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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 (958 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 01-28-12
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 01-28-12

    I am an avid eclectic reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Tesla was a hundred years ahead of his time"

    Simon Prebble did a great job narrating the story. The book goes into more depth surrounding the times of Tesla. It gives an overview history of Serbia and surrounding countries. In covering the education of Tesla the author also introduces the reader to the professors that influenced him. Marc Seifer also covers in depth the interaction between Edison, Bell, Westinghouse and investors such as J.P. Morgan, John Aster, Stanford White and others. Tesla health, habits and mental health are covered. Seifer goes into depth covering the wide array of invention of Tesla and many are just becoming a factor in our daily life. It was also interesting to note that there are many more invention that the department of defense placed under a blanket of national security and no information is available on these inventions. This book has only made me want to know more about Tesla and his fellow engineers of the 1890s.

    41 of 41 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 01-28-12
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 01-28-12

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Tesla was a hundred years ahead of his time"

    Simon Prebble did a great job narrating the story. The book goes into more depth surrounding the times of Tesla. It gives an overview history of Serbia and surrounding countries. In covering the education of Tesla the author also introduces the reader to the professors that influenced him. Marc Seifer also covers in depth the interaction between Edison, Bell, Westinghouse and investors such as J.P. Morgan, John Aster, Stanford White and others. Tesla health, habits and mental health are covered. Seifer goes into depth covering the wide array of invention of Tesla and many are just becoming a factor in our daily life. It was also interesting to note that there are many more invention that the department of defense placed under a blanket of national security and no information is available on these inventions. This book has only made me want to know more about Tesla and his fellow engineers of the 1890s.

    34 of 35 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darryl Cedar Rapids, IA, United States 07-28-12
    Darryl Cedar Rapids, IA, United States 07-28-12
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    "fascinating"

    this was an incredible biography of a multifaceted genius. i came to this from old curiosity but also from recent listen to Pynchon's Against the Day in which Tesla is an element of the story. i became more interested in learning about Tesla and I did not regret the time. in fact a friend who also listened to Pynchon is following up Tesla. it is mind boggling to imagine the world we could have today if only a key turn in history or in Tesla's fortunes or temperament had gone differently. we literally could have leap-frogged the 20th century and have cleaner energy etc. the list of items and technologies he created or envisioned is ridiculous. i chose this bio because it appeared to be the most comprehensive and i'm glad i did. i highly recommend this one if you are curious in Tesla, but also in early 20th century, late 19th, history: the list of people and events connected even tangentially with Tesla is also staggering. and the narration is fine, just at times he does a couple voices that are similar and can confuse who's speaking a little, not major.

    21 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jolie Brackenridge, PA, United States 10-02-13
    Jolie Brackenridge, PA, United States 10-02-13
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    "My brain hurts! But in a good way."
    Would you listen to Wizard again? Why?

    Portions of it, but probably not the whole thing as it is very long; I might have been better off with an abridged version if one was available. There are certain chapters/sections that I found more interesting and engaging than others.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    I find late 19th- early 20th-century history—with all its stories of innovation, wealth, and bravado—to be intriguing. I liked hearing about Tesla's interactions with other giants of science, industry, and the arts and learning about his friendships, business partnerships, and collaborations. I found the descriptions of some of his theories to be fascinating (though obviously wrong, such as his insistence that intelligent beings on Mars might be able to receive transmissions from Earth) and descriptions of many of his personal interactions to be intriguing.

    I have to admit that I did, more than once, find my mind wandering during some of the lengthier science-heavy passages. I wouldn't say that the science in this book is inaccessible to the layman, but it also doesn't treat the scientific sections in an elementary way. Therefore, I, as a nonscientist, often lost focus during those sections and had to re-listen to some, but wound up skipping some as well.


    Have you listened to any of Simon Prebble’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is my first book narrated by Simon Prebble and I intend to seek out others he's done. His narration was superb. He commands a number of accents that he uses when voicing such people as the Serbian Tesla, the Italian Marconi, and various Americans, Scots, Englishmen and women, and other ethnicities without turning any of them into caricatures. Highly engaging narration.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No extreme reactions.


    Any additional comments?

    I thought I knew of most of the major players who passed through Pittsburgh (my hometown) during Tesla's era but was surprised, and pleased, to learn through this book of Tesla's work in Pittsburgh with George Westinghouse and his patent feuds with University of Pittsburgh researcher Reginald Fessenden. I like when a broad, sweeping historical narrative comes into contact with my favorite city.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    H. Smukler 01-01-12
    H. Smukler 01-01-12
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    "Finally a Tesla Audiobook"
    What did you love best about Wizard?

    At last an audiobook about Nikola Tesla. I've always been interested in Tesla, but just didn't have the time or energy to read one of his many biographies, I guess you could say everything I know about Tesla, I learned from Wikipedia. But the Seifer book is enjoyable enough to listen to leisurely, but detailed enough to hold my scientific interest. I loved the British accent on the reader, who I've heard before, but not sure where. He makes everything seem so profound.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the psychological angle, Dr. Seifer is a psychologist and that tends to humanize Tesla instead of getting bogged down in all the bells and whistles of his inventions. This is really a story of men behaving both badly and wizardly (so to speak). After listening to Wizard, I feel that Tesla has become 3 dimensional for me, while Edison remains 2 dimension. That probably isn't fair to Edison, but he just seems like a guy who invents a lot of neat things, while Tesla has so much more going on in his personality.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Everything to do with Edison is great. In someways this is Gates v Jobs only a century earlier, (not sure who is who) These two characters are archetypes and the differences get played out in so many fascinating ways. I also really like the theories about extra-terrestrial origins, which of course remain a little too far out to be taken seriously.


