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I. Asimov

(The Autobiography of Isaac Asimov #3)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,927 ratings  ·  121 reviews
Arguably the greatest science fiction writer who ever lived, Isaac Asimov also possessed one of the most brilliant and original minds of our time. His accessible style and far-reaching interests in subjects ranging from science to humor to history earned him the nickname "the Great Explainer." I. Asimov is his personal story—vivid, open, and honest—as only Asimov himself could t ...more
Paperback, 578 pages
Published January 1st 1995 by Bantam (first published 1994)
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Average rating 4.19  · 
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 ·  1,927 ratings  ·  121 reviews


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Dimitri
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
One of the best things about Asimov's story collections has always been his bio ditties. By the time I discovered his positronic universe (age 12, 1997) , the great man had already departed, but he was considerate enough to publish a full autobiography, recapitulating the decades of In Memory Yet Green and In Joy Still Felt before moving onto his twilight years.
It is not quite a replacement for the individual anecdotes that accompany his stories; the discussion on his work is not detailed e
...more
Craig
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What can one say about Asimov that he didn't say about himself.... over and over and over again? Why, nothing. He was a genius and an egoist and a great man and the face of the science fiction field for decades. He's suffered some posthumous criticism because of his attitudes that are now seen as sexist, but I would argue that he was very much a product of his times and shouldn't be judged by contemporary standards. His writings are always fascinating, the story of his life no less so than his f ...more
Sheila
Aug 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, owned
I just like myself, that's all, and there's nothing wrong with that. - Isaac Asimov


Isaac Asimov was a Russian-born, American science-fiction and non-fiction writer, who described himself as a technological optimist, writing books that tend to celebrate the triumphs of technology rather than its disaster. He is famous for his award-winning short story The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories. He also wrote I, Robot and the Foundation series, all of which I haven't read. Perhaps, I'll never be able to.

But I have no regret
...more
Robert Lomas
May 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle-stuff
I have long been a fan of Asimov's science fiction and have also enjoyed his non-fiction. He has a clear and deceptively simple style of writing which is appealing and engaging which keeps you turning the pages.
This is one of the last books he wrote and it is wonderful roller-coaster of a read. Asimov tells the story of his life as it was. He makes no bones about not liking to travel and how his hard working childhood gave him a work ethic which never failed until he died.
This book,
...more
سعید سیمرغ
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I dare say that ‘I, Asimov’ is the most impressive book I’ve ever read and it’s influence to becoming to what I am now is undeniable. I had read it 5 times and I can count comparing the English text and Persian translated text as sixth and seventh times. I hope there will be chances of reading it still more times.
JonRaven
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5/5

Thank you Janet Asimov, and thank you Isaac Asimov. And thanks to all the many others scattered throughout this book and those involved in it. It was intriguing and ultimately uplifting.

Asimov was a legend in so many ways and I am all too eager to defend any who would say a negative word about one of my heroes. While much of his life transpired prior to my own birth, excepting about his last 6 years or so, I read his work with reverence and deep appreciation, for he tr
...more
Anya
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I never want to meet anyone I would consider a celebrity. This autobiography has not changed my mind it has rather cemented this sentiment more firmly. This doesn't mean that my admiration for Isaac Asimov has dwindled - not in the least- but I was yet again reminded that idolizing or idealizing someone because of their creative output does a disservice to the complexity and nuanced nature of the human being behind that output.

It is easy to believe one "knows" a celebrity from the th
...more
Anna
Jan 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When reading the book, there were several similarities between Isaac and myself. I really enjoyed reading. I heard his voice clearly throughout the entire book. It wasn't rushed or artificial or too wordy. It flowed at the most perfect pace, in the most delicate of tones. I fell like he and I were true friends. :)
Felipe Dias
This is a great book to get familiarized with Asimov's life and with the scope of his writings. It is easy to read this book and think Asimov was self involved and full of himself. He was undeniably self involved, but I think justifiably so and only to a point. In this book, Asimov is fair in his judgment of the things he went through. He acknowledges his successes (and they were, indeed, plentiful) as well as the failures. Also, it is an autobiography after all, which makes sounding self involv ...more
Arun Divakar
Mar 24, 2017 rated it liked it
At a time in my life when I was going through a slump in reading, the one book that pulled me out of it was Asimov’s Robot stories. This was also the first time that I had read Asimov and quite enjoyed his uncluttered and simple writing style. A quick glance through my read list also confirmed the presence of Asimov on through almost every other year that I have been a member of this site. Out of sheer habit or interest (Yet to figure out which) I do pick up Asimov books every now and then. The ...more
James
Oct 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: writers, sci fi fans
This one was better than I expected. I made my way through the 563 pages during a recent overseas trip.

