image : Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson, University Professor of History at Tulane, has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chairman of CNN, and editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Leonardo da Vinci; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography. He is also the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made.

The Best 15 Books on Walter Isaacson

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Leonardo da Vinci

The #1 New York Times bestseller

“A powerful story of an exhilarating mind and life...a study in creativity: how to define it, how to achieve it.” —The New Yorker

“Vigorous, insightful.” —The Washington Post

“A masterpiece.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Luminous.” —The Daily Beast

He was history’s most creative genius. What secrets can he teach us?

The author of the acclaimed bestsellers Steve Jobs, Einstein, and Benjamin Franklin brings Leonardo da Vinci to life in this exciting new biography.

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.
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Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

In this authoritative and engrossing full-scale biography, Walter Isaacson, bestselling author of Einstein and Steve Jobs, shows how the most fascinating of America's founders helped define our national character.

Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us, the one who seems made of flesh rather than marble. In a sweeping narrative that follows Franklin’s life from Boston to Philadelphia to London and Paris and back, Walter Isaacson chronicles the adventures of the runaway apprentice who became, over the course of his eighty-four-year life, America’s best writer, inventor, media baron, scientist, diplomat, and business strategist, as well as one of its most practical and ingenious political leaders. He explores the wit behind Poor Richard’s Almanac and the wisdom behind the Declaration of Independence, the new nation’s alliance with France, the treaty that ended the Revolution, and the compromises that created a near-perfect Constitution.

In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklin’s amazing life, showing how he helped to forge the American national identity and why he has a particular resonance in the twenty-first century.
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Einstein: His Life and Universe

By the author of the acclaimed bestsellers Benjamin Franklin and Steve Jobs, this is the definitive biography of Albert Einstein.

How did his mind work? What made him a genius? Isaacson’s biography shows how his scientific imagination sprang from the rebellious nature of his personality. His fascinating story is a testament to the connection between creativity and freedom.

Based on newly released personal letters of Einstein, this book explores how an imaginative, impertinent patent clerk—a struggling father in a difficult marriage who couldn’t get a teaching job or a doctorate—became the mind reader of the creator of the cosmos, the locksmith of the mysteries of the atom, and the universe. His success came from questioning conventional wisdom and marveling at mysteries that struck others as mundane. This led him to embrace a morality and politics based on respect for free minds, free spirits, and free individuals.

These traits are just as vital for this new century of globalization, in which our success will depend on our creativity, as they were for the beginning of the last century, when Einstein helped usher in the modern age.
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The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

Following his blockbuster biography of Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson’s New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed The Innovators is a “riveting, propulsive, and at times deeply moving” (The Atlantic) story of the people who created the computer and the Internet.

What were the talents that allowed certain inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their visionary ideas into disruptive realities? What led to their creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail?

The Innovators is a masterly saga of collaborative genius destined to be the standard history of the digital revolution—and an indispensable guide to how innovation really happens. Isaacson begins the adventure with Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s. He explores the fascinating personalities that created our current digital revolution, such as Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, J.C.R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Robert Noyce, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Tim Berners-Lee, and Larry Page.

This is the story of how their minds worked and what made them so inventive. It’s also a narrative of how their ability to collaborate and master the art of teamwork made them even more creative. For an era that seeks to foster innovation, creativity, and teamwork, The Innovators is “a sweeping and surprisingly tenderhearted history of the digital age” (The New York Times).
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Steve Jobs

Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.  

Although Jobs cooperated with this book, he asked for no control over what was written nor even the right to read it before it was published. He put nothing off-limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. And Jobs speaks candidly, sometimes brutally so, about the people he worked with and competed against. His friends, foes, and colleagues provide an unvarnished view of the passions, perfectionism, obsessions, artistry, devilry, and compulsion for control that shaped his approach to business and the innovative products that resulted.

Driven by demons, Jobs could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and products were interrelated, just as Apple’s hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrated system. His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values.

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Steve Jobs (Spanish Edition)

La biografía definitiva de Steve Jobs, el fundador de Apple, escrita con su colaboración.

