Subtitle: His Tremendous and Troubled Life

Very few people in history are as exciting and mysterious in pop culture as the scientist/inventor Nikola Telsa. This new biography takes a look at Tesla’s life while concentrating on his likely being bi-polar and examining the course of his life in light of how that disorder may have influenced it.

I had read a previous Telsa biography nearly twenty years ago that went in depth on his inventions and business dealings. While this book couldn’t possibly avoid covering the same material, it was done in less depth and the unique slant of examining his mental state throughout his life made it not at all boring. It emphasized Tesla’s unique way of thinking – he visualized and perfected his inventions totally in his mind before constructing them, never committing anything to paper – and his never-ending goal of improving lives for all of humanity even at the expense of enriching himself.

Tesla’s many inventions are covered here, including his most significant – the alternating current system of generating and distributing electricity, radio, radar, robotic automatons, and many others. Later in his life, Tesla was unable to receive funding to continue development on his ideas for distributing free electricity and sending information and messages through the Earth itself, and his infamous ‘death beam.’ This book pointed out that Tesla’s ideas combined with his intent on serving humanity rather than making money made him a threat to the very financiers he relied upon to fund his research. As a result, Tesla spent the last 30-40 years of his life practically begging potential investors for funding.

I gave Tesla five stars on Goodreads. It’s a rather concise account of the legendary man’s life that is not overly technical, yet technical enough to explain the significance of his ideas. It also did a good job of humanizing an inventor whose ways of thinking are still a far cry from what us ‘normal’ humans can identify with.