My Inventions

ISBN: 1599869942
ISBN 13: 9781599869940
By: Nikola Tesla

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Reader's Thoughts

Nicholas Griffith

This is short and entertaining for anyone who knows anything of Tesla. It's not well written and it shows clearly the dichotomy present in a socially infantile but intellectually revolutionary mind; the same mind that helped create so much of what we use today from LED lights to wi-fi. As always, it is the things he doesn't say in this book that cause one to read it more deeply; almost everything he writes is akin to a patient vomiting their childhood experiences for psychoanalysis. One is reminded of Nietzsche in this regard; at once Saturnine from great professional experience though defunct in the skills necessary for even the most simplistic relationships. Great for a cosmic laugh.


Quick short read. On the technical side it went above my head on occasion but over all it was very interesting to get a look inside Tesla's head and see how he thought.


A very interesting read written by the master himself. I really enjoyed learning more about his childhood and the mischief he caused. There has been an attempt by some authors to turn the man into myth, there are so many books dealing with conspiracy theories and projects that have never been proven out to be real. It was a relief to read a short work by Nikola himself. It's a shame he was never able to achieve his master goals, he was a true humanitarian. The world would have been a better place for his efforts.


Interesting? Yes. Modest? Not so much. Now I see where his rock-star-aurea comes from. Obviously I didn't get all the description of the machines and engineering projects, but sure Tesla was ambitious.


This collection of six autobiographical essays and three adorably misguided scientific papers offers a good deal of insight into the mad scientist who invented the twentieth century, but it can be rather difficult to get through. As it progresses, Tesla spends less time discussing his thrilling early exploits (the young prodigy was constantly in mortal peril) and more expounding upon his scientific discoveries and supposed breakthroughs. Not only are the technical details terribly dry (and frustratingly unaccompanied by his diagrams), but many of them are laughably erroneous. The more autobiographical portions are quite engaging, but they end too soon.


What a bizarre little book. Tesla has always seemed to me someone who existed in a space between our world and another unfathomable place, brought here by a glitch in dimensions or something. This loose memoir confirms my suspicions :). And not only because of passages like this: "I had a brother who was gifted to an extraordinary degree; one of those rare phenomena of mentality which biological investigation has failed to explain. His premature death left my earth parents disconsolate." No, it's also how differently he thought about inventing and engineering than everyone else. It's not particularly well-written in the standard sense (and my copy, at least, was ATROCIOUSLY edited). But that's not really what it's about anyway. It's about getting the chance to spend time with a quirky genius.

Matt Jarvis

A fascinating read. I found it best not to try and understand every detail, and he certainly makes some giant leaps of imagination but you can feel Tesla's passion in the colour of his anecdotes and explanations. His curiousity is infectious! I read this in a single sitting I was so engaged and I will visit it again.

Rene Velocirapt0r

While by no means was this book as thorough as it could have been, both in terms of details about his life and experiments, its not often you get to read such a beautifully written retelling from behind the scenes of genius, especially by the person himself. Diagrams and further explanations might have completed this book if a proper understanding of who he was or what incredible leaps of thought and invention he bounded through and how they affected the world is what you were expecting. But personally what I enjoyed the most was realising the tenderness that comes from being so intensely creative and intelligent, without dehumanizing him into just a list of inventions and influences. Definitely worth a read, just for the unexpected whimsy and his honest concern for humanity. Also: incendiary arc! Hell yes

Cassandra Kay Silva

Interesting man with a lot of contributions to modern technology and thought. I wish the book was more comprehensive, it was difficult to get into some of his discoveries when frankly I couldn't have enough of an explanation to really grasp all of them.


Amazing book. This book offers a glimpse into the mind of the great genius. It was delightful to read the many anecdotes that Tesla gave of his childhood and of his life. Tesla also revealed some truly spectacular things about himself in this book such as how he could memorize entire books with the utmost clarity and had extremely good visualization powers. The most fascinating thing I discovered in this book was the fact that Tesla predicted so many of the war techniques used in WWII along with many of the inventions that run the world today. His theory of automaton accurately describes artificial intelligence and computing software that Tesla claimed would allow nations to bomb each other from miles away. Tesla also explicitly predicts the use of drones in military combat very explicitly (he obviously does not use the term) through this theory as well which are now widely used today. This book is a treat for anyone who wants to delve into the mind of history's most recent geniuses. Tesla, in his own words, delves into his inventions, the childhood moments that shaped him, his opinion on the politics of his time (League of Nations), his thoughts on spirituality and the supernatural, and the plethora of inventions that he had been working on but could find no sponsor as they were too far ahead of his time.

