One of the great things about running Flashlight Worthy is how much different material you're exposed to... and how it all ties together — one night you're flipping through a book of short stories called The General Theory of Love and the next you're looking for ways to make a book list out of the 93rd anniversary of Einstein publishing his General Theory of Relativity. (You know, E=MC2.)
In honor of that serendipity I give this list of books on, about, or somehow related (sorry, I couldn't help myself) to Albert Einstein.
by Walter Isaacson
I thought it prudent to start this list off with an excellent general biography of the man himself. If you're not familiar with his work, the author, Walter Isaacson, is known for making the most complex tremendously accessible (which probably comes from all his years running Time Magazine and CNN).
by Albert Einstein
Next, it seems to make sense to move to the words of the man himself. Now, don;t go thinking this book will be jammed with impossible mathematical formulae. This book covers Einstein's popular writings. Yes, it includes his General Theory of Relativity but it also covers nuclear war, peace, religion, general science... as well as economics, human rights, our form of government... Einstein was no slouch. ;-)
by Alan Lightman
Fred from Romeoville, IL says:
I first read this book over ten years ago and have read it multiple times since. It isn't a lengthy read, but the content sparks thought that can last a lifetime. The best way I can describe it is that it's scientifically-factual-based fiction. Alan Lightman has such an amazing way of illustrating Einstein's Theory of General Relativity and his quantum mechanics theory by weaving it through a story that makes all of Einstein's thoughts practical and understandable. Imagine all of the mathematical babble explained in words that paint specific and completely understandable pictures in your mind's eye. That is what Lightman has such a talent for. After I read this book, I grabbed every Lightman book I could. He doesn't disappoint. If you are at all interested in what was cooking in the mind of Einstein, then Lightman lets you peek inside and makes it accessible.
by Jack Finney
This novel is a genre-bender (not gender-bender, genre-bender. It's a love story. And it's a mystery. And because it's based on time travel it's a bit of a light sci-fi story. And the entire time travel premise revolves around Einstein's General Theory or Relativity.
by Richard Lannon, Fari Amini, Thomas Lewis
What could be more UNscientific than love? This aptly-named collection of short stories does an excellent job of showing how there's no right answer to a romantic equation.
by Don Brown
Rachel Goldberg from Charlotte, NC says:
I bought this book for my son, a sweet, shy, bright five-year-old boy whose speech impediment and introverted nature often make him an "odd boy out." Complemented by whimsical illustrations, this book shows how the world's most renowned scientist was a quiet, shy boy who was thought to be slow, disliked sports and militarism, and had intense tantrums. "Odd Boy Out" is both an informative introduction to Albert Einstein, as well as the perfect book to boost the confidence of a child who doesn't fit the mold of mainstream society.
by Nigel Calder, Albert Einstein
So now we get the the Theory itself. I thought I'd list this volume so you could learn it in Einstein's own words. It's only 208 pages so it can't be that hard to understand, right?
by Simon Singh, David Bodanis
Alternatively, you can read this relatively short (~350 pages) "biography" of the equation itself. It's hard to imagine how a math equation could have a compelling story but by all accounts, this one does.
Finally — and we don't do this often here at Flashlight Worthy — I include this DVD from NOVA, the excellent PBS science series. Quite simply, it's an excellent documentary that actually leaves you understanding Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. Or, at least you think you do. For a little while. :-)
Recommending books so good, they'll keep you up past your bedtime. more...
I've always been interested in topics of every kind, so what the heck, I built this website to recommend books of every kind. If you have ideas as to how Flashlight Worthy could be better, let me know.
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