by Margaret C.
His Life and Universe, by Walter Isaacson is a biography on Albert Einstein that transforms his image from an isolated genius with and advanced brain into an accessible and relatable human being. Instead of painting a portrait of an intellect that exceeds human capacity, he is portrayed as a quirky man with typical human experiences. From his personal letters that were released in recent years we find that Einstein struggled with making his way in the world just like the rest of us. He experienced failure, which left him in despair and feeling as though he had no purpose.
Eventually, he acquired a 9 to 5 job in order to survive, but he developed his theories in his spare time, as well as when his boss wasn’t looking. He made friends with like-minds who functioned as conductors to his postulations and he eventually established his career within the field of physics. Isaacson also emphasizes that Einstein’s genius stems from his imagination and creativity, rather than his mathematics. It is encouraging to know that some of the greatest contributions to science and humankind came from a brilliant imagination.
What I love about this book is that it encourages the reader to obtain greatness through the means of imagination, dedication, friends and relentlessness. There is no need for an advanced portion of the brain in order to succeed; we are all going to struggle in life with or without an anatomical anomaly. But it is through suffering and struggle that our talents and passions learn to survive and eventually flourish, which Einstein’s life effectively demonstrates. Historically, Einstein’s genius has been separated from the rest of the human race, but you will find that this biography puts it within our reach.
Isaacson, Walter. His Life and Universe. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007. Print