The Wizard of Menlo Park by Randall E. Stross, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Wizard of Menlo Park

The Wizard of Menlo Park

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by Randall E. Stross
     
 

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Thomas Edison’s greatest invention?
His own fame.

Starting with the first public demonstrations of the phonograph in 1878 and extending through the development of incandescent light and the first motion-picture cameras, Thomas Edison’s name became emblematic of all the wonder and promise of the emerging age of technological marvels. But this

Overview

Thomas Edison’s greatest invention?
His own fame.

Starting with the first public demonstrations of the phonograph in 1878 and extending through the development of incandescent light and the first motion-picture cameras, Thomas Edison’s name became emblematic of all the wonder and promise of the emerging age of technological marvels. But this critical biography of the man who is arguably the most famous of all Americans provides a fuller view of Edison’s life and times–revealing not only how he worked, but how he managed his own fame, becoming the first great celebrity of the modern age.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In The Wizard of Menlo Park, [Stross] makes a fascinating and altogether contemporary contribution to our understanding of an iconic American figure.”
Los Angeles Times

“Randall Stross once again reveals a keen eye for the hidden details and forgotten nuances in the lives of great men. His re-creation of the life and achievements of Thomas Edison will become the standard reference to which all historians will turn for years to come. And yet the book is written with a flair for observation that reads more like a great mystery novel than your standard biography. A must-read!”
–Roderick Kramer, William R. Kimball Professor of Organizational Behavior, Stanford Business School, Stanford University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400047635
Publisher:
Crown/Archetype
Publication date:
03/25/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
392
Sales rank:
468,847
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

RANDALL STROSS is the author of five previous books, including eBoys and Steve Jobs & the Next Big Thing.

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The Wizard of Menlo Park 2.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
JohnDrake More than 1 year ago
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.
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