Walter Isaacson Books In Order

Non-Fiction Books In Publication Order

  1. The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (With: Evan Thomas) (1986)
  2. Kissinger (1992)
  3. People of the Century: One Hundred Men & Women Who Shaped the Last One Hundred Years (1999)
  4. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003)
  5. Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007)
  6. Einstein: The Life of a Genius (2009)
  7. American Sketches: Great Leaders, Creative Thinkers, and Heroes of a Hurricane (2009)
  8. Profiles in Leadership: Historians on the Elusive Quality of Greatness (2010)
  9. Steve Jobs (2011)
  10. The Innovators: How a Group ofHackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution (2014)
  11. Leonardo da Vinci (2017)
  12. Einstein: The Man, the Genius, and the Theory of Relativity (2018)
  13. Invent and Wander: The Collected Writings of Jeff Bezos (With: Jeff Bezos) (2020)
  14. The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race (2021)

Non-Fiction Book Covers

Walter Isaacson Books Overview

The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (With: Evan Thomas)

A captivating blend of personal biography and public drama, The Wise Men introduces the original best and brightest: Averell Harriman, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, George Kenan, Secretary of Defense Robert Lovett, John McCloy, and Ambassador to the Soviet Union Charles Bohlen.


By the time Henry Kissinger was made secretary of state in 1973, he had become, according to the Gallup Poll, the most admired person in America and one of the most unlikely celebrities ever to capture the world’s imagination. Yet Kissinger was also reviled by large segments of the American public, ranging from liberal intellectuals to conservative activists. Kissinger explores the relationship between this complex man’s personality and the foreign policy he pursued. Drawing on extensive interviews with Kissinger as well as 150 other sources, including U.S. presidents and his business clients, this first full length biography makes use of many of Kissinger‘s private papers and classified memos to tell his uniquely American story. The result is an intimate narrative, filled with surprising revelations, that takes this grandly colorful statesman from his childhood as a persecuted Jew in Na*zi Germany, through his tortured relationship with Richard Nixon, to his later years as a globe trotting business consultant.

People of the Century: One Hundred Men & Women Who Shaped the Last One Hundred Years

This is the century that split the atom, probed the psyche, spliced genes, and cloned a sheep. Plastic, the silicon chip, and rock and roll were invented. Airplanes, rockets, satellites, televisions, computers, and atom bombs were built. Traditional ideas about logic, language, learning, mathematics, economics, and even space and time were overthrown and radically refashioned. People of the Century presents the one hundred most influential leaders, artists, intellects, and heroes who shaped this monumental era. This century’s one hundred most influential people were selected by the editors of Time magazine and featured in a series of documentaries produced by CBS News. Here, their profiles are crafted by this era’s finest writers, from Salman Rushdie, Elie Wiesel, and Edmund Morris to Molly lvins, William F. Buckley, and Robert Hughes, and many more. Lavishly illustrated by hundreds of memorable photos, People of the Century is the ultimate millennial keepsake.

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us, the one who seems made of flesh rather than marble. In this authoritative and engrossing full scale biography, Walter Isaacson shows how the most fascinating of America’s founders helped define our national character. In a sweeping narrative that follows Franklin’s life from Boston to Philadelphia to London and Paris and back, Isaacson chronicles the adventures of the spunky runaway apprentice who became, during his 84 year life, America’s best writer, inventor, media baron, scientist, diplomat, and business strategist, as well as one of its most practical and ingenious political leaders. He explores the wit behind Poor Richard’s Almanac and the wisdom behind the Declaration of Independence, the new nation’s alliance with France, the treaty that ended the Revolution, and the compromises that created a near perfect Constitution. Above all, Isaacson shows how Franklin’s unwavering faith in the wisdom of the common citizen and his instinctive appreciation for the possibilities of democracy helped to forge an American national identity based on the virtues and values of its middle class.

Einstein: His Life and Universe

By the author of the acclaimed bestseller Benjamin Franklin, this is the first full biography of Albert Einstein since all of his papers have become available. How did his mind work? What made him a genius? Isaacson’s biography shows how the imagination that distinguished his science sprang from the rebellious nature of his personality. His fascinating story, a testament to the connection between creativity and freedom, reflects the triumphs and tumults of the modern era. Based on the newly released papers and personal letters, this book explores how an imaginative, impertinent patent clerk a struggling father in a difficult marriage who couldn’t get a teaching job or a doctorate became the mindreader of the creator of the cosmos, the locksmith of the mysteries of the atom and the universe. His success came from questioning conventional wisdom and marveling at mysteries that struck others as mundane. This led him to embrace a morality and politics based on respect for free minds, free spirits, and free individuals. These traits are just as vital for this new century of globalization, in which our success will depend on our creativity, as they were for the beginning of the last century, when Einstein helped usher in the modern age.

American Sketches: Great Leaders, Creative Thinkers, and Heroes of a Hurricane

What are the roots of creativity? What makes for great leadership? In this collection of essays, Isaacson reflects on the lessons to be learned from Ben Franklin, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Henry Kissinger, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton, and various other interesting characters he has chronicled. The people he writes about have qualities that were rare, such as imagination and true curiosity. He reflects on how he became a writer, the lessons he learned from various people he met, and the challenges he sees for journalism in the digital age. He offers tributes to his hometown of New Orleans which offered the ingredients for a creative culture, and to the Louisiana novelist Walker Percy, an early mentor.

Profiles in Leadership: Historians on the Elusive Quality of Greatness

The best historians in the land consider examples of great leadership, well known and surprising, from Washington to Willkie and more. What made FDR a more successful leader during the Depression crisis than Hoover? Why was Eisenhower more effective as supreme commander during World War II than he was as president? Why was Grant one of the best presidents of his day, if not in all of American history? What drove Bobby Kennedy into the scrum of electoral politics? Who was Pauli Murray and why was she one of the most decisive figures in the movement for civil rights? Find the surprising and revelatory answers to these questions and more in this collection of new essays by great historians, including Sean Wilentz, Alan Brinkley, Annette Gordon Reed, Jean Strouse, Robert Dallek, Frances FitzGerald, and others. Entertaining and insightful individually, taken together the essays represent a valuable set of reflections on the enduring ingredients of leadership the focus of an introduction by Walter Isaacson. This book is a treat for lovers of fine history. 13 black and white illustrations

Steve Jobs

Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing. At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering. Although Jobs cooperated with this book, he asked for no control over what was written nor even the right to read it before it was published. He put nothing off limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. And Jobs speaks candidly, sometimes brutally so, about the people he worked with and competed against. His friends, foes, and colleagues provide an unvarnished view of the passions, perfectionism, obsessions, artistry, devilry, and compulsion for control that shaped his approach to business and the innovative products that resulted. Driven by demons, Jobs could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and products were interrelated, just as Apple’s hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrated system. His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values.

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