Great Men of Genius Series

  • by Mike Daisey
  • Narrated by Mike Daisey
  • 5 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Monologist Mike Daisey presents a dazzling new work: four "bio-logues" about megalomania and desire constructed from the interleaved life stories of Bertolt Brecht, P.T. Barnum, Nikola Tesla, and L. Ron Hubbard. Over four nights Daisey explores the nature of genius and wrestles with the pride, insanity, and chauvinism that bind these men together, and reveals how the heights and depths of their gifts have much to teach us about ourselves. Each evening is unique and can be listened to independently, but all four together form an epic oral accounting of triumph and folly told with Daisey's dark and hilarious intensity.The geniuses are, in order of appearance:
Bertolt Brecht - playwright, poet, lover of women, and certifiable cad who escaped Nazi Germany, sympathized with the Communists, failed in Hollywood, was persecuted by McCarthy, and redefined world theater.

P.T. Barnum - gifted entrepreneur, showman, raconteur, hoaxster, freakshow and circus promoter who changed the face of 19th century America through blatant, shameless lying.

Nikola Tesla - mad genius, brilliant scientist and visionary who sparred with Thomas Edison and died insane and penniless writing love sonnets to pigeons after bringing the world electricity as we know it.

L. Ron Hubbard - bigamist, occultist, and charismatic science fiction author-turned-guru who took 1950s popular psychiatry by storm and went on to create the Church of Scientology: the most celebrity-driven and litigious organization on Earth.


What the Critics Say

"Daisey is a master showman, combining the storytelling acumen of David Sedaris and Lewis Black's outraged humor." (Daily Californian)
"Mike Daisey's monologues brim with subtle messages that never hammer you over the association, he adds himself to the titular category." (Time Out New York)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


This performance is funny, interesting, and unusual - a must hear!
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- Diane


Dear Mr. Daisy,


Why did you decide to do a mash-up of vague biographies of "men of genius" and your own memoirs?

Shouldn't you do one or the other?

I would have liked that better.

Also, you need to do a little more research on the geniuses lives. Perhaps unearth some little known fact that the average History Channel viewer (me,) wouldn't have picked up in their various TV viewings or in their travels through a public library or bookstore. (I do that, too. Travel, that is. Through libraries and bookstores.)

You do have a lot of energy in your readings and applied to your performance. For that, I give you credit but also a bit of advice; Tone it DOWN. TOO MUCH SHOUTING and then weird softer modulation IS VERY ANNOYING. (Sorta like what I just did with those caps, right?)

I have a feeling that you will find a real voice if you get your objectives clarified about what you mean to relate in your monologues. Although I might be wrong in saying you may never end up in someone else's book about men of genius, you are obviously not a dumb guy and you do have a talent for stringing words together. You just need to get them to say something coherently.


P.S. I did get a slight whiff of a Garrison Keillor type homage in your presentation. Please don't do that. He got creepier and creepier as he aged. You'll want to avoid that.
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- Sudi

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-12-2008
  • Publisher: Audible Studios