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Publisher's Summary

Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo's astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson weaves a narrative that connects his art to his science. He shows how Leonardo's genius was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy.

He produced the two most famous paintings in history, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. But in his own mind, he was just as much a man of science and technology. With a passion that sometimes became obsessive, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, and weaponry. His ability to stand at the crossroads of the humanities and the sciences, made iconic by his drawing of Vitruvian Man, made him history's most creative genius.

His creativity, like that of other great innovators, came from having wide-ranging passions. He peeled flesh off the faces of cadavers, drew the muscles that move the lips, and then painted history's most memorable smile. He explored the math of optics, showed how light rays strike the cornea, and produced illusions of changing perspectives in The Last Supper. Isaacson also describes how Leonardo's lifelong enthusiasm for staging theatrical productions informed his paintings and inventions.

Leonardo's delight at combining diverse passions remains the ultimate recipe for creativity. So, too, does his ease at being a bit of a misfit: illegitimate, gay, vegetarian, left-handed, easily distracted, and at times heretical. His life should remind us of the importance of instilling, both in ourselves and our children, not just received knowledge but a willingness to question it - to be imaginative and, like talented misfits and rebels in any era, to think different.

©2017 Walter Isaacson (P)2017 Simon & Schuster UK

Critic Reviews

"To read this magnificent biography of Leonardo da Vinci is to take a tour through the life and works of one of the most extraordinary human beings of all time in the company of the most engaging, informed, and insightful guide imaginable. Walter Isaacson is at once a true scholar and a spellbinding writer. And what a wealth of lessons there are to be learned in these pages." (David McCullough)

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Amazing book

Easily the best book I have ever read or listened. Already feeling sad at coming to its end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Julie Artist
  • 11-07-17

Review

This is a brilliant and absorbing insight into this amazing man. Written and narrated in an engaging way bringing to life a detailed account of Leonardo's life.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ace Ken
  • 11-28-17

Great book

Engineers should read this, it shows engineers and stylists are and should be the same

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew Shannon
  • 12-07-17

Great book, engaging through stories

Everything flowed well, following Leonardo through his life and describing engaging stories. I’d recommend to others.

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  • nadim
  • 11-25-17

excellent biography gets to the heart of Leonardo

excellent explains the journey Leonardo took to become one of the most talented men in the world

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  • Neil
  • 11-22-17

What more do you want from a biography?

I knew very little about Da Vinci, now I know quite a lot and I found listening to this book a thoroughly enjoyable experience. What more do you want from a biography?

The accompanying PDF is a must.

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  • Gabriel Jianu
  • 11-16-17

most inquisitive mind ever?

A fascinating journey into the evolution of one of the greatest artists ever to have lived.

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  • Nando Cuca
  • 11-14-17

An art history course in a book

I never enjoyed learning art history so much. Isaacson really knows how to deliver the facts wrapped in interesting context, sometimes even suspense. His narrative style really pulls you in, as if you were watching a movie. I cried listening to his description of the last minutes of Leonardo's life. And bravo also to Alfred Molina for the great tone and delivery. After a while you start to chuckle every time you hear about a deadline that Leonardo accepted, like a running joke throughout the book. I am now re-reading it as a print book.

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  • michael marchal
  • 10-23-17

In ecstasy, and delited.

This was the most incredible biography I have ever read. Leonardo that maybe the name of my futur son from now. Who will not want such person to be an example for the person that love the most.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Hiro
  • 11-13-17

One of the best Audible book so far

Subject, author, narrator and PDF files.
In this superb audiobook, you can see the highest quality of production in this medium.
Thank you so much for making this available to us.
Highly recommended.