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Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius | [Marc J. Seifer]

Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (1223 )
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Story
3.9 (1091 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Chelanna Balok 03-23-13 Member Since 2012
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    4
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    "Hated the Narrator"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I found that I could not listen to the narrator talk. I listen to audiobooks during my commute and this one made me sleepy. I was excited to listen to Tesla's story but I wasn't a huge fan of the writing either. It was dull.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted K 03-22-13
    Ted K 03-22-13
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    "Delivers as promised, plus: a funny narrator"
    What did you love best about Wizard?

    The story itself is surprising, the classic elements of a 19th-century tale of giants astride the earth, with lust and madness to boot. I work in technology but this book had me see a more than one thing in a new light, and has built a deep respect in me for Tesla.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Marc J. Seifer? Why or why not?

    Yes, but I would check the length and consider carefully - this one was a monstrous length if consistently interesting and dense. I would love access to the notes and bibliography.


    What about Simon Prebble’s performance did you like?

    I thought his voices were over-the-top and quite fun therefore. He probably wouldn't appreciate me saying that. Mostly I though it was a very creditable performance.


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

    Maybe but that would have been impossible without a cross-country road trip involving multiple drivers going non-stop. I listened to it while cooking - about 30 minutes to an hour several times a week - and it took me a month. It's a monster.


    Any additional comments?

    I recommend this one; filled with facts and questions which I hadn't taken the time to consider. How did we move from no electrical transmission to cities to cables 100 miles or longer, in 1890 - 1905? Why haven't we harnessed the rotational energy of the earth to generate electricity? Etc

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Novie Kailua Kona, HI, United States 03-06-13
    Novie Kailua Kona, HI, United States 03-06-13 Member Since 2012

    Retired nightclub performer/computer technician, I now teach hula and ukulele to seniors, and record Hawaiian music for my halau!

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    "The Rise and Fall of an archetypal "Mad Scientist""

    Listening to this absolutely fantastic biography of Nikola Tesla just makes me want to shake my head in sadness and disbelief. His great genius was literally raped by all the money moguls of Wall Street, and Edison? Shame on him! Of course Tesla was at times his own greatest enemy -- not patenting crucial inventions because he wanted to "save the world". Altruism is great in theory, but money talks. If Tesla had had business savvy, he might not have died penniless and alone.

    Seifer's book brings to life the clutching, grabbing and clawing for fame and recognition that went on in the early part of the last century that has, unbelievably, finally put mankind in the position that it is now. Cell phones, the worldwide internet -- name just about every electronic device we use today -- and Tesla's inventive genius was the fuel that guided it.

    I checked out Wikipedia after I read this book, and Seifer's in-depth portrayal of Tesla is spot on, and rounds out this amazing personality/wizard in such a way that I feel cheated that this man did not have a better and more charitable response to his genius.

    Simon Prebble's narration was just fine, although since there was very little dialogue, per se, I wondered why he felt he had to use accents. They weren't really necessary.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane 03-05-13
    Jane 03-05-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Too much"

    This seemed to spend a lot of time in the weeds of Who discovered what, and when, and how could someone profit from it? I had read a biography of Tesla, but I have yet to find his story presented in a truly interesting way. Tesla deserves great credit for his genius, but I came away still somewhat confused of what use it has been to us in the long run.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ray SARATOGA, CA, United States 03-04-13
    Ray SARATOGA, CA, United States 03-04-13 Member Since 2011
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    4
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    "To much detail"
    What disappointed you about Wizard?

    Continuallty bogged down in details and multiple iterations over the same material


    What could Marc J. Seifer have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Mor e focus on thhe underlying story line


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Simon Prebble?

    Yes


    What character would you cut from Wizard?

    none


    Any additional comments?

    I finally had to shut it off and I like Mitchner.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Motes Tampa 03-03-13
    Sam Motes Tampa 03-03-13 Listener Since 2009

    Audible obsessed lifelong learner.

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    "Brilliant Wizard gets his thunder stolen"

    Tesla was a brilliant inventor who has impacted us as much as Edison but is not as well known. The story Seifer paints is one of a brilliant inventor who as a dynamic visionary far ahead of his time tied up in corporate espionage with big names such as Edison, Westinghouse, Morgan and others. If Tesla had gained recognition for his inventions in his time rather then having many of them taken from him he would be much more widely known and would have had a legacy rivaling Edison and Westinghouse for sure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fred Centennial, Colorado, United States 03-02-13
    Fred Centennial, Colorado, United States 03-02-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Missed Opportunities"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Wizard to be better than the print version?

    Yes


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Wizard?

    Communication with Mars


    Which character – as performed by Simon Prebble – was your favorite?

    JP Morgan


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

    Tricked by Marconi


    Any additional comments?

    I wish I had the talent to invent product that could change the world

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Danilo Sao Paulo, Brazil 02-19-13
    Danilo Sao Paulo, Brazil 02-19-13
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    "Great book, inconsistent performance"
    What aspect of Simon Prebble’s performance would you have changed?

    His attempts to mimic the voice of historical characters is cartoonish and sometimes distracting. It would work well in a piece of fiction, but not so much in a biography.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles A. Laufer WILLIAMSTOWN, VT, US 02-09-13
    Charles A. Laufer WILLIAMSTOWN, VT, US 02-09-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Good history, but way too long"

    I have been listening to American history subjects like the Brooklyn bridge and transcontinental railroad, and this is also great American history, but it includes too many readings of letters and details that stop being interesting halfway through the book. Now I am slogging through the rest of it hoping he dies soon!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States 02-04-13
    Lori SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States 02-04-13
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    "Even a scientist was bored by it..."

    Note: I only listened to the first part (~6 hours!) because I just couldn't bear wasting any more time on this book.

    As a scientist myself, I love stories that tell the history and life of a scientist. I picked up this book thinking it would be a great story of triumph and innovation and would be told as if Tesla was overcoming being overshadowed by the other greats of the day (Edison, etc.). But...it was told by a family member of Tesla and seemed like the family were whining about the lack of attention Tesla got during his time for the inventions and innovation he brought to modern society.

    There is WAY too much detail and it was hard to follow and pay attention to it for long stretches. I was hoping for an "underdog" story after sensing the tone of the author from the beginning, but it just continued to drone on and the tone never seemed to change to the positive.



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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