La muerte de Steve Jobs ha conmocionado al mundo. Tras entrevistarlo en más de cuarenta ocasiones en los últimos dos años, además de a un centenar de personas de su entorno, familiares, amigos, adversarios y colegas, Walter Isaacson nos presenta la única biografía escrita con la colaboración de Jobs, el retrato definitivo de uno de los iconos indiscutibles de nuestro tiempo, la crónica de la agitada vida y abrasiva personalidad del genio cuya creatividad, energía y afán de perfeccionismo revolucionaron seis industrias: la informática, el cine de animación, la música, la telefonía, las tabletas y la edición digital.

Consciente de que la mejor manera de crear valor en el siglo XXI es conectar la creatividad con la tecnología, Jobs fundó una empresa en la que impresionantes saltos de la imaginación van de la mano de asombrosos logros tecnológicos.

Aunque Jobs colaboró en el libro, no pidió ningún control sobre el contenido, ni siquiera ejerció el derecho a leerlo antes de su publicación. No rehuyó ningún tema y animó a la gente que conocía a hablar con franqueza. «He hecho muchas cosas de las que no me siento orgulloso, como dejar a mi novia embarazada a los veintitrés años y cómo me comporté entonces, pero no hay ningún cadáver en mi armario que no pueda salir a la luz».

Jobs habla con una sinceridad a veces brutal sobre la gente con la que ha trabajado y contra la que ha competido. De igual modo, sus amigos, rivales y colegas ofrecen una visión sin edulcorar de las pasiones, los demonios, el perfeccionismo, los deseos, el talento, los trucos y la obsesión por controlarlo todo que modelaron su visión empresarial y los innovadores productos que logró crear.

Su historia, por tanto, está llena de enseñanzas sobre innovación, carácter, liderazgo y valores. La vida de un genio capaz de enfurecer y seducir a partes iguales.

Reseña:
«El fallecimiento de Steve Jobs ha precipitado un alud de libros sobre su figura. De todos ellos, la aproximación más completa e interesante al personaje es la de Isaacson.»
La Vanguardia

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American Sketches: Great Leaders, Creative Thinkers, and Heroes of a Hurricane

What are the roots of creativity? What makes for great leadership? How do influential people end up rippling the surface of history?

In this collection of essays, Walter Isaacson reflects on the lessons to be learned from Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Henry Kissinger, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton, and various other interesting characters he has chronicled as a biographer and journalist. The people he writes about have an awesome intelligence, in most cases, but that is not the secret of their success. They had qualities that were even more rare, such as imagination and true curiosity.

Isaacson reflects on how he became a writer, the lessons he learned from various people he met, and the challenges he sees for journalism in the digital age.

He also offers loving tributes to his hometown of New Orleans, which both before and after Hurricane Katrina offered many of the ingredients for a creative culture, and to the Louisiana novelist Walker Percy, who was an early mentor. In an anecdotal and personal way, Isaacson describes the joys of the "so-called writing life" and the way that tales about the lives of fascinating people can enlighten our own lives.
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Walter Isaacson: The Genius Biographies: Benjamin Franklin, Einstein, and Steve Jobs

The Genius Biographies boxed set from New York Times bestselling author Walter Isaacson featuring his definitive biographies: Steve Jobs, Einstein, and Benjamin Franklin.

“If anybody in America understands genius, it’s Walter Isaacson.” —Salon

Walter Isaacson's beloved biographies of American geniuses—now in one boxed set:

Steve Jobs:
The riveting biography of legendary Apple cofounder Steve Jobs. The story of the roller-coaster life and intense creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing. Isaacson’s portrait touched millions of readers.

Einstein:
How did his mind work? What made him a genius? Isaacson’s biography of Albert Einstein shows how his scientific imagination sprang from the rebellious nature of his personality. His fascinating story is a testament to the connection between creativity and freedom.

