Books by Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson Books

Walter Isaacson is an American author, journalist, and biographer known for his in-depth explorations of the lives of influential figures. He has written biographies on a range of historical and cultural icons, including notable works on Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and Leonardo da Vinci, delving into their personal lives, achievements, and the impact of their contributions on society.

Steve Jobs

24 068 ratings
Recommended by: Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mr. Beast and 2 others

The book is a biography of the late Steve Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple Inc. It is a story about his early days, building Apple from a garage, and revolutionizing the technology industry through innovative products such as the iPhone and the iPad. The book also delves into his leadership style, his passion for perfection, and how his personal and professional life has influenced the future of technology. Through personal insight, as well as interviews with those who knew him best, it paints a comprehensive portrait of the man who changed the world, and his genius and flaws.

Elon Musk

11 356 ratings

This biography covers the story of Elon Musk's life, who is deemed today one of the most visionary entrepreneurs, and of some of the most impactful companies for humanity in their respective business areas: SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity. It is a story of a young dreamer whose way starts from South Africa and continues up to becoming one of the most influential visionaries in technology business today. The book, through interviews and personal insights, uncovers Musk's drive, determination to break traditional industries, and his goals for the future of humanity. It is a very compelling story about determination, creativity, and changing the world through revolutionary ideas.

The Code Breaker

12 822 ratings
Recommended by: Bill Gates

The revolutionary work of Jennifer Doudna with CRISPR, a gene-editing technology, really brought up new pathways in life. The Nobel Prize laureate is viewed by many through a prism of tremendous adventure, from the basics of RNA to cutting-edge genetic engineering, depicting vivid drama in scientific discovery. It dives, therefore, much deeper into the ethical debates on genome editing, the race among scientists, and possible applications in the medical and agriculture sector. Instead of concentrating on the science, by focusing more on the human story behind it, the readers are taken into the window to the possibilities and challenges of the future—that is, manipulation of life at its very basic level.

Leonardo da Vinci

10 295 ratings
Recommended by: Bill Gates, Mukesh Ambani

This biography delves into the life of Leonardo da Vinci, exploring his unparalleled genius in both art and science. It attests to how much curiosity, imagination, and quest for knowledge were intertwined with him, and how they led to the creation of some of the most prominent masterpieces of all times, such as the Mona Lisa or The Last Supper. It also pays notice to his contributions in anatomy, his inventions in engineering, and works in physics – his ideas were far ahead of his times. With great detail and in brilliant storytelling, the reader is drawn into the very mind of a man striving to comprehend the world in all its dimensions.


5 634 ratings

The book offers an explicit exposition of the life of Einstein in view of his groundbreaking scientific discoveries as well as his relatively complicated personal life. The book dissects, with clarity, his creation of the theory of relativity, influence as a philosophy of science and pacifism at a time that was characterized by great turmoil. It delves deeper into his struggles and victories, painting a picture of a man who opened new frontiers in the way we understand the universe. With detailed background research on data used and excellent narrations, it gives a complete view of one of the most intelligent men ever known in human history.

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

4 888 ratings
Recommended by: Elon Musk, Sam Parr, Charlie Munger

This biography is on the life of Benjamin Franklin, the ever-iconic character in American history who developed his reputation through science, invention, diplomacy, and as a founding father. Thus, the book is an illustration of Franklin's contributions towards the American Revolution and drafting of the Declaration of Independence. Through intensive research, the author reveals the personality of Franklin who turned to know it all and his influence towards the making of American identity. It is an inspiring story that offers a look into the mind of one man whose legacy continues to impact the world today.

The Innovators

5 578 ratings

Tracking the digital revolution in the stories of amazing minds that made it, this narrative is replete with the collaborative spirit and creativity of the great innovations in computing: from the first computer to the internet, finally reaching the digital age. This book is indeed an exhibit, a case in point of how the synergy of individual genius and team dynamism makes a quantum leap that transforms the world. This book is not only a tribute to the recognized personalities and unsung heroes in technology but is also a profound insight into the process of innovation. It's a testament to how visionaries have built the foundation for the modern digital world.

The Wise Men

834 ratings

Chronicling the pivotal roles of six influential figures who shaped American foreign policy after WWII, this historical account offers insights into the brilliant yet flawed minds of advisors like Dean Acheson, Averell Harriman, and others. It provides a nuanced perspective on the origins of the Cold War, establishment of the post-war order, and the delicate balance of power dynamics.

Kissinger: A Biography

617 ratings

This comprehensive, evenhanded biography examines Kissinger's profound impact on global affairs as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State. Isaacson portrays Kissinger's strategic brilliance in détente with the Soviet Union, rapprochement with China, and other deft geopolitical maneuvers, while also scrutinizing his controversial actions like intervening in Chile's politics.

American Sketches

243 ratings

A compelling collection profiling luminaries across science, technology, politics and culture, from Benjamin Franklin to Steve Jobs. With incisive writing and extensive research, Isaacson illuminates their personal journeys, seminal innovations, and enduring legacies that continue shaping society.

Profiles in Leadership

32 ratings

Through revealing interviews and deep-dive investigations, Isaacson examines the unique leadership styles, values, and decision-making approaches of diverse, iconic figures like Bill Clinton, Lee Iacocca and Dorothy Height. This book extracts valuable lessons on vision, integrity, crisis management and overall effective leadership.

Walter Isaacson books in order

List of books by Walter Isaacson with the year of publication of the books.

  • 1992 – Kissinger: A Biography.
  • 2003 – Benjamin Franklin: An American Life.
  • 2007 – Einstein: His Life and Universe.
  • 2009 – American Sketches.
  • 2011 – Steve Jobs.
  • 2013 – The Wise Men
  • 2014 – The Innovators.
  • 2017 – Leonardo Da Vinci.
  • 2021 – The Code Breaker.
  • 2023 – Elon Musk.