I was turned off in the initial chapters because Asimov has such an ego. However, as the pages and personal anecdotes passed, so to did the megalomania (for example, the dire need to see his name in print was just appalling). I even grew closer and closer to Isaac, and I couldn't help but pity the poor guy almost like you would a distant relative or a close childhood friend. You just overlook
...more
Joan
I enjoyed this so much! This is Asimov as I remember him. Clear and simple in his writing. He also, while obviously thinking highly of himself, was perfectly aware of his faults to an unusual degree. Remember, this was a guy often compared to Leonardo Da Vinci in the huge range of his interests and writings. I do not recommend this to someone who has not read Asimov in the past. It likely wouldn't make a huge amount of sense or interest. This is for someone who has read several of the "Good Doct ...more
Tina
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Asimov's dry, matter of fact way of speaking is perfect. He's the ultimate joker, in that he's not quite sure why you're laughing since he is being sincere. I read this before any of his other work, and it led to finding it incredibly easy to hear his voice in his writing, making it all that much more enjoyable. Remember, kids; it's not vanity if it's true.
Thibault Delavaud
Nov 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very touching book. Asimov was very proud of himself of course but he knew perfectly his strentghs and weaknesses. He talks very openly in this book about his success and failures. He analyses his life with lucidity. Reading this book really helps to understand who was the man behind Foundation and the Robot series and most of all, why Asimov was such a science lover and a beliver in progress.
Dawson
Jul 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
If you like Asimov, it behooves you to read his autobiography.
Carina
"The man is very immodest, but he has much to be immodest about". Asimov himself quotes a critic of his as saying this about him. Honestly it is true, and is going to be the truest thing I can say about this book - Asimov was not a modest man, he refers to himself as a child genius multiple times and repeatedly mentions how prolific he was as a writer, and yet there is something about the way he writes that lets you know he isn't bragging when he says that. He's just being honest and upfront (he ...more
Glen Engel-Cox
While I read both Robot novels as well as the Foundation trilogy in my formative years, I was never an Isaac Asimov fan, instead inclined towards Robert A. Heinlein, whose mid 1960s novels of time travel and sex captivated my attention much more. (Of the other of the big three, Arthur C. Clarke, I had read only one novel, so clearly didn't prefer him either.) As I moved into my college years, I formed an irrational resentment towards Asimov, based somewhat on the new novels that instantly became bestsellers yet ...more
Gigs Stoyanova
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I took my time with this book out of respect for the author. At the beginning there were some doubts that I might get disappointed in my favorite writer, but the more I read, the more I realised how personal and intimate thoughts he shared and felt that he had trust in his readers. He wrote the book in a difficult time and the pages where he sounded a bit negative and pessimistic were in the end all explained. Overall, I am happy I saw alittle bit of Asimov's universe.
Steve
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Having read many Asimov books over the years I found it wonderful to learn about this prolific author and what made him tick. His writing style made a collection of potentially random anecdotes flow together in a very interesting way. As autobiographies go, this was by far the most transparent account I have read. Dr. Asimov has no shortage of opinions, and whether or not I agreed with him did not affect my enjoyment of the book. The sections were he talked about the early days of science fictio ...more
Neil
Apr 19, 2010 rated it liked it
An interesting autobiography, from the perspective of a man coming near to the end. That perspective colors everything here, as does the fact that this is Asimov's second go at his autobiography. He glosses over most of the events of his youth, when most of his best fiction writing happened, instead focusing on things like speaking engagements, clubs, and the prolific, diverse stream of anthologies and nonfiction projects where most of his literary energy went in the last half of his life.

Asimo
...more
ABC
Jun 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teens-and-adults
This book is a real bargain if you consider that Isaac Asimov commanded thousands of dollars for a forty minute speech. It ends on a touching note and it made me cry. It is all the more poignant because in addition to his other health problems, he contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion but kept it a secret. (You can google for more info.)

