Regular price: $29.95

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
Select or Add a new payment method

Buy Now with 1 Credit

By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Buy Now for $29.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Nikola Tesla was a major contributor to the electrical revolution that transformed daily life at the turn of the 20th century. His inventions, patents, and theoretical work formed the basis of modern AC electricity, and contributed to the development of radio and television. Like his competitor Thomas Edison, Tesla was one of America's first celebrity scientists, enjoying the company of New York high society and dazzling the likes of Mark Twain with his electrical demonstrations. An astute self-promoter and gifted showman, he cultivated a public image of the eccentric genius. Even at the end of his life when he was living in poverty, Tesla still attracted reporters to his annual birthday interview, regaling them with claims that he had invented a particle-beam weapon capable of bringing down enemy aircraft.
Plenty of biographies glamorize Tesla and his eccentricities, but until now none has carefully examined what, how, and why he invented. In this groundbreaking book, W. Bernard Carlson demystifies the legendary inventor, placing him within the cultural and technological context of his time, and focusing on his inventions themselves as well as the creation and maintenance of his celebrity. Drawing on original documents from Tesla's private and public life, Carlson shows how he was an "idealist" inventor who sought the perfect experimental realization of a great idea or principle, and who skillfully sold his inventions to the public through mythmaking and illusion.
This major biography sheds new light on Tesla's visionary approach to invention and the business strategies behind his most important technological breakthroughs.
©2013 Princeton University Press (P)2013 Audible Inc.
Show More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Jean on 02-01-14

A detailed examination of Tesla's work

I have read everything I can get my hands on about Tesla. I first learned of him during my course work at University. The basic unit of magnetic field is named after him. He developed alternating current, radio transmission and FM radio, wireless transmission of electrical power; he was ahead of Roentgen in the invention of photographic process of producing x-ray. He is known for the Tesla coil, induction motor, rotary transformers, high frequency alternators, the Tesla oscillator and many more. This is the newest biographical book on Tesla. The book covers both the biographical life of Tesla but goes into greater detail about the technical aspects of his invention and theoretical work. In fact it could be titled the history of electricity in the 19th and early 20th century. The author takes the reader into the scientific mindset of the 19th century and compares it today. The book is objective and even handed about Tesla’s accomplishments and life. I find this objectivity critical to any book about Tesla as in recent decades he has been mythologized in the public imagination. The author goes into great detail about the various ways inventions are created by inventors and why some need marketing to create a demand and others do not. Professor Carlson also explained that Tesla like many inventors needed a business person to keep him focus on feasible inventions and provided the financial backing and marketing. Unfortunately for Tesla the key business man in his life died when Tesla was at his peak and Tesla was never able to replace him. But the patent attorney stayed with him for years. I enjoyed reading this book; it gave me an excellent understanding of Tesla’s inventions and theories. A caution to those readers that are less technically inclined this book is heavy into technical detail but written in an understanding way. I particularly enjoyed the last two chapters of the book, I thought Carlson did an excellent job of summarizing all the data he presented and his notes by various books about Tesla are helpful. Tesla’s work has pioneered the way for many inventions in the past few decades that we take for granted. He was a man ahead of his time. Allan Robertson did an excellent job in narrating the book.

Read More Hide me

18 of 19 people found this review helpful


By P. Smith on 06-24-15

excellent informed read.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Anyone curious about why and how such genius ended up on the obscure part of history should read this book It tells of his genius, his flaws, and how he got bypassed by his obsession with charging the earth electrically to provide free electricity to all.

Who was your favorite character and why?

well, Duh! Nicolas Tesla. What a character. What a performer. What a mind.

What three words best describe Allan Robertson’s voice?

somewhat pedantic.

Any additional comments?

I found the presentation somewhat soporific, a problem since I do most of my listening while driving. But the story and the man, Tesla, more than make up for it to make this a must read from my point of view.

Read More Hide me

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

See all Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By jeffrey on 10-04-14

Interesting, lots of things I did not know

Would you recommend Tesla to your friends? Why or why not?

Yes. Very interesting story about a "mad scientist", who suffered from tunnel vision and a very large ego. After his initial success with electromagnetics, it then got be be like the hammer - it sees everything as a nail, and Tesla becomes the hammer where he sees the solution to everything as one of his inventions or possible inventions.

Read More Hide me

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

See all Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Damiano on 02-20-15

All Ham, No Spam

Plenty of meat on the bones of this book. The author takes the time to explain the science and patent legalese so even an idiot like me can follow. (though in truth there a few Sciencey parts I had to hear again and Google, as Electromagnetics -or studying in general- wasn't my forte...)
Reads like a documentary, and Tesla's story is so entertaining to hear, minus all the wind being blown up his backside by other books.
This story is approachable no matter what your background and the narrator presents it with panache.

Read More Hide me
See all Reviews
© Copyright 1997 - 2018 Audible, Inc