‘Leonardo da Vinci’ by Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson, author of famed biogaphies such as Steve Jobs, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, and Einstein: His Life and Universe, has released a new biography about Leonardo da Vinci that — unless you’re already a scholar of da Vinci’s works — will give you an entirely new perspective on the quintessential Renaissance Man.

Like Isaacson’s other biographies, this tome is quite long and full of details that will make your head swim after a while. His own head must’ve been even dizzier after diving into da Vinci’s 7,200 pages of notes to meticulously research and piece together this narrative about the man’s incredibly diverse interests: engineering, art (of all kinds), music, math, astronomy, botany, theater…the list goes on.

My main quibble with this book is that, while there is certainly much to be gleaned about the life of da Vinci, the focus is more on analyzing his work and thought processes (to the extent possible, given that it’s centuries after the fact) and less on his home/personal life and the culture surrounding him at the time, which is the sort of thing I love reading about.

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