Walter Isaacson is an American analyst, author, journalist, historian, and professor. He is a serving President and CEO of the Aspen Institute which is a nonpartisan educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C. Walter is also a chairperson and CEO of CNN and as the managing editor of Time.

Born in 1952, Walter attended New Orleans’ Isidore Newman School and was student body president. Walter first attended Deep Springs College for the Telluride Association Summer Program (TASP). 

In 1947, Walter attended Harvard University where he majored in History and Literature. While at Harvard University, Walter was the president of the Signet Society, member of the Harvard Lampoon, and resident of Lowell House. 

Walter later attended the University of Oxford as a Rhodes scholar at Pembroke College, where he studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE, Walter graduated with First-Class Honours.

Walter began his career as a journalist at The Sunday Times in London and New Orleans Times-Picayune. In 1978, Walter joined Time magazine serving as the magazine’s political correspondent, national editor, and editor of new media.

In 2001, Walter became chairman and CEO of CNN. After his appointment at CNN, Walter attracted attention for seeking the views of Republican Party leaders on Capitol Hill regarding criticisms that CNN broadcast content that was unfair to Republicans or conservatives.

In 2003, Walter announced that he would step down as president at CNN to become president of the Aspen Institute. He served as the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute from 2003 until 2018.

In 2005, Walter was appointed by Governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco as a vice-chairman of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, a board that oversaw spending on the recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

In 2007, Walter was also appointed by President George W. Bush to the chairman of the U.S.-Palestinian Partnership, which seeks to create economic and educational opportunities in the Palestinian territories.

In 2009, Walter was appointed by President Obama to be Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which runs Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and the other international broadcasts of the U.S. government. He served until 2012.

Walter is also known for his multiple published books including,  American Sketches (2009), Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007), Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003), Kissinger: A Biography (1992), Steve Jobs (2011), The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution (2014), and Leonardo da Vinci (2017). He also co-authored with Evan Thomas the work The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (1986).

In 2017, Walter launched a podcast with Dell Technologies called Trailblazers, which focuses on technology’s effects on business. 

In 2018, Walter was named as a co-host of “Amanpour & Company,” a new show on PBS and CNN that replaced “The Charlie Rose Show.”

In 2019, Walter became the editor-at-large and senior adviser for Arcadia Publishing, where he will be promoting books for the company as well as editing, new strategy development, and partnerships.

Below are some of Walter Isaacson’s quotes that will inspire you to see things clearly through journalism.

Best Walter Isaacson Quotes

“Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.” – Walter Isaacson

“Vision w/o execution is just hallucination. You need the right combination of visionary + team that can execute.” – Walter Isaacson

“A theme of digital success is keeping it simple.” – Walter Isaacson

“If you act like you can do something, then it will work.” – Walter Isaacson

“One way to remember who you are is to remember who your heroes are.” – Walter Isaacson

“It’s about doing something larger than yourself. It’s about serving this world, helping others.” – Walter Isaacson

“Lost time is never found again.” – Walter Isaacson

“The journey is the reward.” – Walter Isaacson

“There never was a good war or a bad peace.” – Walter Isaacson

“Because a lot of people think they’re crazy, but in that craziness we see genius.” – Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson Inspirational Quotes

“I wonder now how tough you have to be to get big things done.” – Walter Isaacson

“And if you don’t have your ears open, you’re not going to be able to figure out what you should be doing.” – Walter Isaacson

“As a master of the relationship between power and diplomacy, Franklin knew that it would be impossible to win at the negotiating table what was unwinnable on the battlefield.” – Walter Isaacson

“Sometimes the difference between geniuses and jerks hinges on whether their ideas turn out to be right.” – Walter Isaacson

“I hope that someday scientists can be considered heroes again, instead of Paris Hilton.” – Walter Isaacson

“Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure.” – Walter Isaacson

“A mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought, alone.” – Walter Isaacson

“I think different religions are different doors to the same house.” – Walter Isaacson

“The job of art is to chase ugliness away.” – Walter Isaacson

“When nature gave us tears, she gave us leave to weep.” – Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson Motivational Quotes

