Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla was a fascinating person who changed the world. It is stunning that more people don’t know about his contributions to the world of science. Nearly every electronic device you use — televisions, fluorescent lights, wireless communications, robotics — can all trace their lineage back to Tesla. His legacy is amazing.

In addition, he lived a wildly interesting life. Brilliant yet self-destructive, he lived the kind of life that would keep a psychologist confused through countless sessions. Add in a cast of characters around him — the rich and famous all seemed to be drawn to the man — and you have a life that was designed for lasting fame.

But he has been largely ignored by history. The book Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla : Biography of a Genius (Citadel Press Book) by Marc Seifer seeks to remedy that. This is a comprehensive biography that uses firsthand accounts of his life. The details are (so I’m told) often new insights into the man. It’s a massive book (542 pages) that looks at every aspect of Tesla’s life as it seeks to uncover his brilliance and behavior.

The problem is … it’s really thick. Not just the length, but the writing style. Even the scope of the book, which seeks to discover everything about the man, is overwhelming. All of those details grew tiresome to me.

If you are a Tesla scholar who wants to know the whole story, this is a great resource. For the rest of us, it’s simply too long and too comprehensive.