Benjamin Franklin:
In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Ben Franklin’s amazing life, showing how the most fascinating Founding Father helped forge the American national identity.
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Leonardo Da Vinci: La biografía / Leonardo Da Vinci (Spanish Edition)

El aclamado autor de los best sellers Steve Jobs y Einstein nos vuelve a cautivar con la vida del genio más creativo de la historia en esta fascinante biografía.

Basándose en las miles de páginas de los cuadernos manuscritos de Leonardo y nuevos descubrimientos sobre su vida y su obra, Walter Isaacson teje una narración que conecta el arte de Da Vinci con sus investigaciones científicas, y nos muestra cómo el genio del hombre más visionario de la historia nació de habilidades que todos poseemos y podemos estimular, tales como la curiosidad incansable, la observación cuidadosa y la imaginación juguetona. Su creatividad, como la de todo gran innovador, resultó de la intersección entre la tecnología y las humanidades. Despellejó y estudió el rostro de numerosos cadáveres, dibujó los músculos que configuran el movimiento de los labios y pintó la sonrisa más enigmática de la historia, la de la Mona Lisa. Exploró las leyes de la óptica, demostró como la luz incidía en la córnea y logró producir esa ilusión de profundidad en la Última cena.

La habilidad de Leonardo da Vinci para combinar arte y ciencia -esplendorosamente representada en elHombre de Vitruvio- continúa siendo la regla de oro de la innovación. La apasionante vida de este gran hombre debe recordarnos la importancia de inculcar el conocimiento, pero sobre todo la voluntad contagiosa de cuestionarlo: ser imaginativos y pensar de manera diferente.


ENGLISH DESCRIPTION

The #1 New York Times bestseller

“A powerful story of an exhilarating mind and life...a study in creativity: how to define it, how to achieve it.” —The New Yorker

“Vigorous, insightful.” —The Washington Post

“A masterpiece.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Luminous.” —The Daily Beast

He was history’s most creative genius. What secrets can he teach us?

The author of the acclaimed bestsellers Steve Jobs, Einstein, and Benjamin Franklin brings Leonardo da Vinci to life in this exciting new biography.

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.
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image Walter Isaacson

Kissinger: A Biography

By the time Henry Kissinger was made secretary of state in 1973, he had become, according to the Gallup Poll, the most admired person in America and one of the most unlikely celebrities ever to capture the world's imagination. Yet Kissinger was also reviled by large segments of the American public, ranging from liberal intellectuals to conservative activists. Kissinger explores the relationship between this complex man's personality and the foreign policy he pursued. Drawing on extensive interviews with Kissinger as well as 150 other sources, including U.S. presidents and his business clients, this first full-length biography makes use of many of Kissinger's private papers and classified memos to tell his uniquely American story. The result is an intimate narrative, filled with surprising revelations, that takes this grandly colorful statesman from his childhood as a persecuted Jew in Nazi Germany, through his tortured relationship with Richard Nixon, to his later years as a globe-trotting business consultant.
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The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made

With a new introduction by the authors, this is the classic account of the American statesmen who rebuilt the world after the catastrophe of World War II.

A captivating blend of personal biography and public drama, The Wise Men introduces six close friends who shaped the role their country would play in the dangerous years following World War II. They were the original best and brightest, whose towering intellects, outsize personalities, and dramatic actions would bring order to the postwar chaos and leave a legacy that dominates American policy to this day: Averell Harriman, the freewheeling diplomat and Roosevelt’s special envoy to Churchill and Stalin; Dean Acheson, the secretary of state who was more responsible for the Truman Doctrine than Truman and for the Marshall Plan than General Marshall; George Kennan, self-cast outsider and intellectual darling of the Washington elite; Robert Lovett, assistant secretary of war, undersecretary of state, and secretary of defense throughout the formative years of the Cold War; John McCloy, one of the nation’s most influential private citizens; and Charles Bohlen, adroit diplomat and ambassador to the Soviet Union.
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Einstein: The Man, the Genius, and the Theory of Relativity

Written by bestselling author Walter Isaacson, Einsten is an introduction to, and celebration of, the scientist whose name is synonymous with ingenuity and intelligence. 
 
