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Out of My Later Years: The Scientist, Philosopher, and Man Portrayed Through His Own Words

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  777 ratings  ·  51 reviews

Albert Einstein, among the greatest scientists of all time, was also a man of profound thought and deeply humane feelings. His collected essays offer a fascinating and moving look at one of the twentieth century's leading minds.

Covering a fifteen year period from 1934 to 1950, the contents of this book have been drawn from Einstein's articles, addresses, letters and assort

Hardcover, 282 pages
Published June 30th 2005 by Castle Books (first published 1950)
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3.98  · 
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 ·  777 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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Feb 09, 2015 marked it as didn-t-finish  ·  review of another edition
While the concept of Out Of My Later Years fascinates me, the execution did not. It's not the books fault. This is a collection of letters from the last years of Einstein's life. I realized after starting this that while I know Einstein's name I don't know much about his life. My ignorance made this book confusing since Einstein wasn't writing to the uneducated masses of the future. He was writing to the people of his own time on issues they would be familiar with. I might come back to this book ...more
Daniel S
"Man owes his strength in the struggle for existence to the fact that he is a socially living animal" [pg.34.]

"Reason, of course, is weak, when measured against its never-ending task. Weak, indeed, compared with the follies and passions of mankind, which, we must admit, almost entirely control our human destinies, in great things and small. Yet the works of the understanding outlast the noisy bustling generations and spread light and warmth across the centuries." [pg.219]

"It is the goal of every
Mark Wilkerson
May 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Not knowing much about Albert Einstein other than a few "E=mc squared" and a few memorable quotes, I took a shot at this book of essays to learn more. And what a treat this read was!

The book is organized well; for example, if you are interested in his views on politics or society, there are sections for that. If you are interested in his views on science, or in finding out about his work in physics or astronomy, there is a section on that also.

This book is a nice way to introduce yourself to th
Khawaja Saud Masud
Jul 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: baba
Reading Einstein's self-written essays was a treat. Some of the technical stuff was a bit of a bumpy ride while mostly everything non-technical was fairly digestible. He spent a lot of time evaluating how society should be organized and the need for a one world government to mitigate wars between powerful states. While some may view his thought process as potentially naive, I still found his exploration of sustainable humanitarian models refreshing.

I would recommend this as a quick and interesti
Brett Bavar
Dec 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Fascinating to look into the mind of this iconic genius. After serving a pivotal role in the discoveries which led to the invention of nuclear bombs, and recognizing he could have easily been among the millions of European Jews killed in World War II, he seems to have taken a personal interest in practical plans to end war. His ideas about a supranational government are attractive, though probably overly idealistic. I think it's probably unfortunate that his ideas in this arena never really caug ...more
Jan 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading Out of My Later Years a little over a year ago. I’ve been reading it off and on ever since.

This collection is divided into six sections: Convictions and Beliefs, in which Einstein shares his thoughts on religion, ethics, education, and liberty; Science, in which he explains the state of physics in the mid-Twentieth Century, including a great layman’s explanation of his Theories of Relativity; Public Affairs, in which he explores issues as diverse as race, class inequity, the ro
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: politics, history
Interesting, yet intensely dry. A real mixed bag.
Interesting to see Einstein's views on a variety of subjects, but his writing style is pure ponderous college lecture so that most of the articles can be really had to get through.

Amazing how progressive he is on so many issues, especially considering when these were written.

Nov 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to write, what brilliant writing! But then, it is a book of essays written by the most well-known genius in history, so I feel like anything aside from "This book was written by Albert Einstein" is just being superfluous with phrases varying on the theme that "Hey, You Should Read This Book Because It Was Written by Dr Albert Einstein"
Aug 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: biographies
As the description states, this is not so much a book but rather a collection of writings by Einstein on a variety of subjects, written over a period of 15 years. The book is divided into several sections where Einstein writings could be classified as philosophical, scientific and biographical.

In his philosophical writings, Einstein muses on subjects like religion, government, social justice and education. I found this to be the most intriguing part of the book and found much of his wisdom to be
May 28, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a collection of different writings from Albert Einstein. I learned that besides being a world-renown physicist, he also:
- advocated for world peace through an idealistic proposal of having a world government (he didn't think the UN could do much given the precedent of the League of Nations)
- spoke out on race relations in America
- had proposals for overhauling education
- supported the Labour Zionist movement (including the creation of the State of Israel; he preferred the Arabs and Jews
Feb 06, 2018 rated it liked it
A collection of thoughtful essays by some guy.