    Any additional comments?

    The fact that Tesla invented the foundations of the electrical era is old news. What is really interesting is that he is also the father of the wireless era of the internet, cellphones, and even those new swirly CFL light bulbs. The Seifer book paints with a broad enough stroke to encompass that fact without getting stuck merely on Tesla's electricity contributions. I think listening to the Seifer Tesla book has gotten me ready to tackle the Steve Jobs biography next, one tends to flow effortless into the other.

    32 of 36 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 02-04-13
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 02-04-13

    College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Most Thorough Tesla Biography To Date"

    Seifer does a magnificent job of bringing to vibrant color the life and times of one of the most remarkable and peculiar geniuses of science. A must read!

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vicente Sacramento, CA, United States 11-07-13
    Vicente Sacramento, CA, United States 11-07-13

    I enjoy passionate narrators. Great content is also a good thing.

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    "An unfortunate soul..."
    Any additional comments?

    The only thing I knew about Tesla was the created rivalry about Tesla and Edison. I sure did get more than that.
    If you separate the book into three parts early life/career, career already set, and his final years. I would say that I liked the first part and the third part the best. The book dragged on since the book covered the goings on year by year. only to go forward at times to make a point. then would go back to the year where the author left off.
    I enjoyed learning about a great man. about his achievements and his failures.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reece WestValley, UT, United States 12-13-11
    Reece WestValley, UT, United States 12-13-11
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    "I really enjoyed this book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Wizard to be better than the print version?

    There are a lot of people and names to remember and the audio version does a good job of helping the listener understand who is speaking.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Wizard?

    Nikola Tesla was an amazing man and Marc J. Seifer’s book takes great effort to document his achievements in depth. This book brings to life the environment of the times and lays down a clear timeline of events.


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

    Simon Prebble tries to bring some life and personality to the characters in the book. He does a great job of narrating; however, at times his voice acting can be a bit silly.


    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Houston, TX, United States 05-18-13
    Robert Houston, TX, United States 05-18-13
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    "Well researched book; a bit overwhelming"

    This book makes use of some amazing records and information from Tesla's own papers. It paints a very interesting portrait of the scientist. It does get a bit bogged down in details of patent rights, electric theory the various players who pop in and out of Tesla's life. But definitely worthwhile for anyone interested in this amazing man.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William 04-17-13
    William 04-17-13

    Proud to be an old school Gamer and Geek

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    "Too much of a good thing"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Only if they were a serious Tesla fan... and enjoy long books with way more information than you ever wanted to know.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    This book starts Agonizingly slow and really is a bit like reading a textbook. Tesla is a Brilliant inventor who simply did a poor job of marketing himself. Its interesting to learn that Edison was really the Steve jobs of his age. He did less invention and more 'modification, and improvement' to other peoples ideas.


    What didn’t you like about Simon Prebble’s performance?

    The reading was a bit dry, but it may also have been the material.


    Was Wizard worth the listening time?

    From an educational perspective it was worth it.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 57 results PREVIOUS126NEXT
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  • Goronwy-Wyn
    Cardiff, United Kingdom
    2/3/14
    Overall
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    "Spell binding and I'm an Engineer"
    What did you like most about Wizard?

    I enjoyed the linking of the dates to world events. I found the story itself very interesting, I found the observations insightful and I found it quite heart breaking that such a great inventor was frustrated by greedy financiers who had no vision.
    Although I will accept Tesla needed strong management to keep him on message.


    What other book might you compare Wizard to, and why?

    many that have not been recorded yet I'd love to hear Da Vinci's life story or Baron De Fourier, or Countess Lovelace.


    Have you listened to any of Simon Prebble’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    no


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

    pretty much


    Any additional comments?

    More of the same please biographies of Newton, Einstein, Hitler, Stalin, keep um coming!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Brian
    Livingston, United Kingdom
    11/6/13
    Overall
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    "What Genius"
    Would you listen to Wizard again? Why?

    No, I usually only listen once to books like this.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The depth of detail and back up research carried out.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Many parts of the book were very enjoyable.


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

    Generally, how Tesla never completed the tower, then it was destroyed.


    Any additional comments?

    Good book. A bit long at times but, over all a good book if you like that technology thing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • John
    YORK, United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Enlightening"

    Profiling the huge contribution of Mr Tesla to the world in general not just electricity. He moved in some very influential circles. This book is very well presented and I found the narration a little sleepy at times, At over 17 hours long this book is a good value purchase and great if like me you spend a lot of time driving, then this book will be a good informative companion arming you with plenty of facts with which to bore people with.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • AshaTestMbsPlan-UP-add
    Newark, United Kingdom
    11/15/11
    Overall
    "Excellent Audio"

    This is my new experience with listening Audio, and I recommend everyone to listen to Audio book.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-4 of 4 results

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