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Very wordy, interesting but not sufficient drawings of his great inventions and projects. I guess I was looking for a "Da Vinci for dummies"; wanting to glance over his overall work but also know more about this fascinating man. Not enough bio but I have to recognize that this book is very well researched. Maybe I'll find something simpler elsewhere; I like Da Vinci as a philosopher more than just the inventor; very good book however, Recommended
The history of Leonardo da Vinci is a fascinating subject that Capra brings to life quite effortlessly in his attempt at framing the scientific work of this great artist. In fact, da Vinci was far more a scientist than an artist, and his meticulous obsession with anatomy in his artistic endeavors showcases one of the greatest scientific achievements of any mind.
Capra's enthusiasm for da Vinci is evident in his explanation of da Vinci's systemic approach to the arts and sciences. Capra, himself, is very much a proponent of integrated systems - an acknowledged supporter of the idea of the interconnectedness of life. Whereas the reductive, mechanistic view of Decartes has dominated the sciences, discoveries in biology and physics over the last few decades have begun to show signs of a paradigm shift towards a more integrated approach. Capra - as a physicist - is on the cutting edge of this approach, so his writing and inferences are not without bias. His excitement and promotion of da Vinci is clearly a mutually promotional effort, but that doesn't make the book any less enjoyable.
Strangely enough, it is the half of the book that biographically details da Vinci's life and work that becomes the shining strength of this text. Although the latter half's discourse on da Vinci's science is informative and compelling, it lacks a lot of the intrigue present in the historical telling of da Vinci's story. It doesn't disappoint, but it also doesn't build upon the momentum of the first half.
Regardless of any trivial complaints, Capra's book is truly a masterpiece on the life and work of one of the greatest minds to ever live and modern science does seem to be slowly incorporating many of this great thinker's scientific philosophies. One should expect that not long into the future the science of Leonardo da Vinci will be just as heralded as his art.
I heard of this book during an interview of the author on NPR. The interview was fascinating and motivated me to get the book.
The book is wonderful for its balance and grace. It is a concise telling of da Vinci's life and his thinking gleaned from his manuscripts and from contemporary writers. It is interesting to discover that little is known about da Vinci's personal or inner life. However, we discover that da Vinci was truly one of the first scientists in the modern sense, predating Galileo. His gifts for observation, illustration, and painting combined with his energy and enthusiasm for experimentation led him to discoveries and conclusions that would not be widely recognized for centuries.
It was a good inspiring read! I'm looking forward to reading Capra's book on systemic thinking.