The #1 New York Times bestseller
“A potent story of an exhilarating mind and life…a study in creativity: how to define it, how to achieve it.” —The New Yorker
“Vigorous, insightful.” —The Washington Post
“A masterpiece.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Luminous.” —The Day-to-day Beast
He was history’s most creative genius. What secrets can he teach us?
The author of the acclaimed bestsellers Steve Jobs, Einstein, and Benjamin Franklin brings Leonardo da Vinci to life in this exciting new biography.
Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and operate, Walter Isaacson weaves a narrative that connects his art to his science. He shows how Leonardo’s genius was based on expertise we can boost in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy.
He created the two most famous paintings in history, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. But in his personal thoughts, he was just as much a man of science and technologies. With a passion that often became obsessive, he pursued revolutionary research of anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, and weaponry. His ability to stand at the crossroads of the humanities and the sciences, made iconic by his drawing of Vitruvian Man, produced him history’s most inventive genius.
His creativity, like that of other great innovators, came from getting wide-ranging passions. He peeled flesh off the faces of cadavers, drew the muscle tissues that move the lips, and then painted history’s most memorable smile. He explored the math of optics, showed how light rays strike the cornea, and made illusions of altering perspectives in The Last Supper. Isaacson also describes how Leonardo’s lifelong enthusiasm for staging theatrical productions informed his paintings and inventions.
Leonardo’s delight at combining diverse passions remains the ultimate recipe for creativity. So, also, does his ease at getting a bit of a misfit: illegitimate, gay, vegetarian, left-handed, very easily distracted, and at occasions heretical. His life should remind us of the significance of instilling, each in ourselves and our youngsters, not just received knowledge but a willingness to query it—to be imaginative and, like talented misfits and rebels in any era, to consider diverse.
An Amazon Very best Book of October 2017: With biographies of Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Steve Jobs below his belt, and a reputation as one particular of our premiere nonfiction writers, Walter Isaacson is the correct individual to take on a monumental figure like Leonardo da Vinci. To write this biography Isaacson immersed himself in da Vinci’s 7,200 pages of notebooks, which these days are spread across the map. Da Vinci’s interests had been even more divergent, and Isaacson’s empathetic and deeply researched portrait illustrates how he willed himself to genius via endless curiosity and a creativity that at times crossed over into fantasy. Considerably like Isaacson’s preceding subjects of Ben Franklin and Steve Jobs, da Vinci was a polymath– he was passionate about art, science, nature, and technologies, and he in no way stopped questioning, practicing, or experimenting. This is what produced him the wonderful innovator and historical figure that we recognize today—and Isaacson points out that this is a certain kind of genius that can teach us how to live our personal lives. — Chris Schluep, Amazon Book Evaluation