Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
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"Blind respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth." This was surely one of the guiding principles in the life of the world's first rock star scientist, Albert Einstein. Isaccson's biography of Einstein is fascinating, a joy to read for its attention to details both flattering and not, and a challenge to read for the dozens of pages spent on the actual science. I have not felt since college such difficulty with grasping a concept as I have with reading the chapter on Einstein's theory of general relativity. I am sure I do not understand it better, but I thoroughly enjoyed trying.
I learned so much that I had not known about Einstein, including how he abaondoned his first daughter without ever having seen her, a fact that made it hard for me to keep reading. I'm glad I pushed on. I learned how he felt unattached to the thought of being Jewish until the War, and then he became an advocate for his people and their freedom. I learned how he felt about God. There are many stunning quotes in the book, but none more so than this. "Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in fact, religious."
The details of his coming to Princeton, of his loving his two sons but never enough to bring them physically into his world, of the role he played in the creation of the Atom bomb and the way he felt after it was dropped - all of these details are in the book and fascinating to read. I give a hearty thumbs up to Walter Isaacson's biography entitled simply Einstein.