Walter Isaacson - book author
Walter Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute, has been chairman of CNN and the managing editor of "Time" magazine. He is the author of "Steve Jobs"; "Einstein: His Life and Universe"; "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life"; and "Kissinger: A Biography," and the coauthor of "The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made." He lives in Washington, DC.
Walter Isaacson is the author of books: Steve Jobs, Einstein: His Life and Universe, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, Leonardo da Vinci, The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made, Einstein: The Life of a Genius, Kissinger, American Sketches: Great Leaders, Creative Thinkers, and Heroes of a Hurricane, Profiles in Leadership: Historians on the Elusive Quality of Greatness
He was, during his 84-year life, America's best scientist, inventor, diplomat, writer, and business strategist, and he was also one of its most practical—though not most profound—political thinkers. He proved by flying a kite that lightning was electricity, and he invented a rod to tame it. He sought practical ways to make stoves less smoky and commonwealths less corrupt. He organized neighborhood constabularies and international alliances, local lending libraries and national legislatures. He combined two types of lenses to create bifocals and two concepts of representation to foster the nation's federal compromise. He was the only man who shaped all the founding documents of America: the Albany Plan of Union, the Declaration of Independence, the treaty of alliance with France, the peace treaty with England, and the Constitution. And he helped invent America's unique style of homespun humor, democratic values, and philosophical pragmatism.
But the most interesting thing that Franklin invented, and continually reinvented, was himself. America's first great publicist, he was, in his life and in his writings, consciously trying to create a new American archetype. In the process, he carefully crafted his own persona, portrayed it in public, and polished it for posterity.
Through it all, he trusted the hearts and minds of his fellow "leather-aprons" more than he did those of any inbred elite. He saw middle-class values as a source of social strength, not as something to be derided. His guiding principle was a "dislike of everything that tended to debase the spirit of the common people." Few of his fellow founders felt this comfort with democracy so fully, and none so intuitively.
In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklin's amazing life, from his days as a runaway printer to his triumphs as a statesman, scientist, and Founding Father. He chronicles Franklin's tumultuous relationship with his illegitimate son and grandson, his practical marriage, and his flirtations with the ladies of Paris. He also shows how Franklin helped to create the American character and why he has a particular resonance in the twenty-first century.
As well as showing how Einstein developed his theories, Einstein reveals the man behind the science, from his early years and experiments in Germany and his struggle to find work at the Swiss patent office to his marriages and children, his role in the development of the atomic bomb, and his work for civil rights groups in the United States.
Drawing on new research and personal documents belonging to Einstein only recently made available, this book also includes items of rare facsimile memorabilia, to show you more than this scientist's groundbreaking theories.
Find the surprising and revelatory answers to these questions and more in this collection of new essays by great historians, including Sean Wilentz, Alan Brinkley, Annette Gordon-Reed, Jean Strouse, Robert Dallek, Frances FitzGerald, and others. Entertaining and insightful individually, taken together the essays represent a valuable set of reflections on the enduring ingredients of leadership—the focus of an introduction by Walter Isaacson.
This book is a treat for lovers of fine history.