Einstein Book Summary By Walter Isaacson

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Walter Isaacson's book, "Einstein: His Life and Universe" (2008), gives us an in-depth look at the mind of the greatest scientist of all time.

By exploring Einstein's life and his motives, the book seeks to understand what compelled him to do what he did.

The author examines the many facets that made up Einstein's character – his nonconformist attitude, his voracious need to discover new things and his dedication to upholding freedom.

All these elements were intertwined with one another, forming the foundation upon which Einstein built a world-renowned scientific legacy.

Readers of this book will get a deeper understanding of just how fascinating life can be by looking into the life of one extraordinary individual who accomplished amazing feats during his lifetime.

Book Name: Einstein (His Life and Universe)

Author(s): Walter Isaacson

Rating: 4.4/5

Reading Time: 19 Minutes

Categories: Book Summaries

Author Bio

Walter Isaacson is renowned for his biographies of influential figures.

He has explored the lives of Steve Jobs, Benjamin Franklin, and Henry Kissinger in great detail.

His brilliance and experience make him uniquely qualified to write such stories as he knows exactly what questions to ask and which details to focus on.

Currently, Mr.

Isaacson works as the President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, while being a former Chairman and CEO of CNN.

With years of experience in media & publishing as well as an impressive repertoire under his belt, Mr.

Isaacson is best suited to take on the Herculean task of exploring Einstein's life and unlocking untold mysteries from it.

Discover The Remarkable Life Of Albert Einstein: From Germany To Israel To America – Why He Didn’t Like Quantum Physics, Refused The Israeli Presidency, And What Was Found On His Deathbed

Albert Einstein

When you want to complement someone’s ingenious thinking, the person you think of is Einstein.

By reading this book’s section on his life, readers will gain insight into why this amazing thinker became one of the most renowned figures of the twentieth century.

One can learn what events formed Albert Einstein and helped shape him into a genius; from his time as an outsider in Germany to his last days in the United States.

Readers will also find out why he wasn’t really fond of quantum physics, why he turned down the presidency of Israel, and what was found upon his deathbed.

This book provides a detailed look at how Albert Einstein changed the way we view science forever.

How A Sense Of Wonder, Musical Ability And Rebellion Helped Shape Albert Einstein’S Revolutionary Life

Einstein’s childhood experiences molded him into the person he eventually became.

He was born into a secular family that valued education, and his father gave him a compass when he was four-years-old and it sparked something in him that stayed with him for life – an awe and curiosity of science.

His mother also ensured that young Einstein had music lessons which he carried through his lifetime.

Moreover, the visit of medical student Max Talmud to his home was formative as well – Talmud introduced him to Aaron Bernstein and Kant, as well as geometry.

At the same time, his unusual mental development seemed to help pave the way for his later successes.

While slow to develop linguistically, he somehow managed to quickly learn applied arithmetic by 12 and read Kant by 13.

He himself later reflected on how this oddity let him remain curious about certain aspects of life that adults take for granted – such as space and time.

Einstein’s Complex Personal Life: A Brilliant Mind In Difficult Relationships

Albert Einstein may have had a difficult time managing intimate relationships, but he was generous and beloved by many.

Even though his first marriage soon deteriorated due to the details of his cold behavior, he still maintainedkindness towards humanity.

As a professor at Princeton University, he was remembered fondly by almost all of his students.

He also showed compassion for strangers, like when he spent time helping eight-year-old Adelaide Delong with a math problem – even accepting her homemade fudges in return.

Although Einstein often put work over his personal relationships, he also managed to make lifelong friends who loved him deeply.

Furthermore, as a celebrity around the world, many respected his remarkable brilliance and enjoyed gathering to appreciate him – both personally and academically.

It is clear that no matter how distant or aloof Einstein seemed to be in certain situations, those close to him knew that the scientist had an abundance of generosity and care for others.

Einstein And His Miracle Year – Revolutionizing Physics With Quantum Theory, Photoelectric Effect And The Special Theory Of Relativity

Theory Of Relativity

1905 was a pivotal year for Albert Einstein – it marked the year where he revolutionized classical physics by publishing four groundbreaking papers.

Einstein’s first paper demonstrated that light didn’t only travel in waves, but also in tiny quanta known as photons; building upon Max Planck’s work on energy which showed that it could be divided into definite units.

Phillip Lenard’s observation of intense light producing more electrons despite constant energy levels enabled Einstein to put forth his Law of Photoelectric Effect – the energy of emitted electrons depending on the frequency of light.

His second and third papers discussed particle behavior in liquids, with applications from cement mixing to dairy production, while his fourth paper formed the basis of the Special Theory of Relativity.

Overall, 1905 was indeed a groundbreaking year for Einstein as he successfully upended centuries-old physics with his daring insights.

The Special Theory Of Relativity: Unravelling The Brilliant Mind Of Einstein’S Thought Experiment

Einstein’s key theory as stated in his “Special Theory of Relativity” was that although time, space and distance are relative concepts, nothing travels faster than the speed of light.

The core premise of this theory is based around two postulates: one being the principle of relativity, which states that laws of physics remain consistent regardless of the state of motion, and the other being the light postulate which states that light has a constant speed no matter its source’s velocity.