“Just being the seeker, somebody whose open to spiritual enlightenment, is in itself the important thing and it’s the reward for being a seeker in this world.” – Walter Isaacson

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.” – Walter Isaacson

“Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?” – Walter Isaacson

“We try to use the talents we do have to.” – Walter Isaacson

“Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions. You run into someone, you ask what they’re doing, you say ‘Wow,’ and soon you’re cooking up all sorts of ideas.” – Walter Isaacson

“Each moment is not distinct but instead contains connections to a narrative.” – Walter Isaacson

“One mark of a great mind is the willingness to change it.” – Walter Isaacson

“One of the basic lessons for innovation is to stay focused.” – Walter Isaacson

“You’ve got to make a new set of friends and interact with a new set of prejudices every time.” – Walter Isaacson

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson Quotes on Steve Jobs

“He said, ‘From then on, I realized that I was not just abandoned. I was chosen. I was special.’ And I think that’s the key to understanding Steve Jobs.” – Walter Isaacson

“More generally, I made an effort to leave out things that weren’t relevant to the main narrative themes of the book, namely that there were two sides to Steve Jobs: the romantic, poetic, countercultural rebel on one side, and the serious businessperson on the other.” – Walter Isaacson

“I visited Jobs for the last time in his Palo Alto, Calif., home. He had moved to a downstairs bedroom because he was too weak to go up and down stairs. He was curled up in some pain, but his mind was still sharp and his humor vibrant” – Walter Isaacson

“I’ve asked Jobs why he didn’t get an operation then and he said, ‘I didn’t want my body to be opened. I didn’t want to be violated in that way.’” – Walter Isaacson

“Jobs has within him sort of this conflict, but he doesn’t quite see it as a conflict between being hippie-ish and anti-materialistic but wanting to sell things like Wozniak’s board. Wanting to create a business.” – Walter Isaacson

“Steve Jobs was never going to let Flash on any Apple product again like that after in 1997 – he’s got a long memory – they said no and Bill Gates said yes.” – Walter Isaacson

“Asked about the fact that Apple’s iTunes software for Windows computers was extremely popular, Jobs joked, ‘It’s like giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell.” – Walter Isaacson

“You should never start a company with the goal of getting rich. Your goal should be making something you believe in and making a company that will last. Excerpt From: Walter, Isaacson. “Steve Jobs.” Simon & Schuster, 2011-10-23T21:00:00+00:00. iBooks. This material may be protected by copyright.” – Walter Isaacson

“Steve Jobs: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” – Walter Isaacson

“The childhood that Paul and Clara Jobs created for their new son was, in many ways, a stereotype of the late 1950s. When Steve was two they adopted a girl they named Patty, and three years later they moved to a tract house in the suburbs.” – Walter Isaacson

“I think different religions are different doors to the same house. Sometimes I think the house exists, and sometimes I don’t. It’s the great mystery. (Steve Jobs)” – Walter Isaacson

“On the day he unveiled the Macintosh, a reporter from Popular Science asked Jobs what type of market research he had done. Jobs responded by scoffing, “Did Alexander Graham Bell do any market research before he invented the telephone?” – Walter Isaacson

“I am a fruitarian and I will only eat leaves picked by virgins in the moonlight – Steve Jobs” – Walter Isaacson

“I was on one of my fruitarian diets” Steve Jobs recalled “I had just comeback from the apple farm. It sounded fun, spirited, and not intimidating. Apple took the edge of the word ‘computer’, plus it would get us a head of Atari in the phone book. He told Wozniak if a better name did not hit them by the next afternoon, they would just stick with apple and they did. 1 Apr 1976” – Walter Isaacson

“for Steve, less is always more, simpler is always better. Therefore, if you can build a glass box with fewer elements, it’s better, it’s simpler, and it’s at the forefront of technology. That’s where Steve likes to be, in both his products and his stores.” – Walter Isaacson

