Leonardo da Vinci - Walter Isaacson

Leonardo da Vinci

By Walter Isaacson

  • Release Date: 2017-10-17
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4.5
From 789 Ratings


The #1 New York Times bestseller from Walter Isaacson brings Leonardo da Vinci to life in this exciting new biography that is “a study in creativity: how to define it, how to achieve it…Most important, it is a powerful story of an exhilarating mind and life” (The New Yorker).

Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo da Vinci’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson “deftly reveals an intimate Leonardo” (San Francisco Chronicle) in 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. With a passion that sometimes became obsessive, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, and weaponry. He explored the math of optics, showed how light rays strike the cornea, and produced illusions of changing perspectives in The Last Supper. 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.

In the “luminous” (Daily Beast) Leonardo da Vinci, Isaacson describes how 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 to be imaginative and, like talented rebels in any era, to think different. Here, da Vinci “comes to life in all his remarkable brilliance and oddity in Walter Isaacson’s ambitious new biography…a vigorous, insightful portrait” (The Washington Post).


  • Informative and Engaging

    By snail usa
    Very engaging and informative- the writing was excellent- though by the end I felt he hammered home his main points rather exhaustively. I like the images in the text and his description of the science that DaVinci incorporated into his painting
  • Fascinating

    By BJNRx
    I wish I had read this book prior to my 3 trips to Italy. I loved the chronological description of Leonardo’s life and works, so much unknown to me. Some technical portions were a bit too lengthy and detailed for my taste. However, I did learn a lot!
  • For Artists and Art Historians

    By NickW53
    If you enjoy art and art history you will enjoy this book. If not, it is a laborious read.
  • Tremendous Subject, Terrible Writer

    By AutoDidact1
    I didn’t think it was possible to make Leonardo boring, but Isaacson pulled it off. Paul Johnson could have done a better job, even if he was in a coma.
  • Thorough

    By Piano Man95
    A dash dry, yet with such detail- a crisp, lively read would border on impossible. Clear liberal bias, which can be nearly overlooked.
  • PDF?

    By PDFSearcher
    This books refers to a PDF document. Can someone explain to me how can I download such a PDF document? Thank you
  • Pages are missing

    By Conan's Friend
    The end of chapter 22 (and other chapters) are missing pages. The last sentence is incomplete. Can someone please help fix this? The eBook was not cheap. I am pretty disappointed.
  • De Vinci

    By Suzanne Chantell
    Very entertaining book. I read a chapter every day and would share a “fun fact about Leonardo De Vinci” with my family each night at dinner.
  • DaVinci

    By RedThree
    The full color pictures act as an annotated guide to his life and works, all of which are featured with wonderful details. This biography of a Renaissance artist, military engineer and genius is so rich with tidbits from people who knew him and stories that have survived from Giorgio Vasari, one of the first art-historical biographers.
  • I Could Not finish It

    By Jace Nicklien
    I really tried to like this book. I have always been an admirer of Leonardo. Like so many other books, the author jumps arounds. The information in this book is fantastic, but it just seemed to be thrown together. One paragraph it’s about something happening in the 1490’s then something in 1460’s, etc. I simply could not keep track of anything. I want a book to be chronological, otherwise it’s just too confusing. Start at Leonards birth and proceed chronologically through his life - the same way that Leonardo lived it. To be honest, this book ruined my view of Leonardo Da Vinci and I wish I never read it.