To explain this further, even when you’re on a train and moving while I’m standing still, light still travels at a constant speed for both of us.

When Einstein posed himself with this thought experiment at age sixteen and decades later tried to resolve it with his special theory of relativity he discovered that although light is constant, time isn’t.

This means that for those travelling incredibly quickly due to their velocity, time would pass more slowly than for someone who’s standing still.

At its core what Einstein reveals to us is that due to its inconceivable nature, nothing can ever challenge or match up to the constant speed of light no matter how fast an observer may be going.

Einstein’s Search For The Equivalence Principle Led To His Theory Of General Relativity

Albert Einstein’s journey began back in 1907, with what he called “the happiest thought of my life.” It occurred to him that when someone falls, they don’t feel their own weight – an idea which led to the Equivalence Principle.

This equation stated that local effects due to gravitational force and acceleration have the same effect.

This insight was then used by Einstein a few years later in 1915, when he used the Equivalence Principle to develop his General Theory of Relativity.

As he saw it, just as inertial and gravitational mass are equal, so too are inertial and gravitational effects – meaning that gravity can be explained as a curvature of spacetime.

Then came the hard part: producing the right mathematical equations to prove his theory.

After a series of dead ends, Einstein emerged triumphant after completing his work on General Relativity – built largely upon his earlier groundbreaking discoveries.

Einstein’S Quest For A Unified Theory: Bridging Relativity And Quantum Mechanics

Quantum Mechanics

In response to the emergence of quantum mechanics, Einstein became more conservative in his scientific thinking.

After formulating the Theory of Relativity equation, he wanted to develop a unified theory that would prove gravitation and electromagnetism were different manifestations of one encompassing field.

But this didn’t sit well with quantum mechanics, which emphasizes that there are no deterministic laws, just probabilities and chance.

This caused Einstein to become skeptical of the world view asserted by quantum mechanics and driven him to try and prove it wrong.

Thus, from 1923 until his death in 1955, Einstein dedicated much time attempting to build a unified theory in opposition to the view of reality put forth by quantum mechanics.

In order to do so, he had to abandon his radical ideas of the universe being finite without boundaries – ideas proposed by his earlier cosmological theory – and instead argue for a repulsive force – known as cosmological constant – that was ultimately proven incorrect when we discovered that the universe is ever expanding.

In other words, he debunked many of his own theories in pursuit of disproving quantum mechanics as well as affirming determined natural laws and objective reality.

Ultimately though, he died before achieving either task.

Einstein: Believing In An Incomprehensible Force And Standing For Freedom And Equality

Einstein was never one to shy away from speaking his mind on any matter, whether it be science, politics or religion.

As a result of fleeing Europe for the United States in the face of growing anti-Semitism in the years leading up to WW2, Einstein felt a strong connection to Jewish people and shared his opinions about what was going on in Nazi Germany.

Despite not sharing traditional Jewish beliefs due to his determined beliefs, he still worked towards campaigning against anti-Semitism through publishing letters and writing petitions.

Einstein even rejected an offer to become Israel’s second president, understanding that his genius was not suited for diplomacy and organization.

He had an overall socialist outlook, championing individual freedom while remaining neutral over the Cold War partisan divides of communism vs fascism as well as American vs Soviet Union policies.

The FBI even held fourteen boxes on file containing no incriminating evidence against him!

Though many people wanted him to join their movements, Einstein was too skeptical of authority to do so; however, he remained politically vocal regardless.

The Lasting Legacy Of Einstein’s Unceasing Curiosity Till His Last Breath


It could be argued that no matter what life threw at Albert Einstein, his curiosity and rebelliousness never wavered.

This is evident even in the last week of his life.

Despite suffering from stomach trouble, being 76 years old, and undoubtedly being in pain, he was still busy pursuing knowledge and fighting for causes he believed in.

From signing the Einstein-Russell manifesto to writing a radio broadcast about peace between Jews and Arabs, to not giving up on finding a unified theory of the cosmos, Albert Einstein stayed true to himself until the very end.

Additionally, although many expected a grand funeral for him full of dignitaries, Einstein humbly requested to be cremated and have his ashes scattered on the Delaware River; another example of his rebellious nature.

Although there was a bit of scandal surrounding his passing regarding embalming and dissecting his brain afterwards with pieces sent all around the world (something which horrified his family), it still didn’t shake or wane Einstein’s lifelong curiosity or stubbornness.

In fact, scientists discovered some irregularities once they studied it – such as having more glial cells than neurons in the parietal lobe but whatever it was that made him special has been accredited either partially or entirely to his refusal to give up on learning new things and being curious about how things worked!

Wrap Up

The book about Einstein is a great look at the life of one of history‘s greatest minds.

It highlights his successes, from his incomparable scientific achievements to his efforts to better humanity, as well as his personal flaws, including his complex relationships with others.

At the end of the story, readers are left with one final piece of advice, which comes from Einstein himself: when you’re having trouble solving a problem, try to visualize it instead of thinking abstractly.

By imagining yourself in certain situations—Einstein thought of riding along a train beside a light-beam—you could gain valuable insight that will help you solve your problems more effectively.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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