I recently finished Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson. I’ve long been intrigued by Leonardo and his seemingly limitless curiosity. I think I decided to finally pick up this book due to the release of another Isaacson biography that I don’t really have a desire to read — Elon Musk (cue booing sounds).
While I appreciated learning about Leonardo’s various endeavors and various aspects of his personal life, I found myself distracted by Isaacson’s narrative style. Maybe I’ve read too many of his books as of late (Benjamin Franklin, Einstein, Steve Jobs, Innovators, and Code Breaker), but I’ve found that his method of telling a biography has become somewhat repetitive.
That said, the book isn’t without its merits. The accounts of Leonardo’s projects, especially insights into various works such as his anatomical studies, the Last Supper and the Mona Lisa held my attention. These serve as reminders of da Vinci’s unique contributions to both art and science.
For those unfamiliar with Isaacson’s previous works, this biography might come off as more enlightening. But as someone who’s journeyed through his other books, there was a sense of “been there, read that.”
Overall, “Leonardo da Vinci” earns a 3 out of 5 from me. Informative, but perhaps not the standout biography of Leonardo I was hoping for.