From his remarkable theory of relativity and the famous equation E=mc2 to his concept of a unified field theory, no one has contributed as much to science in the last century as Albert Einstein. Drawing on new research and reproducing documents only recently made available, Einstein reveals the process behind the work and the man behind the science: his early years and experiments in Germany, his marriages and children, his role in the development of the atomic bomb, and his involvement with civil rights groups in the United States.
Now in a new format!
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Benjamin Franklin Autobiography (Annotated)

The life of Benjamin Franklin should be of importance to every American, primarily because of the part he played in securing the independence of the United States and in establishing it as a nation. Franklin shares with Washington the honors of the Revolution, and of the events leading to the birth of the new nation. While Washington was the animating spirit of the struggle in the colonies, Franklin was its ablest champion abroad. To Franklin's cogent reasoning and keen satire, we owe the clear and forcible presentation of the American case in England and France; while to his personality and diplomacy as well as to his facile pen, we are indebted for the foreign alliance and the funds without which Washington's work must have failed. His patience, fortitude, and practical wisdom, coupled with self-sacrificing devotion to the cause of his country, are hardly less noticeable than similar qualities displayed by Washington. In fact, Franklin as a public man was much like Washington, especially in the entire disinterestedness of his public service.
Franklin is also interesting to us because by his life and teachings he has done more than any other American to advance the material prosperity of his countrymen. It is said that his widely and faithfully read maxims made Philadelphia and Pennsylvania wealthy, while Poor Richard's pithy sayings, translated into many languages, have had a world-wide influence.
Franklin is a good type of our American manhood. Although not the wealthiest or the most powerful, he is undoubtedly, in the versatility of his genius and achievements, the greatest of our self-made men. The simple yet graphic story in the Autobiography of his steady rise from humble boyhood in a tallow-chandler shop, by industry, economy, and perseverance in self-improvement, to eminence, is the most remarkable of all the remarkable histories of our self-made men. It is in itself a wonderful illustration of the results possible to be attained in a land of unequaled opportunity by following Franklin's maxims.
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Einstein: Su vida y su universo (Spanish Edition)

La biografía definitiva de Albert Einstein, uno de los iconos del siglo XX y su mayor genio.

Albert Einstein es uno de los científicos más importantes de la historia y un icono del siglo XX. ¿Cómo funcionaba su mente? ¿Qué le hizo un genio? ¿Cómo era el hombre detrás de la celebridad?

Walter Isaacson, que tuvo acceso a los archivos de Einstein, ofrece un extraordinario retrato del personaje y de su época, así como un fascinante relato de su vida. A partir de su correspondencia privada, cuenta cómo un funcionario de patentes imaginativo e impertinente (un mal padre con un matrimonio complicado, incapaz de conseguir un empleo en la universidad ni un doctorado) logró desvelar los secretos del cosmos y comprender los misterios del átomo y del universo. Su creatividad estaba ligada a su rebeldía. Su éxito se basó en cuestionar las verdades aceptadas y en asombrarse ante cuestiones que otros consideraban mundanas.

Reseñas:
«Espléndida, un gran trabajo de investigación con mucho material inédito. Una obra fundamental y definitiva.»
Amir D. Aczel, The Boston Globe

«Walter Isaacson ha logrado un retrato completo de Einstein. Con un estilo ágil que disimula su atención al detalle y a la precisión científica, nos lleva a un maravilloso viaje por la vida, la mente y la ciencia de un hombre que cambió nuestra visión del universo.»
Brian Greene, autor de El tejido del cosmos

«Una biografía extraordinaria de un gran hombre. Walter Isaacson ha conseguido reflejar a Einstein como ser humano y al tiempo explicar profundos conceptos físicos. Su biografía se lee con placer y logra que el gran científico vuelva a la vida.»
Murray Gell-Mann, Premio Nobel y autor de El quark y el jaguar

«Magnífica. La biografía más completa de Einstein para el gran público. Una narración excelente.»
Sharon Begley, Newsweek

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