How Einstein Became Einstein

      Einstein_3The nar­ra­tive of Albert Ein­stein’s life pro­vides hope to every under­achiev­er out there. Ein­stein was slow to start speak­ing. His teach­ers pre­dict­ed ear­ly on that he’d nev­er amount to much. When he com­plet­ed his grad­u­ate work, he was the only stu­dent in his cohort who could­n’t land a uni­ver­si­ty posi­tion. And so he wound up work­ing at a patent office in Switzer­land. The young Ein­stein was appar­ent­ly “no Ein­stein.” 

But it was at the patent office that young Albert fleshed out his the­o­ries on rel­a­tiv­i­ty, and he’d even­tu­al­ly win a Nobel Prize. Lat­er, when he trav­eled to the Unit­ed States, he was wel­comed as a rock star. All of this is recount­ed in Wal­ter Isaac­son’s new biog­ra­phy, Ein­stein: His Life and Uni­verse, which John Updike reviewed in a recent New York­er. The for­mer man­ag­ing edi­tor at Time mag­a­zine and head of CNN, Isaac­son writes biogra­phies that are rich but approach­able. To get a feel for his style, you can lis­ten to him talk about Ein­stein dur­ing an appear­ance on Fresh Air (iTunesFeed). And, just as an inter­est­ing aside, you can down­load Ein­stein’s Rel­a­tiv­i­ty: The Spe­cial and Gen­er­al The­o­ry as a free audio book from Lib­rivox (full zip fileindi­vid­ual mp3 files).

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