Celebrity Picks: Walter Isaacson Lists Some of his Recent Favorites

Chris Schluep on September 25, 2017

Walter Isaacson_hr When it comes to biographies, Walter Isaacson has the Midas touch. He's written about Ben Franklin, Steve Jobs, and Einstein, to name a few--and soon he'll be publishing a biography of Leonardo da Vinci. At this point in his career, every book Isaacson writes becomes part of the greater conversation--but we thought it might be interesting to know what he's been reading when he's not writing.

Below you'll find a list of nonfiction that shows a lot of breadth and even highlights his New Orleans roots.




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Empire of Sin by Gary Krist

Spectacular Wickedness by Emily Landau

Both books explore race, sex, and music in the New Orleans red-light district known as Storyville that was a cradle of jazz a century ago. I'm going to be teaching the writing of history at Tulane next year, and I want to show how an academic historian and a popular writer approach the same fascinating topic from different angles.

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Miss Ella by Ella Brennan

Julia Reed's South by Julia Reed

Speaking of New Orleans, these delightful books are memoirs combined with recipes, which is a tasty combination, the former by the proprietor of Commander's Palace and the latter by a great social commentator masquerading as a cooking writer. 

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The Three Lives of James Madison by Noah Feldman 

Madison opposed mindless partisanship. He was also a slave owner. Given our deeply troubled time, I was interested in wrestling with his legacy.

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Hit Refresh by Satya Nadella

The CEO of Microsoft describes his childhood as an immigrant, his rise as an executive, the lessons of leadership he has learned, and his vision for how the next wave of technology will affect society. All four strands make this a riveting book.

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Deep Thinking by Garry Kasparov

The world chess champion who was beaten by a machine twenty years ago reflects on the limits of artificial intelligence and how human creativity can prevail. I found it both convincing and encouraging.

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