Walter Isaacson

President and CEO of the Aspen Institute

Best-selling Author, "The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution" (2014) and "Steve Jobs" (2011)

Best-selling author and highly acclaimed journalist, Isaacson gives voice to the historical figures and business icons who have shaped and transformed our nation and the world.

English

As President/CEO of the Aspen Institute, former chairman/CEO of CNN and former managing editor of TIME magazine, Walter Isaacson’s passion goes well beyond the news.

His new book, The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution (October 2014), is a biographical tale of the people who invented the computer, Internet, and the other great innovations of our time, and will be a must-read from Wall Street to Silicon Valley to Main Street. Kirkus Reviewssays of The Innovators, “A panoramic history of technological revolution….Walter Isaacson weaves prodigious research and deftly crafted anecdotes into a vigorous, gripping narrative about the visionaries whose imaginations and zeal continue to transform our lives.

Isaacson is also the author of the only authorized biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, titled Steve Jobs (2011), which was at the top of The New York Times best sellers list for months. Based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs—as well as interviews with more than a 100 family members, friends, adversaries, competitors and colleagues—Isaacson tells a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing and digital publishing.

The movie, Steve Jobs, based on Isaacson’s biography and written by legendary Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin will be in theatres on October 9, 2015. Isaacson is also known for giving voice to America’s historical figures and how the lessons they imparted still apply today.

His other best-selling books include Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, in which he analyzes the events that shaped American history and shows how their ripple effects continue to transform the world today; Kissinger: A Biography; and co-author of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made.

He is chair emeritus of Teach for America, which recruits recent college graduates to teach in underserved communities. From 2005-2007 he was the vice-chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, which oversaw the rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. He was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate to serve as the chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which runs Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other international broadcasts of the United States, a position he held from 2009 to 2012. He is on the board of United Airlines, Tulane University, the Overseers of Harvard University, the New Orleans Tricentennial Commission, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Society of American Historians, and My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.

In 2012, TIME named Isaacson as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. He shares with audiences the fascinating stories and anecdotes from The Innovators, the amazing life of Steve Jobs and others, and how they changed the worlds of technology and business.

He will also discuss current global events within the framework of history’s valuable lessons and offers a wealth of insight culled from more than two decades of journalistic experience—both in the field and as head of two of the world’s most influential news organizations.

The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

In this presentation from his new book, The Innovators, which is destined to be the standard history of the digital revolution and a guide to how innovation really works, Walter Isaacson tells the story of the people who created the computer and the Internet. What talents allowed certain inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their disruptive ideas into realities? What led to their creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail? Isaacson begins with Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s and explores the fascinating personalities that created our current digital revolution, such as Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, J.C.R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Robert Noyce, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Tim Berners-Lee, and Larry Page. He tells the story of how their minds worked, what made them so creative and how their ability to collaborate and master the art of teamwork made them even more creative. For an era that seeks to foster innovation, creativity, and teamwork,
Isaacson reveals to audiences how these renowned figures actually made it happen.

Steve Jobs: A Life

Based on his best-selling book, Steve Jobs, Isaacson shares with audiences the riveting story of the roller-coaster life and intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing and digital publishing. At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the 21st century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering. Isaacson takes audiences on the journey over the past two years in writing the book and the story about the man himself which is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership and values. Jobs put nothing off limits for Isaacson when working on the book, encouraging the people he knew to speak honestly, and speaks candidly himself, sometimes brutally so, about the people he worked with and competed against. His friends, foes and colleagues provided Isaacson an unvarnished view of the passions, perfectionism, obsessions, artistry, devilry and compulsion for control that shaped Jobs’ approach to business and the innovative products that resulted.

Timeless Leadership

What secrets do history’s luminaries share? Esteemed author Walter Isaacson—who was given exclusive and unprecedented access to the subject of his most recent book, Steve Jobs, is widely considered to be one of today’s most insightful biographers. Isaacson’s ability to brilliantly capture the unique cultural currents surrounding America’s greatest leaders and creative thinkers is showcased in his best-selling books on Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Ben Franklin and Henry Kissinger. Bringing audiences closer to these remarkable figures, Isaacson discusses the vital information that can be learned from them—including the common traits they share and how those traits can be used to empower today’s business leaders. Sharing fascinating details of how success came to each of these men through the questioning of conventional wisdom and a willingness to explore new ideas, he provides an astute analysis of timeless leadership principles and the lessons they can teach us on fostering the creativity necessary to compete in a new century of globalization.

