The Remarkable Story of the Traits, Foibles, and Genius of Breakthrough Innovators Who Changed the World

Book - 2018
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Publisher: New York : PublicAffairs, [2018]
ISBN: 9781610397926
Characteristics: v, 316 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Feb 23, 2018

[For an accurate take on Tesla and Edison, I would highly recommend the remarkable book, Empires of Light, by first-class historian and historical writer, Jill Jonnes.]
I am struggling to finish this book, primarily because it is rife with errors and trying to deduce what the author, a professor at NYU, gets correct is a major mental exercise!
Attention, professor: Einstein was not at the bottom of his class in primary school - - he was at the very top, a straight A student. During that time in Germany, primary school grading was number 1 at the top, and 4 at the bottom, and Einstein received all 1s! It reversed in secondary school, with a 4 being the top grade.
Attention, professor: Nikola Tesla wasn't lacking in social graces - - he was at the other end of the spectrum, having been incredibly refined.
Attention, professor: The occupations of telegraph operator [Edison] and patent clerk [Einstein] weren't minor clerical positions, but considered professional positions in the 1800s and early 1900s; Einstein was head of the patent office, the term // clerk \\ back then denoted a professional, prestigious position - - get it?!?!
Why in perdition this professor, whom I consider to be a substandard researcher at best, included Steve Jobs and Dean Kamen with giants such as Marie Curie and Nikola Tesla boggles the mind! Also, while I don't wish to detract in any way from Einstein's brilliance, he did gather much other brilliant thinking together to form his Theory of Special Relativity: his professor in Switzerland, his girlfriend/fellow student, and the quantum geometry work of GFB Riemann - - essentially, it was a group effort.
Also, Kamen comes from a wealthy background and too frequently displays the character of the typical ignoramous rich kid - - some of his public pronouncements have been beyond stupid.
Also, Edison was a ruthless businessman, first and foremost, and there is some historical question as to his use of confederates within the US Patent Office.
[The author includes one remark from John Warnock, yet no mention of PostScript, a most innovative creation, nor anything about Gary Starkweather and the Laserjet creation. Her writing and thinking processes are most elusive?!]
When authors who are professors write books which are supposed to be non-fiction, yet put forth erroneous or fictional statements throughout, one should not take them seriously on any level.
In ending, it should be remarked on how some authors most conveniently skip over very important points to filter their thesis: After Testla was cheated out of that $50,000 by Edison, he would spend the next 3 years and some months doing day labor to survive - - perhaps America's most famous day laborer.
And Gates and Microsoft were handed by the sweetest licensing deal in human history by the senior executives [idiots??] at IBM; the same senior executives who took IBM from 1st place as having the highest valuation of any corporation on the planet, to #50 - - at least they were consistent!]


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