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Wizard Audiobook

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

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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

3.9 (2281 )
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4.1 (2058 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Tristan 12-04-16
    Tristan 12-04-16 Member Since 2016

    Urban planner. Environmentalist. Geek.

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    "Good research, poor writing."

    Someday, someone will write a brilliant book about Tesla. This isn't it.

    Writing is all about choices about what, and what not, to include, and I'm not sure Seifer made any. He tells readers the 1890 address of a building that had since moved, so that if readers should ever be transported back in time, they will know how to find it. He mentions a book in passing and can't help but mention who edited it. I often wondered if there could be any information I would be less interested in knowing.

    His subject matter is so intrinsically interesting that it is almost worth the slog. Can you believe Tesla would put on demonstrations showing scientists multiple new technologies, and that he would send electricity through his body so he could shoot fire out his fingertips? The author, unfortunately, often skips the human story of discovery or the motivations for Tesla's rivalries, and goes straight for all the maddening details. Walter Isaacson should take this book as source material and write something good.

    I thought I could make it through but I had to jump ship when Seifer refers to woman gushing with hormones just because she walked near Tesla. He never embellishes the facts when discussing men, but for women, he pretends he's writing fiction. Bad fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Mesa, AZ USA 10-26-16
    Jeff Mesa, AZ USA 10-26-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent book but it drags a little"

    The book is well written and well performed. If you want to know about Tesla, this covers pretty much everything. That's its strength and its weakness. It got so detailed in a couple parts that it really dragged to the point that I almost stopped listening. However, I'm glad I didn't because once I got past the slow part, it got really interesting again and I learned quite a bit that I didn't know before.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan Stewart 10-22-16
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    "I think this book made me like Tesla a less."

    The performance was good, with different voices and a moderate pace, although all the Americans sounded like gruff dockworkers. The story, however, was far too detailed to be entertaining. It chronicled, seemingly, every trivial relationship in Tesla's life, regardless how little the impact on his outlook. The author portrayed Tesla as more of a common, whiny man, than as a visionary. I'm not quite sure if I, now, feel like Tesla was a genius or a charlatan.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shad 10-19-16
    Shad 10-19-16 Member Since 2008
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    "very long but glad I made it through"

    story lines frequently overlap time frames making it difficult to follow the chronology of events in the book. Exhustive in detail and repetitive on many counts with numerous examples given to make a single point or citing numerous events that could have been summarized by a blanket statement.

    For example the author could have said "Tesla made requests for financing from JP Morgan 25 times, each of which was refused" instead of spending hours outlining each of those requests.

    Good information... fascinating man and mind... glad I listened... I feel we owe a lot to this man...wish the book had been edited more or perhaps even abridged.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam 10-03-16
    Adam 10-03-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Overall Good"

    this was an interesting book was well-read. I did find it hard to follow because of technical jargon. I also think that the authors could have added more of a human touch to his descriptions of Nikola Tesla. however this did inspire me to relearn many of the principles of electricity.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Humberto Domingues 10-03-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Engaging"

    wonderfull.
    Need to fight through beggining of book, but then becomes very informative and engaging.

    Glad I picked this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-30-16 Member Since 2016
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    "An informative and enlightening view into the man"

    I really enjoyed this insight into the genius that was Tesla. It is a long listen, but worth every minute. However, it is a little diminished by the attempts by the narrator to create characters using different voices and accents.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. McGuffey Birmingham, AL 09-28-16
    B. McGuffey Birmingham, AL 09-28-16 Member Since 2007
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    "Well read, but too long"

    The reader is very good, but the subject can get too technically confusing on occasion.

    There were many details about his life that don't appear to have affected his work but that did give a hint into his psyche and personal life. In a book, rightly so with the subject, mainly focusing on the technical achievements of the inventor, these personal tidbits that have no apparent affect on his work seem more like distractions than useful or insightful information. They seemed to only manage to serve as anecdotal and filler making a long book too much so.

    The other problem I had was the jumping around of the timeline. While this doesn't happen often, in comparison to the large amount of story and information about Tesla's life, they were actually more confusing because of their infrequency. If the book had been topical, following a thread of his life or a specific invention this would be common and understandable. That type of book would not be viewed chronologically for the entirety of his life but only in snipits. Where as this book attempted a little of this and a majority of a chronological telling of his life the effect was occasional and mild confusion, buy of course that could just be me.

    Overall it's a good book. Just don't expect to sit down and blow through this one quickly. Only a serious Tesla-file would be able to handle this in more than 1-2 hour chunks.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blair K. Hartman 09-21-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent"

    This is one of the most thorough biographies I have ever read. Expect to learn a lot about topics surrounding Tesla. It really gives you a feeling of the world around Tesla as well as the lives of the many interesting people he surrounded himself with. This telling of his life is unabridged af.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia L. Van Dam New Orleans, LA USA 09-15-16
    Cynthia L. Van Dam New Orleans, LA USA 09-15-16 Member Since 2015
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    "ok, but too long"

    The book well written and reader does a good job, parts are too technical for the average reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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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!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • James Kehoe
    3/1/17
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    "Nice to finally know the full story..."

    of such an inspiring and yet human individual, who's work touches us every single day.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hari Karam Singh
    London
    6/16/15
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    "Excellent"

    Well read, well researched, level headed whilst still paying mind to the mysterious and conspiratorial angles. It's a fascinating story full of inspiration, character flaws, rags to riches to rags to legend. I'm going to miss it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Brian
    Livingston, United Kingdom
    11/6/13
    Overall
    Performance
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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
  • Shane
    6/14/15
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    "A definitive analysis of a genius"

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Tesla's life story. I had always imagined him to be brilliant but I now know that he was also an incredibly haunted and flawed individual.

    My one criticism would be that the author can take the reader down too many sidelines. Although some of these additional narratives are useful and entertaining, just as many are not and seem to get in the way.

    Having said that I would recommend you consider purchasing this book if you have a real interest in Nikola Tesla.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Martin
    3/19/15
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    "Exceptional story but stretched too far.."

    Needs trimming and checking for repeat content. Could possibly loose one third of time by sticking to time and moment

    0 of 1 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 1 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 6 people found this review helpful

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