Ben Franklin and America's Virtues

Einstein - His Life and Universe

The Media and American Culture

Steve Jobs

Walter Isaacson’s “enthralling” (The New Yorker) worldwide bestselling biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs—the inspiration for the movie Steve Jobs starring Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, and Jeff Daniels, directed by Danny Boyle with a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin.

Based on more than forty interviews with Steve Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than 100 family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing. Isaacson’s portrait touched millions of readers.

At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.

Although Jobs cooperated with the author, he asked for no control over what was written. He put nothing off-limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. He himself spoke candidly about the people he worked with and competed against.

His friends, foes, and colleagues offer an unvarnished view of the passions, perfectionism, obsessions, artistry, devilry, and compulsion for control that shaped his approach to business and the innovative products that resulted.

His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values.

Steve Jobs

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

Following his blockbuster biography of Steve Jobs, The Innovators is Walter Isaacson’s revealing story of the people who created the computer and the Internet. It is destined to be the standard history of the digital revolution and an indispensable guide to how innovation really happens.

What were the talents that allowed certain inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their visionary ideas into disruptive realities? What led to their creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail?

In his masterly saga, Isaacson begins with Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s. He explores the fascinating personalities that created our current digital revolution, such as Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, J.C.R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Robert Noyce, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Tim Berners-Lee, and Larry Page.

This is the story of how their minds worked and what made them so inventive. It’s also a narrative of how their ability to collaborate and master the art of teamwork made them even more creative.

For an era that seeks to foster innovation, creativity, and teamwork, The Innovators shows how they happen.

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

In this authoritative and engrossing full-scale biography, Walter Isaacson, bestselling author of Einstein and Steve Jobs, shows how the most fascinating of America's founders helped define our national character.

Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us, the one who seems made of flesh rather than marble. In a sweeping narrative that follows Franklin’s life from Boston to Philadelphia to London and Paris and back, Walter Isaacson chronicles the adventures of the runaway apprentice who became, over the course of his eighty-four-year life, America’s best writer, inventor, media baron, scientist, diplomat, and business strategist, as well as one of its most practical and ingenious political leaders. He explores the wit behind Poor Richard’s Almanac and the wisdom behind the Declaration of Independence, the new nation’s alliance with France, the treaty that ended the Revolution, and the compromises that created a near-perfect Constitution.

In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklin’s amazing life, showing how he helped to forge the American national identity and why he has a particular resonance in the twenty-first century.

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made - coauthor

A captivating blend of personal biography and public drama, The Wise Men introduces six close friends who shaped the role their country would play in the dangerous years following World War II. They were the original best and brightest, whose towering intellects, outsize personalities, and dramatic actions would bring order to the postwar chaos and leave a legacy that dominates American policy to this day: Averell Harriman, the freewheeling diplomat and Roosevelt’s special envoy to Churchill and Stalin; Dean Acheson, the secretary of state who was more responsible for the Truman Doctrine than Truman and for the Marshall Plan than General Marshall; George Kennan, self-cast outsider and intellectual darling of the Washington elite; Robert Lovett, assistant secretary of war, undersecretary of state, and secretary of defense throughout the formative years of the Cold War; John McCloy, one of the nation’s most influential private citizens; and Charles Bohlen, adroit diplomat and ambassador to the Soviet Union.

The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made - coauthor

Einstein: The Life of a Genius

From his remarkable theory of relativity and the famous equation E=mc2 to his concept of a unified field theory, no one has contributed as much to science in the last century as Albert Einstein. Drawing on new research and reproducing documents only recently made available, Einstein reveals the process behind the work and the man behind the science: his early years and experiments in Germany, his marriages and children, his role in the development of the atomic bomb, and his involvement with civil rights groups in the United States.

Einstein: The Life of a Genius