“Jobs did not know that Sculley had told Eisenstat he wanted to quit, but by then it didn’t matter. Overnight, he had changed his mind and decided to stay. Despite the blowup the day before, he was still eager for Jobs to like him. So he agreed to meet the next afternoon.” – Walter Isaacson

“Ed Woolard, his mentor on the Apple board, pressed Jobs for more than two years to drop the interim in front of his CEO title. Not only was Jobs refusing to commit himself, but he was baffling everyone by taking only $1 a year in pay and no stock options. I make 50 cents for showing up, he liked to joke, and the other 50 cents is based on performance.” – Walter Isaacson

“I discovered that the best innovation is sometimes the company, the way you organize a company. The whole notion of how you build a company is fascinating.” Steve Jobs,” – Walter Isaacson

“By the end of his career, he [Steve Jobs] has proven that he can do the impossible, and he has gathered probably the most loyal team of eight players of any business in America.” – Walter Isaacson

“Not playing by the rules, not seeing things conventionally, that’s the heart of who he [ Steve Jobs] is, and he does it in small ways of everyday rebellion just almost to assert who he is, like not putting a license plate on his car.” – Walter Isaacson

“If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away. The more the outside world tries to reinforce an image of you, the harder it is to continue to be an artist, which is why a lot of times, artists have to say, “Bye. I have to go. I’m going crazy and I’m getting out of here.” And they go and hibernate somewhere. Maybe later they re-emerge a little differently. (Steve Jobs).” – Walter Isaacson

“Without Steve Jobs, you would have well-designed computers, probably open and not integrated, but they wouldn’t have sex appeal, they wouldn’t have romance.” – Walter Isaacson

“I have a strong emotional respect for Steve.” – Walter Isaacson

“Steve has a reality distortion field.” When Hertzfeld looked puzzled, Tribble elaborated. “In his presence, reality is malleable. He can convince anyone of practically anything. It wears off when he’s not around, but it makes it hard to have realistic schedules.” – Walter Isaacson

“I used to be an angry man myself. I’m a recovering assaholic so I could recognize that in Steve. (quoting Jean-Louis Gassée).” – Walter Isaacson

“So that’s our approach. Very simple, and we’re really shooting for Museum of Modern Art quality. The way we’re running the company, the product design, the advertising, it all comes down to this: Let’s make it simple. Really simple.” Apple’s design mantra would remain the one featured on its first brochure: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson Quotes on Einstein: His Life and Universe

“The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think, he [Einstein] said.” – Walter Isaacson

“To dwell on the things that depress or anger us does not help in overcoming them. One must knock them down alone.” – Walter Isaacson

“A society’s competitive advantage will come not from how well its schools teach the multiplication and periodic tables, but from how well they stimulate imagination and creativity.” – Walter Isaacson

“How did he get his ideas? “I’m enough of an artist to draw freely on my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” – Walter Isaacson

“I believe that love is a better teacher than a sense of duty,” he said, “at least for me.” – Walter Isaacson

“He was a loner with an intimate bond to humanity, a rebel who was suffused with reverence. And thus it was that an imaginative, impertinent patent clerk became the mind reader of the creator of the cosmos, the locksmith of the mysteries of the atom and the universe.” – Walter Isaacson

“Politics is for the present, while our equations are for eternity.” – Walter Isaacson

“I believe that the most important mission of the state is to protect the individual and to make it possible for him to develop into a creative personality.” – Walter Isaacson

“science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” – Walter Isaacson

“The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of all true art and science.” – Walter Isaacson

“During the crossing, Einstein explained his theory to me every day, and by the time we arrived I was fully convinced that he really understands it.” – Walter Isaacson

“It is tasteless to prolong life artificially,” he told Dukas. “I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.” – Walter Isaacson

“Einstein was asked what the next war would look like. “I do not know how the Third World War will be fought,” he answered, “but I can tell you what they will use in the Fourth—rocks.” – Walter Isaacson

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Walter Isaacson

“Since the mathematicians have grabbed hold of the theory of relativity, I myself no longer understand it.” – Walter Isaacson

“When a person can take pleasure in marching in step to a piece of music it is enough to make me despise him. He has been given his big brain only by mistake.” – Walter Isaacson

