Book Review: Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

March 16, 2013

About:
Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson is a biography of the famed scientist. Einstein lived a tremendous life full of science, math, politics, religion and love; I admire Mr. Isaacson’s courage in tackling such a project.

  • 704 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743264738

Book Review Einstein His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

My rating for Einstein: His Life and Universe – 5

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Thoughts:
I found Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson fascinating and interesting, yet a bit more of a difficult read than Mr. Isaacson’s biography of Benjamin Franklin. However, the author does a good job reconciling the physics genius with the rascally young ideologue and later with the icon we all think of when we hear the name “Einstein”.

As in his other biographies, Isaacson brings forth wonderful little anecdotes through personal letters and stories which, I feel, let us separate the man from the myth and let us know what the man was truly like. The personal letters, quick wit and even tyrannical impulses let the reader understand this complex man as a man, not a pillar of the scientific community. Not only is the young Einstein a fascinating character, but the older one – the one who spent his life fighting authority only to become the authority – also comes alive.

As for science, this book is neither here nor there. If you understand some of the physics then it will be a nice review, if you don’t then you won’t understand it after finishing reading either. But that’s not the point of the book anyway.

Personally I found the chapter about Einstein’s religious beliefs fascinating and enlightening. If a few more people in the world feel like him, that science and religions are complimentary (“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind”) this world will be a more peaceful place.

As always, what make a biography really worth reading are the anecdotes and wonderful little story about the subject. The story about a man who traveled with Einstein on a ship from Europe to the US while trying to learn the theory of relativity only to state that after the trip he was certain that Professor Einstein understood the theory.

This biography is a highly readable book, full of information about the man and not so much about the science. As I mentioned, the parts about the science are short and are useful only if you are familiar with the theories, but then again – I’m no Einstein.

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 Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got bought this book.
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7 Comments

  • Jeff Rivera March 16, 2013 at 11:36 am

    This sounds really interesting, I might have to check this out. I love books that explore historical figures, it’s very enlightening. I look forward to more reviews from you, thank you!

  • Ryan March 16, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    My favorite chapter was the one about his religious views as well. This was a great book!

    • Zohar - Man of la Book March 17, 2013 at 11:39 am

      Thanks for the comment, Ryan. I have a feeling that I’ll refer to that chapter often.

  • Sharon Henning March 20, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree with his view that science and religion aren’t mutually exclusive. I’m currently reading a book about that very thing. I’ve always viewed science as how God made the universe and religion as why He did.

    Sounds like a good book.

    • Zohar - Man of la Book March 23, 2013 at 7:09 am

      Thanks for the comment Sharon, I agree with your comment – I think the world would be a much better place if more people took that point of view.

  • stacybuckeye March 22, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    My husband loves telling me about Einstein and I think he’s read or listened to this one. I feel like I know enough just from his gushing 🙂 But then again, I liked the movie I.Q. so what do I know?

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