Cover Image: Edison's Ghosts

Edison's Ghosts

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Member Reviews

I'd love to thank the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me a chance at reading this book.

I loved this book so much that I'm gonna buy myself a copy of it. That's right. It's rare that I do that, but this author needs to release a part two - for me, and for everyone else that enjoyed it.

Think of Drunk History, with footnotes, snarky commentary, and easy to-go language / storytelling prose.

A lot of people I noticed who had issues with this book on goodreads were for an older crowd who thought there was too much swearing.

Fuck 'em. This book is for those who like swearing in their history.

There was also "but think of their achievements! their achievements". We've talked about their achievements for 100+ years, we're talking about how they were pieces of shit to their wives, relations, society in general. So air it all. They're dead. Life goes on. The world isn't gonna stop 'using' their knowledge or achievements.

I for one want more books by Katie Spalding and I'd gladly fund another round.

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This book was a humor-ish biography about inventors and scientists and some of the unknown mistakes they may have made along the way. This book was definitely written in a juvenile and amateur style and did not highlight tastefully the accomplishments by the people in the chapters.

Cannot recommend.

Thanks to Netgalley, Kate Spalding and Little Brown & Co for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Already available.

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While reading this work, I had thought that it was more about Edison...and instead it was not. I was going to send the review to Offscreen, but the editor of the magazine has not contacted me since my first review for them. I was not overly enthused by the first forty or so pages I read, so I discontinued reading it.

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Felt a little bit juvenile and kitschy, which I'm sure will work for some people but wasn't my style.

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I really like to finish the NetGalley books that I've been approved to review. Unfortunately I requested a few too many books this time and my request for Edison's Ghosts expired before I could finish (or really even get much of a start). So ... I used one of my Audible credits to purchase Edison's Ghosts. So ... I didn't review the Advance Read Copy, I reviewed the purchased audible copy. SO WORTH IT! LOVED IT!

Katie Spalding researched 30+ "geniuses" and exposes all the skeletons in their closets in the cheekiest way. I just love her writing style. Hilarious! And Susie Riddell does a perfect job narrating.

Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to review the Advance Review Copy; but the Audible version was reviewed. Thank you to the author Katie Spalding, narrator Susie Riddell and publisher Little, Brown & Company.

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Edison's Ghosts: The Untold Weirdness of History's Greatest Geniuses, by Katie Spalding, is a fascinating journey into the minds of some of our greatest thinkers, authors and scientists, such as Marie Curie, Einstein and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. You may be familiar with some of these stories; for example, Doyle's belief in the supernatural is well documented, and he even fell for doctored "photos" of fairies in an English garden. Other anecdotes are surprising and funny, and we learn that the geniuses we look up to have clay feet, after all. Not for young and easily offended readers, due to some language. Overall, a very enjoyable read.

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Edison's Ghosts: The Untold Weirdness of History's Greatest Geniuses, by Katie Spalding, takes readers on an intriguing journey through the lives of some of history's most (reputedly) brilliant minds--and shows you their, er, human side. I'd heard some of these stories before, such as Tesla falling in love with a pigeon, Marie Curie being all touchy-feely with radioactive rocks, and Arthur Conan Doyle believing so ardently in supernatural woo-woo that he was repeatedly duped by little girls and spirit mediums. But other stories were unexpected, such as Leonardo being basically the worst employee ever, Einstein nearly drowning himself many times through his inability to sail OR swim, and NASA engineers both forgetting that humans need to urinate and wildly overestimating how many tampons a woman might use in one cycle. Also, the author's genuinely enthusiastic love of maths is charming, and her language, while very salty (not for K-8 audiences!), is very funny.

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to review a temporary digital ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

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Edison’s Ghosts: The Untold Weirdness of History’s Greatest Geniuses by Katie Spalding encompasses 30 mini-biographies of famous geniuses that show their human side and the unbelievably naïveté, to be kind, mistakes they’ve made. Dr. Spalding is a mathematician and a writer, this is her first book.

I actually put this book on the back burner, but if I would have known how much I’d enjoy it I would have read it immediately. The book has my sense of humor and taught me several things I didn’t know.

Edison’s Ghosts by Katie Spalding attempts and succeeds to make those who are bigger than life more human. The author tells of some of their idiosyncrasies and missteps in a funny, relatable manner.

I was lucky enough to work with many very smart people and can attest that I witnessed occurrences that, to the not-so-smart-people seem to be mindboggling. However, I’ve always maintained many super-successful people are not “normal”, which is the reason for their fame, and maybe fortune.

I have read several of these stories in full-length biographies, Einstein, da Vinci, and Napoleon, for example. But this book is much more succinct and very entertaining, I even recommended it to my teenage children.

This is the type of book that I used to love as a pre-teen / teen reader. These stories also made dinner conversations much more entertaining than “how was school today?” type of inquiries. Entertaining stories like the ones in this book always seem to stick, and I know that my kids used several such stories (some in the book) for school projects or quiz bowls.

One of the aspects that I like is that the book makes its point that being very-smart and high-achiever does not necessarily make one a good human being. A statement that we miss in idolizing people who, like every else, have their own faults and weird idiosyncrasies.

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This book is a series of short vignettes about the world’s geniuses and the quirks they had. I was expecting this to be more of a long form story, but this is more just short interesting chapters. This would be a good before bed book to read a chapter or two since they are short and easy to read!

