The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World by Randall E. Stross Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World

At the height of his fame Thomas Alva Edison was hailed as “the Napoleon of invention” and blazed in the public imagination as a virtual demigod. Newspapers proclaimed his genius in glowing personal profiles and quipped that “the doctor has been called” because the great man “has not invented anything since breakfast.” Starting with the first public demonstrations of the p
Harold

Oct 10, 2011

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The Wizard of Menlo park is a bit about Edison the inventor, and a lot about Edison the public celebrity. His is an interesting story, but if you want to learn what really made him tick you won’t get it here. In fact, it isn’t clear how much he invented. Edison was part inventor, and part master of invention, in the sense that he created a major laboratory of invention, of which he was the maestro, but there were a lot of members in the orchestra. But the book,unfortunately, is more by the numbe

If you want a really compelling book which covers some of the same territory (although not the invention of the phonograph or motion picture) I strongly recomment Empires of Light: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify the World by Jill Jonnes.

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James

Jan 18, 2014

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Shelves:
biography

Decent book– great job of separating the man from the myth. Probably used the word “hagiography” more often than any book not talking about medieval saints. The upshot (and maybe spoiler alert) is that Edison was cranky, short-sighted stubborn, opinionated. He had one huge success that created the illusion that he had many, many more.

It would be a great exercise to read this and Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs one after the other. I was struck with the similarity between the two men.

It would be a great exercise to read this and Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs one after the other. I was struck with the similarity between the two men. Henry Ford called Edison “the world’s greatest inventor and the world’s worst businessman.” That could have been said of Jobs as well, at least until Jobs’ second act as the inventor of the iPod. Both of them were masters of manipulating the press, and both were victims of buying too much into their own press. Both of them did their best work on the cusp of a technological revolution; and as a result, both were given too much credit for initiating said revolution. Both of them were bested in business by a competitor who made up in business sense what he lacked in originality (George Westinghouse for Edison, Bill Gates for Jobs). Both led by intimidation. Neither shied away from taking credit for the accomplishments of their subordinates. They both had weird diets that they were convinced would keep them alive forever. The biggest difference is that Jobs did indeed have a second act when he realized how his technology could revolutionize personal entertainment. Edison almost did. He realized, too late, that the machine he invented for office dictation could also play music. But by the time he realized it, the competition had cornered the market in popular music.
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