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Leonardo Da Vinci

Narrated by: Alfred Molina
Length: 17 hrs and 1 min
4.5 out of 5 stars (519 ratings)

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Summary

Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo's astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson weaves 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. But in his own mind, he was just as much a man of science and technology. With a passion that sometimes became obsessive, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, and weaponry. 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.

His creativity, like that of other great innovators, came from having wide-ranging passions. He peeled flesh off the faces of cadavers, drew the muscles that move the lips, and then painted history's most memorable smile. He explored the math of optics, showed how light rays strike the cornea, and produced illusions of changing perspectives in The Last Supper. Isaacson also describes how Leonardo's lifelong enthusiasm for staging theatrical productions informed his paintings and inventions.

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 of instilling, both in ourselves and our children, not just received knowledge but a willingness to question it - to be imaginative and, like talented misfits and rebels in any era, to think different.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2017 Walter Isaacson (P)2017 Simon & Schuster UK

Critic reviews

"To read this magnificent biography of Leonardo da Vinci is to take a tour through the life and works of one of the most extraordinary human beings of all time in the company of the most engaging, informed, and insightful guide imaginable. Walter Isaacson is at once a true scholar and a spellbinding writer. And what a wealth of lessons there are to be learned in these pages." (David McCullough)

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An art history course in a book

I never enjoyed learning art history so much. Isaacson really knows how to deliver the facts wrapped in interesting context, sometimes even suspense. His narrative style really pulls you in, as if you were watching a movie. I cried listening to his description of the last minutes of Leonardo's life. And bravo also to Alfred Molina for the great tone and delivery. After a while you start to chuckle every time you hear about a deadline that Leonardo accepted, like a running joke throughout the book. I am now re-reading it as a print book.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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An inspiration to be passionately curious.

Incredible book about an incredible life. I am a huge fan of all of Isaacson's biographies and this I feel is his best.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Sorry to say goodbye

Would you consider the audio edition of Leonardo Da Vinci to be better than the print version?

Yes, I think the narration gives a warmth and familiarity with the characters!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Leonardo Da Vinci?

I loved learning Leonardo was a lover of collaborations, with humour and kindness.

What about Alfred Molina’s performance did you like?

Alfred Molina was truly engaging. I listened in long bouts as I really didn't want to tear myself a way. It felt like anecdote from a friend.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

More than genius

Any additional comments?

A ambulate gem. I will listen again in a couple of years once I have forgotten what I have learned!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A fascinating biography.

Most people know about his wonderful paintings but I was certainly not so aware of the breadth of his interests and achievements, from engineering to maths and biology. What an amazing man!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Great book

Engineers should read this, it shows engineers and stylists are and should be the same

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating

Overall not only was Leonard a genius but credit must go to Walter Isaacson for this epic masterpiece in explaining Leonardo in such a comprehensive and understandable fashion ; Alfred Molina rendition adds to this unique and memorable presentation.
A must read for all , especially for those starting the journey of life no matter what discipline they favour.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Engaging and engrossing journey with a great guide

An engaging and engrossing journey into the life and times of the maestro, eschewing the dry and mundane documentary style to make this man, his humanity and his awareness seem alive to us.
I loved the description of Leonardo and Salai's vibrant pink and purple wardrobe. they must certainly have been noticed on the streets of Milan. So different to the sepia tinted ancient as he is normally presented to us.
I knew Alf Molina would be an entertaining narrator and an enjoyable companion for the journey, that and the essential pdf downloaded to my phone and PC has made this into an audio-visual journey that sets the gold standard for Audible. Beautifully considered and presented, I look forward to more imaginatively produced tours like this.
Please try to get Mr Molina to do more quality productions and allow him to use whatever accents he cares to try on!
Bravo!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great book

An excellent book about a fascinating individual with an excellent narrator. Would strongly recommend, Walter issacson is a superb writer

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Another excellent biography from Isaacson

The Da Vinci books is a wonderful listen and Alfred Molina is a brilliant narrator.

At first I thought the production would suffer from not having ready access to the paintings (I usually listen to audiobooks when driving or walking the dogs) being referenced but Isaacson paints such a rich picture with his words that the descriptions still resonated with me when I later went back to view the PDF.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Best ebook I listened to by far! Inspiring

Great book that captivates fully the life of an amazing individual ! will buy the book and give it to my 12 year old daughter, I am sure she will be as inspired as me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ravikrishnan Natarajan
  • 30-04-18

Awe Inspiring

An awe inspiring account one of the greatest geniuses of our time brilliantly captured by Walter Isaacson

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • A Customer
  • 22-11-17

Amazing book

Easily the best book I have ever read or listened. Already feeling sad at coming to its end.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-05-19

Another of Isaacsons great biographies works

It starts off a bit slow and I guess I was expecting more of the Steve Jobs biography
. This one is totally different but still the same intense research has been conducted. I urge you to follow through, and learn about one of, if not, the greatest polymath in history.

A truly remarkable life of unending curiosity. I loved this book and it has made me want to take that a second longer to ponder something, or watch people or simply to look at a table and be amazed.

"As a well-spent day brings a happy sleep so a well-employed life brings a happy death" - Leonardo Di Vinci

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  • K. Martinsen
  • 25-03-19

Absolutely fascinating!

Highly recommended insight into the life, mind, and works of Leonardo d's Vinci. Long live curiosity!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-02-19

largo pero muy interesante.

Una descripción profunda sobre Leonardo y sus pinturas , sobre todo intentando decifrar su genialidad

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  • sT cW
  • 29-11-18

An amazing journey with so much more

This book is packed with so much information and detail about Leonardo. This information is potrayed in a spellbounding way that keeps one focussed and yearning to hear more. I found myself scrawling through his paintings and drawings when each was discussed in depth. I guess this is one shortcoming with audibooks that one cant see the painting as referred to so often in the book. Listening while watching/ scrolling through the paintings on line was very helpful to me. I am looking at the painting with a lot more knowledge and understanding- Leonardo's work has become much more meaningful to me because of this biography, however I dont know if I would have finished the printed version of this book to be quite honest. Highly recommended

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  • Deepak Soowamber
  • 08-10-18

What a book!

This book gave so much! It is well worth the time. The research is incredible. Alfred Molina (Doc Ock) is such a great choice as narrator

Please listen to this book

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  • Sverker Mansson
  • 18-08-18

A wonderfull very well written ...

...History lesson from an era and a genius that still affects our life and how we look at it

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  • Chrissie
  • 07-08-18

I was sorry it ended...

Leonardo was an impressive being. Stay curious, make notes. Nice to understand a bit more what all the “fuss” is about with his paintings.

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  • Bradley Shaw
  • 21-06-18

Amazing insights

Leonardo da Vinci has an incredible story of you are interested in human nature, history and or innovation this should be required listening...