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Edison's Ghosts is a quick and humorous read about famous people doing/believing strange things. Overall, I really enjoyed Katie Spalding's humor and learning bizarre things about famous people. This is definitely a book to check out for anyone new to nonfiction or anyone who needs a bit of a break from life.

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My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher Little, Brown and Company for an advance copy of this book dealing with the quirks and foibles of some of history's most famous people, and how weird they really were.

Eccentric sounds like such a nasty term, but for many people this is the perfect word for them. In fact in some part of my family,in the rare time that my name comes up, the word eccentric is probably used about me quite freely. Along with a lot of other words I probably don't want to know about nor need to hear. Working retail I work and help many an eccentric everyday. Many of them are good if not great in some things. Smart, able to help program a phone, recommend the right book for any subject, or find that lost document a laptop keeps repeating is not there. And in their off time they might collect used fireworks from all 50 states, and catalog them by the scent of the explosive used. See the M-80s in Oregon smell different than the ones in Arizona, take a whiff. Most of the those people that educators use as examples in science, medicine, math and arts were eccentric. Or downright crazy, there is a thin line. Some kept radiation in their pockets, or ate gold. Some feared beans. A lot of them kept wild animals and made them alcoholics. Edison's Ghosts: The Untold Weirdness of History’s Greatest Geniuses by Katie Spalding tells their stories. From the weird, the difficult, the annoying, with really a lot of drunk animals tossed in.

The book is written in well order of appearance. Each chapter features a person famous for art, philosophy, science, politics, along wth a biographical sketch, a little bit about they are best known for, and much that biographers tend to downplay or omit entirely. Readers start in the ancient world with Pythagoras, known for his mathematical principle, which wasn't really his idea, his cult that was slaughtered to the last person, being Pythagoras, who couldn't escape from the mob because of his hatred of beans. Others include Leonardo da Vinci who had a habit of taking commissions for jobs, promising much, but never starting or finishing works, before he moved on to something else. In fact his most famous work the Mona Lisa, was considered unfinished as he tinkered with it up until his death. Tycho Brahe who lost his nose in a duel, taught a moose to drink, but failed to teach him how to go up stairs and died in a very awful way. Animals feature a lot as Lord Byron had a bear that Byron would take around from him, and probably was also a drinker. And many more are featured, along with their assortment of pets.

A different look at famous men, and some women. The chapters are informative about the people under discussion, but the focus is more on what sets them apart, and that is usually drunk animals. No some were pleasant all the time, some hurt people in horrific ways, and never really had to pay a price. And many were just odd. This is a good selection of people to focus on, most known from school, or movies, and quite a few used as examples. It's is nice to know that people are strange in many different ways. The writing is good, though the jokes skew British in a few ways, with references that might go over Americans heads. However there are plenty of jokes, so if one misses they are plenty more coming along.

The book is like the biographical books for kids the Who Was series, only with a lot more weirdos, and cursing. A fun book that would be the perfect gift for history or literature fans, or for writers looking to spice up their historical fiction books with some odd antics and real people.

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This book was so much fun! I really enjoyed reading stories about some of the worlds most famous inventors that you don't really hear about in school. The author made the stories funny and enjoyable! I would recommend this to anyone that is interested in historical figures.

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I'm somewhat particular about my nonfiction reads. I look for that perfect combination of interesting and exciting; the perfect blend of fascinating facts and a strong narrative voice. Funny helps too.
With this book, Spalding had exceeded expectations on every single account. And as far as funny goes, well...she simply knocked it out of the ballpark.
I've read books designated as humorous and seen standup less funny that this book. This book is freaking hilarious.
And it should be, really, because it's subject—well, subjects—is a variable barrel of laughs.
Long lauded as the greatest minds not just of their time but of all time, the geniuses of this book were totally and completely weird when it came to their personal lives. From quirky passions to flat-out dangerous pursuits, from randomly pedestrian foibles to outlandish claims, from character flaws to "can I get a straitjacket here?", chapter by chapter this book will show you how being smart doesn't always equate know, being smart. Not to mention demonstrate the complete absence of any parallels between being good at academic pursuits and being good at life.
It's weirdly reassuring in a way.
It's certainly wildly entertaining to read about. Absolutely one of the best nonfiction (or any) books I've read in some time. Loved it. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.

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Quirky and original, I loved it. Thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an advance readers copy of this book.

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What an unusual book! It presents geniuses throughout history by describing things they did or said that makes them appear to be odd or silly or downright dumb! Each chapter covers a different person, from those with worldwide fame - Galileo or da Vinci - to those with some fame - Hemingway or Lord Byron - to those with no fame (at least to me) - James Glaisher or Evariste Galois. The stories are funny, sometimes risqué, often brief. You can dip into this book, read a few chapters, go elsewhere for awhile, and then return for more chapters. It is unique and fascinating. Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for providing an ARC.

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I loved this book.Katie Spalding writes with a conversational tone and she is a great storyteller. It was very refreshing to read about the dark side of such accomplished people. The book also comprises a decent history of science although many of the stories are about non-scientists. Most importantly for me was that the book is very funny, right from the start, and it doesn’t let up. And by funny, I don’t mean there was a little humor, I mean the book was laugh-out-loud funny. Even the footnotes and acknowledgements are worth reading. I look forward to reading more Katie Spalding books. Thank you to Netgallet and Little, Brown and Company for the digital review copy.

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I really enjoyed reading this, it was what I was hoping for in a humorous book. I enjoyed each section and getting to know these people. Katie Spalding has a great writing style that worked in the book and I'm glad I got to read this.

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