Leonardo da Vinci Book Reviews

Walter Isaacson

Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson Book Summary

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).

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Book Name Leonardo da Vinci
Genre Biographies & Memoirs
Language English
E-Book Size 133.28 MB

Leonardo da Vinci (Walter Isaacson) Book Reviews 2023

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Tremendous Subject, Terrible Writer. I didn’t think it was possible to make Leonardo boring, but Isaacson pulled it off. Paul Johnson could have done a better job, even if he was in a coma.

Thorough. A dash dry, yet with such detail- a crisp, lively read would border on impossible. Clear liberal bias, which can be nearly overlooked.

De Vinci. Very entertaining book. I read a chapter every day and would share a “fun fact about Leonardo De Vinci” with my family each night at dinner.

Pages are missing. The end of chapter 22 (and other chapters) are missing pages. The last sentence is incomplete. Can someone please help fix this? The eBook was not cheap. I am pretty disappointed.

PDF?. This books refers to a PDF document. Can someone explain to me how can I download such a PDF document? Thank you

Leonardo Da Vinci. An excellent window into the life and times of Leonardo.

The Essence of Joy. Walter Isaacson has created a gift of joy in his study of Leonardo. The writing is clear and personal, and by the end of the book, one feels a partner in discovery, not only of the life and work of Leonardo, but of the author as well. The pure joy in sharing with the author each facet of Leonardo's genius creates a sense of fulfillment and appreciation rarely experienced from reading a book.

Incredible book. Isaacson is the Master biographer. Another incredible book. Substantial referencing throughout, along with sharing the opinions of other researchers. One can tell that the Author was really captivated by DiVinci “the man” as well as DiVinci “the scientist-artist”.

Love the book. Really liking Walter Isaacson biographies. I have read Steve Jobs,Einstein, Franklin and just finished Da Vinci. Isaacson is really qualified to write books. He has written so many good ones. REALLY loved how many fig. there is. The images scattered around pages instead of a bunch of pictures in the middle. I know Isaacson does this in many books but I really loved how he did it in this one. Great book! 11/10

Good read. Another great biography by WI.

For Artists and Art Historians. If you enjoy art and art history you will enjoy this book. If not, it is a laborious read.

Great biography!. Great biography

I Could Not finish It. I really tried to like this book. I have always been an admirer of Leonardo. Like so many other books, the author jumps arounds. The information in this book is fantastic, but it just seemed to be thrown together. One paragraph it’s about something happening in the 1490’s then something in 1460’s, etc. I simply could not keep track of anything. I want a book to be chronological, otherwise it’s just too confusing. Start at Leonards birth and proceed chronologically through his life - the same way that Leonardo lived it. To be honest, this book ruined my view of Leonardo Da Vinci and I wish I never read it.

Too long!. Interesting tidbits, great catalog of drawings, and many things we can emulate from the great Leonardo, but there’s just no reason for such a long book. Tough to get through.

College textbook style. Not written from Da Vinci’s perspective... reads like a college art history textbook... very dry... interesting, but dry...

The book is a work of genius!. The book is an absolute work of genius in writing, style, depth, and scope. Leonardo Da Vinci is one of mankind’s most curious individuals and that curiosity manifested in the culmination of incredible works of both art and science. In fact, this book and the lessons of Leonardo could and probably should be considered required reading for anyone working in, or curious about art and or science. Walter Isaacson has given us a treasure that will surely be read for many years to come, for in this book are the secrets that Leonardo himself uncovered about our world and about ourselves!

Disappointed. I thought this would be a great book but did not finish. As another reviewer said it reads like a textbook and a tedious one at that. Some of his artwork is fascinating but reading this book is not. I will try his Benjamin Franklin instead. EAF III

Fascinating. I wish I had read this book prior to my 3 trips to Italy. I loved the chronological description of Leonardo’s life and works, so much unknown to me. Some technical portions were a bit too lengthy and detailed for my taste. However, I did learn a lot!

DaVinci. The full color pictures act as an annotated guide to his life and works, all of which are featured with wonderful details. This biography of a Renaissance artist, military engineer and genius is so rich with tidbits from people who knew him and stories that have survived from Giorgio Vasari, one of the first art-historical biographers.