Jonathan Carlisle

If you want to discover all the ways that Nikola Tesla influenced our lives today, this is not that book. If you want a detailed historical account of his life, this is not that book. What it is, and it's everything I hoped it to be, is an intimate glimpse at how he ticked and his hypothesis on what made him tick that way. Other biographies would describe Tesla anywhere from a genius to an eccentric, from a man-out-of-time to a man disconnected from reality, from a man aware of his capabilities to a man of arrogance. Any one of those may be true, but there is no point of reference until you read it straight from the man himself. This should be the starting point of any research into the legacy of Nikola Tesla.


MY INVENTIONS: The Autobiography of Nicola Tesla. (1919; this ed. 1982). Nicola Tesla. ***. Of the various accomplishments that Tesla could brag about, writing would certainly not be one of them. This “autobiography” is a collation of six articles that Tesla wrote for the magazine, “Electrical Experimenter” in 1919. He traces his life from his early days in Croatia, where he was born and raised, to his achievements in the world of electrical inventions. The things that he reveals in the early chapters give you the impression that he suffered from some form of mental illness or, perhaps, epilepsy. You’d have to read a true biography of his to find out. In this book, he simply documents the ‘spells’ that came over him while a child in Yugoslavia. He does highlight what he thought were his greatest achievements: 1) the invention of the Niagara power system that made Edison’s system obsolete; 2) his sale of forty patents to Westinghouse that broke a General Electric monopoly; 3) his discovery of the radio methods that Marconi later converted into a fortune; 4) the building of a radio-guided torpedo before Henry Ford ended the horse and buggy era; 5) his attempt to change the Earth’s electric charge; 6) became a name in the world of electricity and magnetism when his name Tesla, was used to name a new unit of magnetism. This edition comes with an introduction by Ben Johnson, a later biographer of Tesla.

Matthewmartinmurray murray

This book was very well written. You get a pretty good idea of the curiosities of how Tesla was. He goes into interesting detail of how he invented things and his methodology concerning his creative process. He even describes with great detail how he first started training his imagination as a child and ended up visualizing things with remarkable accuracy. This book doesn't really go into equations and complicated engineering but is more about how Tesla came to be the timeless inventor of his age. He also describes the possible uses and future technologies that could eventually evolve from his ideas and ends up describing our modern world quite well. Some of the things that were not very strongly mentioned was detail about his rivalry with Edison. It seemed that he treated the whole situation with class by just mentioning it. I definitely recommend this book to anyone that has any interest in Tesla.

Alex Sarll

Nowadays, we're mostly familiar with the Tesla basics - archetypal mad scientist, ripped off by the charlatans Edison and Marconi, and A Bit Odd. But reading his own writings is still a revelation, in that however smart and however odd you think he is, you're barely halfway there. You know in a film or comic, where someone supersmart is shown accomplishing astonishing physical feats through lightning-quick calculation of the physics of a situation? Tesla could do that, and turn in mid-air like a cat at age 59. The concluding essay here, 'The Problem of Increasing Human Energy', is at once a massively ahead-of-its-time plea for renewable energy, and a bonkers tract of mechanical mysticism which wouldn't be out of place as a tract for the insane cult of Gordelpus in Stapledon's Last and First Men. At times (the obsolescence of copper in a world which has mastered aluminium), he's flat-out wrong, and he's one of the long line of techno-utopians who thought new inventions would bring world peace - yet you can't help wondering if, with Tesla at the helm, they might have done.Oh, and apparently his brother, who died when they were very young, was considered the smart one. Now there's an alternate reality I'd love to visit...

Paul Korir

This is the first book I've read that is incomplete-by-design: it refers to figures that are not present in the text. I wonder what the publisher had in mind.While I deeply admire Tesla, this book is eminently unreadable. I think it's a collector's item to be used more as a reference work than a book to be read from cover to cover. I say this because it reads like a personal diary; there's no continuity, no story.Nevertheless, it offers a wonderful insight into Tesla's mind, how he regarded his achievements and his eccentricities. It also shows how Tesla was way ahead of his time. I take it that deep understanding of a subject gives one powerful abilities of prediction. Some parts of the book read as 'familiar' because of how precise Tesla saw into our time and beyond.

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