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Publisher's Summary

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 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.
©2009 Walter Isaacson (P)2009 Simon & Schuster, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Gerardo on 09-02-13

Enjoyable and Insightful - Get it

After enjoying each of Isaacson's Einstein, Jobs and Franklin biographies, I decided to get this audiobook. I was concerned there would be a lot of repeat material, but there is not much really.

This is an enjoyable book. It is told as a story, you don't feel like you are listening to chapters of discrete information. The stories are interesting, relevant and educational.

The last third of the book includes a random interview with Woody Allen about his affair with his stepdaughter and then a section on the future of publishing. Both chapters feel out of place completely, I have no idea why the author or the published would include them here. But, since the first two thirds were excellent, I will give them this one chance.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful


By sam hoffman on 10-09-17

Very interesting read and phenomenal narration

The narrator, Cotter Smith, keeps you engaged throughout the entire book. He could make the iTunes user agreement sound interesting.

I am a big fan of Walter Isaacson and this book is a great way to dive into more of his writing and learn about many subjects in a short amount of time per subject. Each individual explored in the book is approx. 45 minutes and very interesting.

I will be recommending this book to friends.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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