Leonardo da Vinci

· Sold by Simon and Schuster
61 reviews

About this ebook

The #1 New York Times bestseller from Walter Isaacson brings Leonardo da Vinci to life in this exciting new biography that is “a study in creativity: how to define it, how to achieve it…Most important, it is a powerful story of an exhilarating mind and life” (The New Yorker).

Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo da Vinci’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson “deftly reveals an intimate Leonardo” (San Francisco Chronicle) in a narrative that connects his art to his science. He shows how Leonardo’s genius was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy.

He produced the two most famous paintings in history, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. With a passion that sometimes became obsessive, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, and weaponry. He explored the math of optics, showed how light rays strike the cornea, and produced illusions of changing perspectives in The Last Supper. His ability to stand at the crossroads of the humanities and the sciences, made iconic by his drawing of Vitruvian Man, made him history’s most creative genius.

In the “luminous” (Daily Beast) Leonardo da Vinci, Isaacson describes how Leonardo’s delight at combining diverse passions remains the ultimate recipe for creativity. So, too, does his ease at being a bit of a misfit: illegitimate, gay, vegetarian, left-handed, easily distracted, and at times heretical. His life should remind us of the importance to be imaginative and, like talented rebels in any era, to think different. Here, da Vinci “comes to life in all his remarkable brilliance and oddity in Walter Isaacson’s ambitious new biography…a vigorous, insightful portrait” (The Washington Post).
61 reviews
Daniel Smilkstein
July 25, 2018
Extremely enjoyable and absorbing. The dissection of his works of art and detailed analysis, surprisingly, turned out to be a fascinating aspect of this rear. I spent a lot of time flipping back and forth between the art and the description of the art. Makes for a slow, but enjoyable journey.
12 people found this review helpful
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João Vale
April 30, 2018
A very thorough voyage across the life of a man that obsessively absorbed every piece of knowledge he could get his eyes upon, and uniquely combined its science knowledge to create artistic masterpieces. It's a long journey, but it takes every page to truly understand it's life, It's way of thinking and ultimately to be able to absorb his masterpieces properly. It is a great book with a clear and pationate language that helps to demystify some aspects regarding Leonardo's life (both as a genius and a human being) and also to consolidate so many more in regards to it's genius thinking, openness and curiosity towards all things. The catch for me is that the book is too long and unnecessarily detailed in some chapters, making it a bit dull at times.
12 people found this review helpful
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Marc de Kruijf
July 23, 2022
I didn't love it. Gave up about halfway through. I thoroughly enjoyed the Steve Jobs biography, so I thought I'd give this a try. It started off well enough but then went too detailed and I lost the will to go on.
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About the author

Walter Isaacson, a professor of history at Tulane, has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chair of CNN, and editor of Time. He is the author of Leonardo da Vinci; The Innovators; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. Visit him at Isaacson.Tulane.edu.

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