It is a very long book and I read it over a long period of time. Each chapter is like a little essay, so it doesn't really have to be read at once
...more
Kristy
Sep 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Interesting at first, hilarious as he exposes his own arrogance cheerfully while at the same time mentioning every person in his life who has meant something to him, and, finally, boring. He freely admits his own favorite subject is himself, in great detail, and by the end of the 547 pages, I was tired of the subject. I learned a lot of interest, though, especially about the heyday of the science fiction and fantasy magazines that sprouted when he was beginning his career. I learned how prolific ...more
Geoffrey
Nov 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I thoroughly enjoyed this book about Asimov's life. Since reading this, I have started reading other biographies and autobiographies of science fiction writers. Asimov's books on science and astronomy were among the elements that inspired me to become a scientist, so I owe Asimov a big debt. Furthermore, I find myself drawn to reread his Foundation series and Robots series on a regular basis. Somethings about his writing annoy me, but I keep coming back because there is a compelling vision there ...more
Jim Razinha
Feb 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Asimov certainly had no lack of self confidence but was quick to point out his own shortcomings. A nice, if long, read in which Asimov shares his memories and thoughts on his life. Reading about Lester del Rey, John Campbell, Pohl, Sprague de Camp, Heinlein and so many associated with the early years of science fiction through Asimov's lens adds to my list of authors I want to get to in the next few years (Asimov's Robot and Foundation arc in 2011, Heinlein now in 2012 and Clarke for 2013, then? ...more
Vicki
Aug 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autobiography
This book was fascinating! Isaac has long been one of my favorite authors (my favorite book of his is "The Positronic Man"), but I never realized how prolific a writer he was. He wrote over 400 books on many different subjects, both fiction and non-fiction. I also learned that he had many of the same life views that I do. I truly wish I could have met him. This is a great book for not only Asimov fans, but general science fiction fans and people who like to write.
Jerry-Book
My son was reading Foundation for his English class. I decided to read his memoirs. I had read his books as a teenager. He wrote this as he was dying. Nonetheless, his description of the growth of the Science Fiction community is fascinating: the Futurians, Heinlein, Campbell, the Back Door Spiders, etc.
Ian
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autobiography
A fascinating read. Asimov's autobiography convinced me that he was a great writer. His idea of a great day was to arrive early at the post office, collect and go through his mail, and then retire to his attic where he would write into the evening. Yet, he led a rich and varied life. His story, about himself, his world, and the people in it, reveal a worthy life.
Joy  Cagil
I, Asimov is the story of a genius who knew he was a genius and basked under the idea of it. I started reading this book because I love to read authors’ autobiographies and Asimov was an author I didn't know much about.

The author talks of his early life experiences up until the 18th chapter and he refers to them every now and then until the end. After that, he names many other authors and publishers, giving each one a short chapter. Among those are Frederik Pohl, John Wood Campbell, Cyril M. Ko
...more
Tamar Varteressian
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have never loved an autobiography quite this much, I kept putting off the last few chapters just to avoid the whole thing ending.
Peter
May 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Just a wonderful auto-bio in which AA talks about simply everything with his usual understated candor. A very funny and talented man.
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Isaac Asimov was a Russian-born, American author, a professor of biochemistry, and a highly successful writer, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books.

Professor Asimov is generally considered one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. He has works publish
...more

Other books in the series

The Autobiography of Isaac Asimov (4 books)
  • In Memory Yet Green: The Autobiography, 1920-1954
  • In Joy Still Felt: The Autobiography, 1954-1978
  • It's Been a Good Life
“I received the fundamentals of my education in school, but that was not enough. My real education, the superstructure, the details, the true architecture, I got out of the public library. For an impoverished child whose family could not afford to buy books, the library was the open door to wonder and achievement, and I can never be sufficiently grateful that I had the wit to charge through that door and make the most of it. Now, when I read constantly about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that the door is closing and that American society has found one more way to destroy itself.” 273 likes
“The Earth should not be cut up into hundreds of different sections, each inhabited by a self-defined segment of humanity that considers its own welfare and its own "national security" to be paramount above all other consideration.

I am all for cultural diversity and would be willing to see each recognizable group value its cultural heritage. I am a New York patriot, for instance, and if I lived in Los Angeles, I would love to get together with other New York expatriates and sing "Give My Regards to Broadway."

This sort of thing, however, should remain cultural and benign. I'm against it if it means that each group despises others and lusts to wipe them out. I'm against arming each little self-defined group with weapons with which to enforce its own prides and prejudices.

The Earth faces environmental problems right now that threaten the imminent destruction of civilization and the end of the planet as a livable world. Humanity cannot afford to waste its financial and emotional resources on endless, meaningless quarrels between each group and all others. there must be a sense of globalism in which the world unites to solve the real problems that face all groups alike.

Can that be done? The question is equivalent to: Can humanity survive?

I am not a Zionist, then, because I don't believe in nations, and because Zionism merely sets up one more nation to trouble the world. It sets up one more nation to have "rights" and "demands" and "national security" and to feel it must guard itself against its neighbors.

There are no nations! There is only humanity. And if we don't come to understand that right soon, there will be no nations, because there will be no humanity. ”
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