Einstein: His Life and Universe; Steve Jobs

Einstein: His Life and Universe; Steve Jobs

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Walter Isaacson

Two biographies about quirky, creative geniuses with signature looks written by one man. If you read select passages aloud it's hard to be sure who is being referenced.

"He was a locksmith blessed with imagination and guided by a faith in the harmony of nature's handiwork."

"...his nonconformist personality, his instincts as a rebel, his curiosity, his passions and detachments - intertwined with his political side and his scientific side. ...Character and imagination and creative genius were all related, as if part of some unified field."

Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs are strikingly similar.  No wonder Jobs, when shown by his ad agency the now legendary  Apple "Think Different" featuring Einstein, he was delighted.  It captured his essence (by the way both quotes are from Einstein's biography).

Walter Isaacson's Einstein His Life and Universe and Steve Jobs  are elegantly written and accessible biographies.   "As a biographer of Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin, Mr. Isaacson knows how to explicate and celebrate genius: revered, long-dead genius. But he wrote “Steve Jobs” as its subject was mortally ill, and that is a more painful and delicate challenge," Janet Maslin of The New York Times surmises.

Reading these books is to have a glimpse at how great things happen organically.  To appreciate them you don't have be an Apple enthusiast or science geek - of which I am neither.  What these books do is give the reader a sense of the individual and why they did what they did in life, in boardroom and in the lab. Einstein and Jobs both were both rock stars and larger than life characters that teach and inspire.

What they Listened to:
Bob Dylan - Steve Jobs
At the famous Apple Shareholder Meeting event where the original Macintosh was introduced, here we see Steve Jobs kicking off the event with a quote from one of his favorite musical artists, Bob Dylan.

Mozart - Albert Einstein
Einstein once said that while Beethoven created his music, Mozart's "was so pure that it seemed to have been ever-present in the universe, waiting to be discovered by the master." Einstein believed much the same of physics, that beyond observations and theory lay the music of the spheres — which, he wrote, revealed a "pre-established harmony" exhibiting stunning symmetries. The laws of nature, such as those of relativity theory, were waiting to be plucked out of the cosmos by someone with a sympathetic ear.


Walter Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute, has been chairman of CNN and the managing editor of Time Magazine.  He is the author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life and Kissinger: A Biography and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and daughter.

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About Janine Pollack

Janine is an accomplished business development strategist and creative services leader with experience in content development. Her portfolio includes working with leading brands ranging from Health and Playboy to Haven Home Media and TV Guide Network on digital content, integrated marketing campaigns and experiential events. Categories she has worked on include health, travel and DIY to name a few. She is also an avid reader and the co-founder of The Lit Cafe.