“A new idea comes suddenly and in a rather intuitive way,” Einstein once said. “But,” he hastened to add, “intuition is nothing but the outcome of earlier intellectual experience.” – Walter Isaacson

“A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.” – Walter Isaacson

“Falling in love is not the most stupid thing that people do,” Einstein scribbled on the letter, “but gravitation cannot be held responsible for it.” – Walter Isaacson

“Subtle is the Lord, but malicious he is not.” – Walter Isaacson

“The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think.” – Walter Isaacson

“Use for yourself little,” he said, “but give to others much.” – Walter Isaacson

“Blind respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” – Walter Isaacson

“Physics should represent a reality in time and space, free from spooky action at a distance.” – Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson Quotes on Leonardo Da Vinci

“Men who desire nothing but material riches and are absolutely devoid of the desire for wisdom, which is the sustenance and truly dependable wealth of the mind.” – Walter Isaacson

“Innovation requires having at least three things: a great idea, the engineering talent to execute it, and the business savvy (plus deal-making moxie) to turn it into a successful product.” – Walter Isaacson

“he never finished any of the works he began because, so sublime was his idea of art, he saw faults even in the things that to others seemed miracles.” – Walter Isaacson

“The sexual act of coitus and the body parts employed for it are so repulsive that, if it were not for the beauty of the faces and the adornment of the actors and the pent-up impulse, nature would lose the human species.” – Walter Isaacson

“Leonardo’s relentless curiosity and experimentation should remind us of the importance of instilling, in both ourselves and our children, not just received knowledge but a willingness to question it—to be imaginative and, like talented misfits and rebels in any era, to think differently.” – Walter Isaacson

“Look longer at the picture. It vibrates with Leonardo’s understanding that no moment is discrete, self-contained, frozen, delineated, just as no boundary in nature is sharply delineated. As with the river that Leonardo described, each moment is part of what just passed and what is about to come. This is one of the essences of Leonardo’s art: from the Adoration of the Magi to Lady with an Ermine to The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa, each moment is not distinct but instead contains connections to a narrative.” – Walter Isaacson

“Men of lofty genius sometimes accomplish the most when they work least.” – Walter Isaacson

“Leonardo had also been wrestling with the question of why the sky appears blue, and around that time he had correctly concluded that it had to do with the water vapor in the air. In the Saint Anne painting, he portrays the sky’s luminous and misty gradations of blue as no other painter had done. The recent cleaning of the painting fully reveals the magical realism, veiled in vapors, of his distant mountains and skyline.” – Walter Isaacson

“The Ottoman Turks were about to capture Constantinople, unleashing on Italy a migration of fleeing scholars with bundles of manuscripts containing the ancient wisdom of Euclid, Ptolemy, Plato, and Aristotle.” – Walter Isaacson

“While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” – Walter Isaacson

“Leonardo at twenty-nine was more easily distracted by the future than he was focused on the present.” – Walter Isaacson

“The glory of being an artist, he realized, was that reality should inform but not constrain.” – Walter Isaacson

“One purpose of these notebooks was to record interesting scenes, especially those involving people and emotions. “As you go about town,” he wrote in one of them, “constantly observe, note, and consider the circumstances and behavior of men as they talk and quarrel, or laugh, or come to blows.” For that purpose, he kept a small notebook hanging from his belt.” – Walter Isaacson

“He also noted that the veins of humans narrow with age, but the springs and rivers of the earth continually enlarge their channels.” – Walter Isaacson

“He had an imagination so excitable that it flirted with the edges of fantasy, which is also something we can try to preserve in ourselves and indulge in our children.” – Walter Isaacson

“His scientific understanding of optics thus enhanced the three-dimensional illusion of the painting.” – Walter Isaacson

“How the ability to make connections across disciplines—arts and sciences, humanities and technology—is a key to innovation, imagination, and genius.” – Walter Isaacson

“Rather than try to conform, he made a point of being different, dressing and carrying himself as a dandy.” – Walter Isaacson