I read it twenty+ years ago - what sticks with me is the insight that morality is the province of philosophy and religion, whereas law is the province of government. There's a lot of overlap, but for different purposes. Law is there to protect members of society from becoming victims - as members of an entity more powerful than oneself, knowing that society protects the individual from others is necessary. Philosophy and religion, which I'll compress
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book included both essays and transcriptions of various speaking events- some were interesting, some were physics above my level, however it was all highly repetitive- eg: an essay on zionism, followed by a transcription on the same subject, followed by a writing on the same theme, written to a slighly different audience, resulting in a tedious slog of a read.
May 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Many of the writings are still relevant today. It was interesting to see his perspective on a variety of topics including education and socialism/capitalism. The writing on a one world government became a bit reparative and the sections on physics were a bit dense for me. the sections on Judaism were also fascinating as I have a limited exposure to the topic. Overall I would recommend it.
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have mixed feelings regarding this book... many parts were enlightening and many others made me think a lot about science, society, politics, etc. Still, there is something in the character, which doesn't seem right.
Mary Mcqueen
Dec 21, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Rambling. I got bored. May finish later as it’s an e-book.
Jan 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
This is a collection of Einstein's writings and speeches on various topics, such as science, education, politics, Judaism, and kudos to other scientists. The real take-away I got from this book is that just because someone is a scientific genius does not mean they are a political genius.

Einstein was a rabid advocate of a world government, and a supporter of socialism. At first, I figured his misguided views were reasonable given the alarmism at the time about nuclear warfare, and his role in the
Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read other books by Albert Einstein but in this particular book he reveals an intimate side of himself not found in other selections. He was aware of him impending death and wanted to share his thoughts and ideas on a multitude of subjects with anyone who cared to listen. This is an intimate look at a man through his work.

I was amazed at his viewpoints on the educational system and urge every parent and educator, that if you read nothing else in your life, READ THIS SECTION! It will chan
Oct 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wow! Albert Einstein's essays on science, economics, society, people of great influence, and the Jewish people. Would have given the book five stars except for the essays on science, where my lack of knowledge caused by eyes to glaze over. The remaining essays are very enlightening, showing the great scope of Einstein's intellect. I found some of his social and economic essays utopian with his disregard to man's historical characteristics. Most of these essays were written from the late 30's to ...more
A little disappointing--although I'll admit that when I first picked this up I was expecting a memoir, so I had that wrong. And just as I turn the last page I find in the "acknowledgments" what was direly needed throughout the book--the date and purpose of each essay. That was my biggest criticism. Aside from that I have little to say. The science was beyond me but is a small portion of the book. Einstein's political, social and spiritual expressions seemed to me idealistic to the point of naive ...more
Oct 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Good series of essays that gave some insight into his thinking. I had to skip the ones that went into detail about physics as these were boring and heavy for a non-math person. His philosophical essays were of much greater interest to me. It would have been nice if the editors had dated the essays in addition to the bibliography in the back. Since he was discussing his ideas/beliefs in light of events going on at the time, having the date would have put his comments in context.
Marie Schuh
I'm not a fan of reading philosophy books, of which this one is. However, it is because of Einstein that I purchased this book. His writings are up there and take an active mind to make sense, but they are worth reading. I feel as though it was easier reading just a chapter or two a day than barreling through, as it's easy to get overwhelmed by this book.
Robert Seaman
Feb 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a thoughtful, most brilliant and gentle man. This work is not clear evidence of his grand mind,but also of his empathy for all men and his simply stated way of obtaining truly democratic goals. This is a treasure trove of Einstein's most important and intimate work. A renaissance man, if ever there was!
Virgilio Pigliucci
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
I suggest this book for the super Einstein fans out there. The rest.... I am not sure this book is right for you.
I kept looking for something special that did not come.... I might have just had way too high expectations for this reading.

The book, which is mostly a collection of Einstein writings ( including a lot of english errors ) is a good insight on his genius mind, nothing more.
Kung Tsu
May 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
I liked his personal pieces over his scientific chapters. His level of interpretations to grasp reality and other dimensions beyond us puny humans is interesting. Overall, a good read. I am not sure i would read it again but i could review his political perspective again. A 1950s book. The guy is a genius.
Steven Harbeck
Good book but a bit over my head on some things. He was brilliant and some of his thoughts and calculations without context and examples do not make sense to me. Very interesting ideas on almost every subject we face as a society.
Xiaojuan Wang
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Solute to the one of the greatest scientists in the world! I was overwhelmed by the strong logic underlying every essay. Not only the inspiring ideas on science, education religion,etc., but also the writing style are worth studying!!!
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift, and one must take what nature gives as one finds it.
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
a truly amazing book! a true genius! a simple man! giant of thought!
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
One of the few people I wish we're still alive, so I could meet them. Such a brilliant and interesting man.
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating collection of speeches and essays from Einstein on a wide variety of social and moral issues. Really enjoyed his essays on education, in particular.
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In 1879, Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Zurich by 1909. His 1905 paper explaining the photoelectric effect, the basis of electronics, earned him the Nobel Prize in 1921. His first paper on Special Relativity Theory, also published in 1905, changed the world. After the rise of the Nazi party, Einstein made Princeton his permanent home, becoming ...more
“All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.” 331 likes
“It was my good fortune to be linked with Mme. Curie through twenty years of sublime and unclouded friendship. I came to admire her human grandeur to an ever growing degree. Her strength, her purity of will, her austerity toward herself, her objectivity, her incorruptible judgement— all these were of a kind seldom found joined in a single individual... The greatest scientific deed of her life—proving the existence of radioactive elements and isolating them—owes its accomplishment not merely to bold intuition but to a devotion and tenacity in execution under the most extreme hardships imaginable, such as the history of experimental science has not often witnessed.” 14 likes
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