Sunday, September 9, 2012
Book 78: Einstein by Walter Isaacson (Audiobook)
I listened to the audiobook while driving 22+ hours from my home in Delaware to Tennessee, then Florida. I was able to listen to several hours of the audiobook at a time, which was surprisingly difficult, but not because of the content. Exhaustion played a factor, plus counting miles.
We've all heard stories and legends about Einstein in school, we know he developed the theory of relativity, quantum theory, and other highly complex scientific ideas. Most of us - myself included - will never have the slightest hope of appreciating the impact of Einstein's ideas on the field of science.
Author Walter Isaacson was exhaustive in his research, incorporating it effortlessly with his matter-of-fact writing style. Isaacson succeeded in making himself transparent, allowing the story of Einstein's life to take shape without much in the way of subjectivity. At the same time, Isaacson's talents shone through in other ways. For instance, it was clear to me that Isaacson had worked very hard to understand Einstein's theories so that he could relay it to his readers. There were entire chapters on the topics - I will admit I zoned out for a good portion of these. Despite that, Isaacson's hard work was evident to me.
Einstein's life was truly incredible. Born the son of a poor, failed entrepreneur and a mentally ill mother, he succeeded in his own right by using his imagination. He experienced incredible failure before his success, walked the poverty line for much of his adult life, and continued to advance despite incredible personal hardship. He struggled to connect with his own family, even while his friendships blossomed seemingly without limit. Einstein's life seemed to me to be a balance of good and bad, ease and difficulty, drama and simplicity.
Great audio book - I loved it.