5 stars · nonfiction

Review: Edison and the Rise of Innovation by Leonard DeGraaf

Edison and the Rise of Innovation

author : leonard degraaf

pages : [hardcover] 272

why I picked this up: this book seemed different from the typical biography!

summary :

“Edison” presents, in intimate detail, the man who helped engineer the modern world. One of history’s most prolific inventors, and perhaps America’s first celebrity, Thomas Alva Edison did more than bring incandescent light into every household and industry; he created a world-renowned brand, raised capital to support research and business, and pursued patents for his 1,000+ inventions. Leonard DeGraaf, archivist for the Thomas Edison National Historical Park, chronicles Edison’s life and work, making lively and lavish use of never-before-published primary sources, including Edison’s personal and business correspondence, lab notebooks, drawings, and advertising material, along with both historic and modern photographs.

review :

If you’re looking for an interesting, informative read, look no further! Edison not only speaks of the famous inventor’s progress over time, it also includes insight into his family life. This biography is not only that, it’s inspirational. Seeing all of the years and energy that comes after the first spark of an idea, and then the problems that come with marketing inventions, humanizes Edison in a way I’ve never really encountered before. Edison truly couldn’t have accomplished anything if he hadn’t had a team behind him, supporting him throughout his life and helping him become the name that we all know today.

I loved how in this book it’s said that one of his daughters hated things written about her father that ignored his family life. This book is definitely the comprehensive look she was hoping for. There are so many seemingly insignificant anecdotes included that I particularly enjoyed.

I’ve learned about Edison in school but never before in a way like this. Inventing doesn’t seem very glamorous or fun now that I know the hard work that goes into it. Edison would spend years developing great ideas that no one would really want to buy. He’d work long hours and sometimes forget to come back home and would leave his family feeling neglected. There’s an interesting dynamic presented even through all of the precise information about Edison’s firsts and accomplishments.

If you’ve ever been interested in Edison as a historical figure or his life as an inventor, pick up this book. It’s full of fantastic pictures that capture his family life as well as his time inventing. This is an uncomplicated read that you’ll be sure to enjoy, whether you want to read it in one sitting or flip through it a few times!

5/5 stars

buy the book : amazon

click here to find out more about the book and also take a tour of thomas edison’s lab!


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