“Vision without execution is hallucination.” – Walter Isaacson

“Its leading thinkers embraced a Renaissance humanism that put its faith in the dignity of the individual and in the aspiration to find happiness on this earth through knowledge.” – Walter Isaacson

“If there is no love, what then?” – Walter Isaacson

“Each moment incorporates what came right before and what is coming right after.” – Walter Isaacson

“A left-hander, Leonardo wrote from right to left on a page.” – Walter Isaacson

“I did learn from Leonardo how a desire to marvel about the world that we encounter each day can make each moment of our lives richer.” – Walter Isaacson

“Here is our gentle and beloved Leonardo, who became a vegetarian because of his fondness for all creatures, wallowing in horrifying depictions of death.” – Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson Quotes on Thinking

“I think one problem we’ve had is that people who are smart and creative and innovative as engineers went into financial engineering.” – Walter Isaacson

“Smart people are a dime a dozen. What matters is the ability to think different… to think out of the box.” – Walter Isaacson

“I think right now we need to look back at the founding values of our country. Rise above partisanship, be less bitter when it comes to important matters that have to be solved.” – Walter Isaacson

“I think when money starts to corrupt journalism, it undermines the journalism, and it undermines the credibility of the product, and you end up not succeeding.” – Walter Isaacson

“When there are multiple versions of a story, you really have three ways to go. You can pick the most sensational version. You can try to balance things in your gut to get to what you think is the honest truth. Or you can err on the side of kindness.” – Walter Isaacson

“What Einstein was able to do was – to use a cliche – think out of the box.” – Walter Isaacson

“I think it’s very important to have a sense of balance in covering the war, but you don’t have to be morally neutral about terrorism.” – Walter Isaacson

“I actually think Bill Gates is conventionally smarter, even though it’s a dumb word, but mental processing power – I’ve watched him use four different screens, process information, get to the right answer, boom boom boom.” – Walter Isaacson

“Yeah, I think that his great creation was not any one product but a company in which creativity was connected to great engineering. And that will survive at least while the current people who trained under Steve are there.” – Walter Isaacson

“I do think it’s important, if you’re going to be very creative, to be a seeker.” – Walter Isaacson

“I think that Benjamin Franklin felt very strongly in foreign policy in this world, that you needed to at least show some humility, especially when you were strong.” – Walter Isaacson

“I don’t think there was enough skepticism because I think most of us kind of believed that Saddam Hussein was building biological, chemical, and perhaps even, nuclear weapons.” – Walter Isaacson

“I think that we shouldn’t be fixated all the time on the ups and downs of the weekly ratings, of the quarter-hour ratings.” – Walter Isaacson

“I think that’s exactly what Silicon Valley was all about in those days. Let’s do a startup in our parents’ garage and try to create a business.” – Walter Isaacson

“I think it is valuable and should be valued by its consumers. Charging for content forces discipline on journalists: they must produce things that people actually value.” – Walter Isaacson

“I think it’s really good that you have great competition among news networks, and for that matter all the networks in general. It’s bringing more and more people in to watch the news.” – Walter Isaacson

“I think when you’re looking for people to interview, you want to make it fair and honest. You’re not just bringing people on so you can beat them up or, you know, make fools out of them or something.” – Walter Isaacson

“I think it’s important for CNN to get out as much as possible from the Washington-New York axis, … This is not some big strategic shift to New York.” – Walter Isaacson

“I think we’re trying as much as possible to be part of the heart and soul of Aspen.” – Walter Isaacson

“I think this problem could be solved in 20 minutes. It’s low-hanging fruit and not that expensive.” – Walter Isaacson

“I think the McCain and Lieberman talk about the need for civility in public discourse is right at the core of our mission.” – Walter Isaacson

“He had the attitude that he could do anything, and therefore so can you. He put his life in my hands. So that made me do something I didn’t think I could do…. If you trust him, you can do things. If he’s decided that something should happen, then he’s just going to make it happen. (Elizabeth Holmes).” – Walter Isaacson

“I think the biggest innovations of the twenty-first century will be the intersection of biology and technology. A new era is beginning, just like the digital one was when I was his age.” – Walter Isaacson

