For the past week I’ve been involved in a very exciting campaign in conjunction with Little, Brown UK. The #CreativityisContagious campaign has been happening on Twitter to celebrate the release of Einstein’s Greatest Mistake: The Life of a Flawed Genius by David Bodanis. The book is a biography of Albert Einstein and his achievements, successes, and his all too human flaws. I’ve loved being a part of this campaign! In this post, I’ll tell you all about the campaign, my recent fascination of physics and astronomy, and finally, I’ll review the book.
My New Hobby?
In the past couple of months, I seem to have developed a sudden fascination with physics; specifically astronomy and everything to do with space. Okay, the idea of space terrifies me – the idea that the whole human race is suspenended on a tiny planet in the infinite blackness of fire and bits of rock – but I love learning about it. I love the stars, the planets, and how it all works. I went through a few weeks when I was still in uni where I would try to learn something new about space every day, either by Googling something new or through the NASA app on my phone. I then read Relativity by Antonia Hayes and I ADORED it because of the main character Ethan’s affinity for physics.
So, when I recieved an email a while ago from Poppy at Little, Brown asking if I’d like to take part in the #CreativityisContagious campaign for a book all about Einstein, I was thrilled. The idea was that everyone involved would tweet every day in the week leading up to the release of Einstein’s Greatest Mistake with Einstein quotes, using the hashtag #CreativityisContagious. I was also so lucky to be sent a copy of the book to review, because I explained how perfectly timed this campaign was with my sudden love for astronomy!
The #CreativityisContagious Campaign
I jumped straight in a couple of weeks ago and started researching Einstein quotes. There are SO many great quotes, it was difficult to find the best ones! These were the ones I chose…
— Charlotte 📚☄️ (@WBookishBlog) September 23, 2016
— Charlotte 📚☄️ (@WBookishBlog) September 24, 2016
"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." – Albert Einstein #CreativityisContagious
— Charlotte 📚☄️ (@WBookishBlog) September 25, 2016
— Charlotte 📚☄️ (@WBookishBlog) September 26, 2016
As well as tweeting quotes, everyone taking part in the campaign was sent a special postcard. It had the book cover on the front and a space on the back to write our favourite quote. I spent ages trying to decide! Tweeting a quote was fine, but this was PERMANANT. I wanted to choose something a bit less serious, one that made me laugh. This was the one I went with.
This was such a fun campaign to be a part of, and it was great to see everyone celebrating Einstein’s achievements for the whole week leading up to the book release. During this time I was reading the book and loving it. Without further ado, here’s my review (wow, that rhymes!)…
Einstein’s Greatest Mistake by David Bodanis
Widely considered the greatest genius of all time, Albert Einstein revolutionised our understanding of the cosmos with his general theory of relativity and helped to lead us into the atomic age. Yet in the final decades of his life he was also ignored by most working scientists, his ideas opposed by even his closest friends.
This stunning downfall can be traced to Einstein’s earliest successes and to personal qualities that were at first his best assets. Einstein’s imagination and self-confidence served him well as he sought to reveal the universe’s structure, but when it came to newer revelations in the field of quantum mechanics, these same traits undermined his quest for the ultimate truth. David Bodanis traces the arc of Einstein’s intellectual development across his professional and personal life, showing how Einstein’s confidence in his own powers of intuition proved to be both his greatest strength and his ultimate undoing. He was a fallible genius. An intimate and enlightening biography of the celebrated physicist,Einstein’s Greatest Mistake reveals how much we owe Einstein today – and how much more he might have achieved if not for his all-too-human flaws.
Truthfully, I really didn’t know what I was going to make of this book. I haven’t read a biography for ages, and last time I did, it wasn’t packed full of physics. I was a bit worried it’d all go way over my head and I wouldn’t understand very much of it. I was so wrong.
The book is written in a way that helps people who have no knowledge of physics understand what’s going on. It describes every small detail of Einstein’s research and the creation of his theories, but in a digestible, easy-to-read way. Another of my worries was that it would just feel like I’m reading a school textbook, but I truly felt like I was sucked into the story of Einstein’s life. The book not only talks about the physics and the theories, but also his childhood, his academic career, and his personal life. I found out so many things I didn’t know about his wives and other relationships, his children and his travels all around the world.
“I even stayed till the very end and read the whole of the appendix…”
I loved that some of the complex physics theories were explained with diagrams to help the reader understand them. There were still a couple of times when the science went way over my head, but I still hung on to every word. Bodanis has written an extremely accessible, engaging story of Einstein’s life and I loved reading every page. I even stayed till the very end and read the whole of the appendix, which includes further explanations of the theories.
For a book that I was a little worried about reading, I can’t believe how much I enjoyed it and how quickly I got through it. I enjoyed reading the gritty personal aspects of Einstein’s life. And, as someone who has recently developed a love for astronomy and relativity, I absolutely loved learning more about Einstein’s theories and practises.
If you want to learn more about how our universe works, I couldn’t recommend this enough. I got one very important message from reading this book: even a genius can make mistakes!
Thank you for reading this (very long) post. I hope you enjoyed it! If you want to get your own copy of the book, it’s released TODAY and you can get one from Amazon here! Thank you so much to Poppy at Little, Brown UK for sending me a copy of the book to review.