine living without these machines that simply did not exist prior to Nicola Tesla.
Like most of us, I had heard the controversy about Tesla: Genius or Freak? This work did little to document the genius part. While Nick was clearly a bright fellow, what is described is a troubled hypomanic dandy who is so beset by feelings of social inferiority that he surrounds himself with people of name-dropping fame, while espousing fantastic nonsense to his bedazzled audience.
He did indeed do some nice work of the early AC motor, as did others, many of his ideas were more Jules Verne than Thomas Edison. Some ideas like 'making nitrogen fertilizer from the air" were already done & in production elsewhere. Others were subtle spin-offs, like the light tubes, of the work of several others. The author is too quick to brand Tesla's failures on the greed & conspiracies of others rather than recognizing the impracticality or impossibility of his ideas.
We could have learned more with an exploration of his antisemitism, his "celibacy' (homosexuality?), and areas of terrible judgement, like not buying fire insurance.
This was an unbalanced story told
You have no idea how intertwined is the work of Tesla to our technology and culture; from our dependency to electricity to Frankenstein movies. Get to know Tesla.
Tesla is a fascinating character in the history of technology. But this book does not do him, or us, justice. To begin with, the book spends fairly little time on Tesla's genuine contributions to the development of induction motors and AC power generation and transmission. But it spends a great deal of time on later, and much more controversial, claims of contributions to radio, wireless power transmissions, death rays and (in my opinion) silly philosophical musings by Tesla. I feel that, in a futile attempt to bolster the popular view of Tesla as the inventor of almost everything, the author has belittled the deserved reputation of an important, but limited, contributor to the science and technology of electricity. Pointless meanderings into the science of handwriting and questionable psychological theories further undermine the author's case. Instead of the intended result of defending Tesla against those who claim he was a kook without any non-derivative contributions, the author's implausible defenses of Teala's latter life behavior merely gives the detractors more ammunition.
I found the narrator difficult to get used to. His natural voice sounds almost like a parody of an effete snob. But I adjusted and actually enjoyed some of the voices he put on for characters in the book.
But I cannot recommend this book. If there isn't a better Tesla biography out there, then someone needs to write one.
A different narrator and a more interesting story.
Probably not. Too much repetition of the same facts. 2 or 3 times mentioning Tesla surrounded by lightening would have been enough.
He kept saying "Tesler" instead of Tesla" I'm sure Mr. Prebble would do a great job on books where the pronunciation of a name wasn't so important but honestly, that's 80% of the reason I stopped listening half way through.
I'd totally rewrite it making it more personal and less a recitation of fact.
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This book on the life of Nicolai Tesla gives a very detailed look at his life, almost too detailed in fact. There are a lot of detailed scientific explanations that get long and difficult to get through. I'm a computer engineer by trade, so it may have been more interesting to me than other people might find it. We learned about every phase of his life, which could be interesting but really isn't. I finished the book, and felt like I learned something, but wouldn't really read it again.
Tesla was brilliant but underappreciated and undercompensated for his inventions. However he was also too grandiose in many of his endeavors and it is clear that he had only a limited appreciation of physics. His claims that he could topple buildings with a clock size mechanical oscillator does not take into account the energy requirements. The book presents accounts of people and events of the time but spends far too much space on inconsequential things and becomes boring.
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