Wish I Could Give It 0 Stars. UPDATE Didn’t finish. Will never attempt to finish. This book is nothing more than a Renaissance gossip column, if it can even be called that. Supposedly this book is about Leo’s notebooks, but they get no more attention than anything else. What this book is really about is Isaacson’s obsession with Leo’s sexuality, diet, and looks. If you only know Leonardo da Vinci from this book, you would imagine that somewhere, hidden in his notebooks is Leo’s manifesto on vegetarianism, a declaration of being gay (known as a sodomite and a crime punishable with death in Leo’s time), and probably a few vain passages on how good looking he was. The fact of the matter is that none of that exists. Isaacson has taken the three things we can have no proof of and can only speculate on, and made an entire book about them, mixing in a detailed account of a few pieces of art and a few pages of his notebooks to make the book extra long. If I didn’t know any better, Isaacson has the hots for Leonardo da Vinci. This book is painful and long winded. There are other books on Leonardo that at least give a more balanced view of his life. This book makes it seem like one of the greatest geniuses in history, the man that practically invented the idea of the Renaissance Man, sat around thinking about not eating meat, how good he looked, and having sex with men most of the time. No idea when Isaacson’s Leonardo had time to do anything ingenious (you know, those things we KNOW for sure he did). It would be really awesome if Leonardo da Vinci were an LGBTQ+ hero. Don’t get me wrong. We just can’t know if he was. Let’s just make him a hero for using your brain and accepting everyone as is, the way he seemed to live his life. We need more of that. Then, more amazing people would feel free to come out and the LGBTQ+ community will be rolling in everyday heroes. Just a thought. Missing those pages before didn’t seem to matter much. It was just more of what I’d already read anyway. * * * I’m not even halfway through the book yet, but I am missing at least two pages, one each at the end of two separate chapters. The last page I have of each of these chapters ends in the middle of the sentence, yet the next page is the next chapter. If I had known I wasn’t going to get the whole book I would have bought a hard copy. Hopefully this is fixed soon.

Can we all be Leonardos?. Walter Isaacson, who already wrote compelling biographies of great people like Benjamin Franklin, Henry Kissinger, and Steve Jobs, has done it again. In this new book he follows Leonardo da Vinci (who we should actually call ‘de Firenze’; the Florentine, Isaacson tells us) from his birth in Vinci near Florence till his death in Amboise in France. And what a life it has been. Isaacson shows us that Leonardo’s achievements were only partly due to his genius. As a matter of fact, just because Leonardo was such a perfectionist, he failed to finish many of his projects. And many of his ideas never went further than the stage of a conceptual sketch it study in his many notebooks. But the ones that did became some of the greatest works in history. Isaacson not only focuses on Leonardo’s paintings and sketches - many of which are printed in this edition - but also on his inventions and experiments. He shows is that Leonardo truly was one of the first modern men. And he lived in the cradle of the Renaissance, surrounded by many others who rethought, remade, and shaped the world as we know it today. The author finishes with a chapter on what - and how - we can learn from Leonardo. It is a long list, but all items have been tested since and are worth following. Do read this book, it’s worth it. And do not forget the epilogue about the woodpecker’s tongue. It is as intriguing as Leonardo’s life. And yours, if you let it be.

Great Audiobook but wheres the PDF?. I love all of this author’s work and this publication is no exception. BUT I cannot figure out how to get the accompanying PDF which is very important for the particular book becuase they keep referring to it. Someone please tell me how to get it!!

Informative and Engaging. Very engaging and informative- the writing was excellent- though by the end I felt he hammered home his main points rather exhaustively. I like the images in the text and his description of the science that DaVinci incorporated into his painting

Leonardo Da Vinici. An incredible book that brings to life the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci. You live the moments and experience what his life was about. The book brings his art and his science to life by giving the backstory as to what the political and social environment were like at the times he was most creative.

Greatly wrotten. The author ability to take me thru Leonardo’s life and work was fantastic

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Summary of Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

The Leonardo da Vinci book written by Walter Isaacson was published on 17 October 2017, Tuesday in the Biographies & Memoirs category. A total of 885 readers of the book gave the book 4.5 points out of 5.

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