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)
While the neither uncommon nor pervasive Freudian psychoanalysis and apologetics the author engages in sink the book, they do frequently distract from what otherwise might have been a great story. Seifer does an excellent job explaining his sources and giving an exhaustive account of Tesla's life. His lack of understanding on basic electrical engineering principles shows through, but this can be forgiven and I doubt that any Ph.D. in electrical engineering would have done nearly so well on Tesla's biography. Also, the talk on Mars seems to distract from the inventor. I wonder if Seifer was aiming to write a book on Tesla the electrical genius, Tesla the social oddity, Tesla the Freudian wonder, or Tesla the steampunk mad scientist. All of these are in the book, but Seifer does not transition well between them and does not appear to be trying to pick one to place in primacy.
I found the history of the patent fights between Tesla and his contemporaries to be fascinating. I think a book treating the topic would be worthwhile given the big patent fights today. Although, I doubt Seifer in the right author to undertake such a work. His discussion of the patent fights focus (rightly so) on the reporting of them and their impact on Tesla's life.
The narrator was good, but often mispronounced words within the field of electrical engineering or in science more broadly. It slowed down the book, which was already at a quite leisurely pace.
This is literally the most inspirational and educational biography I have ever read. It is extremely thorough and expensive covering everything from personality to the actual science of his inventions. Nothing is missing.
I found myself curious about the man Nicola Tesla. You can many literary references to the myth of Tesla in modern day science fiction. This was an excellent biography on the life of the man. This history furthers my interest in his work and I can see how fiction writers would use the mysterious man as the inventor of countless fictional inventions. A man before his time has been used as a description of many inventors, but I believe this saying applies most to Nicola Tesla.
Well performed and enjoyable to listen to.
I found the technical content to be poorly explained and inadequately researched. The author's apparent confusion over the basic terminology of electrical engineering lead me to skepticism over the correctness of the historical research.
Also the endless search for banal analogies about springs and plumbing lead to more confusion, and not better insight, as the author no doubt hoped.
And the desperate need for silly phrases to substitute for "Tesla", such as "the Slavic Prestidigitator" had me laughing aloud by the end.
I know Tesla's life and work better now, but cannot say that I enjoyed this book.
An editor. The book should have been very interesting, but the author's insistence upon ready every letter Tesla wrote to investors and friends adds needlessly to the book
Simon was a fine reader. He was very easy to listen to.
I liked the subject. Tesla was very interesting. After the 10th rejection letter regarding the tower, I couldn't help but wonder why the author chose to focus his time on rehashing events that were already understood.
Great book if you remove about 1/2 to 2/3 of the content.
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