Customer Reviews for

The Wizard of Menlo Park

Average Rating 4
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  • Posted September 10, 2011

    Destroyer of Edison

    As a lover of technology, reason, and heroes, I have read several biographies of Edison. This one, by far, is the worst. I must emphatically do not recommend this book. The reason - Mr. Stross seems determined throughout the book to tear down Edison, to find every fault (real or imagined) and detail how Edison was not amazing. Instead of reading about how Edison was able to achieve over 1000 patents in his lifetime, you read about how Edison was not a good businessman, not a good husband, not a good father, not a good friend, not a good philanthropist, and not a good employer. You will read about dozens of examples where Edison over promised results, became insufferably conceited, sought after publicity, claimed credit for inventions he didn't create, and made hundreds (if not thousands) of bad decisions. Stross meticulously documents every negative newspaper article printed throughout Edison's lifetime. In every case where there are two possible explanations for Edison's behavior, Stross writes about the most negative one. One has to wonder why Stross would want to write this biography.

    What was noticeably absent was detailed discussions of Edison's genius, of his innovative capacity, of his independence in thought, of his confidence in his own abilities, of his prodigous work ethic, or of his experience creating the world's first industrial laboratory. It wasn't until the last chapter of the book that Stross even discusses the enormous values created from Edison's inventions, spawning several multi-billion dollar industries by the time of Edison's death in the 1930s. It is too little too late. But even then, Stross is quick to point out that Edison's net worth was only estimated at $12 million when he died, just in case you were not convinced of Edison's poor business skills.

    All-in-all, this destroyer of the greatest in Edison should be forgotten. I regret I spent money on it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 14, 2009

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    Posted March 22, 2010

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    Posted January 1, 2010

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