“The people who invented the twenty-first century were pot-smoking, sandal-wearing hippies from the West Coast like Steve, because they saw differently,” he said. “The hierarchical systems of the East Coast, England, Germany, and Japan do not encourage this different thinking. The sixties produced an anarchic mind-set that is great for imagining a world not yet in existence.” – Walter Isaacson

“I think that genius comes not just from having great mental processing power. It comes from being able to, as Steve Jobs’ ad said, think differently.” – Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson Quotes on People

“Jobs insisted that Apple focus on just two or three priorities at a time. “There is no one better at turning off the noise that is going on around him,” Cook said. “That allows him to focus on a few things and say no to many things. Few people are really good at that.” – Walter Isaacson

“For some people, miracles serve as evidence of God’s existence.” – Walter Isaacson

“But the point is to get a whole new generation of people and people in general more re-engaged in news, and this has happened a lot since September 11th of course.” – Walter Isaacson

“There is a whole group of young people now with attitude and sharpness that comes from a Bart Simpson approach to life. The Mickey Mouse Club is not in business. Mickey Mouse was wonderful but Bart Simpson rules today.” – Walter Isaacson

“He had a learning experience. It’s the most amazing thing for somebody of his stature. It’s because by himself, he walked around. He walked around and talked to people.” – Walter Isaacson

“Spielberg made movies the way they are today. Our list is aimed at naming the people who influenced the way we live today, not the best but the most influential.” – Walter Isaacson

“It’s like when FEMA wasn’t really that creative, and the water was rising and people were stranded, … Once again, people are being stranded and businesses are starting to die.” – Walter Isaacson

“I’ll be in Philadelphia. They are throwing a huge party for him. Hundreds and hundreds of people are coming.” – Walter Isaacson

“He had the uncanny capacity to know exactly what your weak point is, know what will make you feel small, to make you cringe,” Joanna Hoffman said. “It’s a common trait in people who are charismatic and know how to manipulate people. Knowing that he can crush you makes you feel weakened and eager for his approval, so then he can elevate you and put you on a pedestal and own you.” – Walter Isaacson

“On Startups: “I hate it when people call themselves “entrepreneurs” when what they’re really trying to do is launch a startup and then sell or go public, so they can cash in and move on.” – Walter Isaacson

“People who know what they’re talking about don’t need PowerPoint.” – Walter Isaacson

“It seems perverse to focus too much on the casualties or hardship in Afghanistan …[Showing the misery of Afghanistan ran the risk of] promoting enemy propaganda…we must talk about how the Taliban are using civilian shields and how the Taliban have harboured the terrorists responsible for killing close up to 5,000 innocent people.” – Walter Isaacson

“I have my own theory about why decline happens at companies like IBM or Microsoft. The company does a great job, innovates and becomes a monopoly or close to it in some field, and then the quality of the product becomes less important. The company starts valuing the great salesmen, because they’re the ones who can move the needle on revenues, not the product engineers and designers. So the salespeople end up running the company.” – Walter Isaacson

“Throughout his life, Albert Einstein would retain the intuition and the awe of a child. He never lost his sense of wonder at the magic of nature’s phenomena-magnetic fields, gravity, inertia, acceleration, light beams-which grown-ups find so commonplace. He retained the ability to hold two thoughts in his mind simultaneously, to be puzzled when they conflicted, and to marvel when he could smell an underlying unity. “People like you and me never grow old,” he wrote a friend later in life. “We never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born.” – Walter Isaacson

“The older I get, the more I see how much motivations matter. The Zune was crappy because the people at Microsoft don’t really love music or art the way we do. We won because we personally love music.” – Walter Isaacson

“Pretend to be completely in control and people will assume that you are.” – Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson Quotes on Innovation and Technology

“The best and most innovative products don’t always win…(it’s an) aesthetic flaw in how the universe worked.” – Walter Isaacson

“Innovation requires articulation.” – Walter Isaacson

“You can’t have a sustainable US economy without a great education system. Teach students to do the job right. You don’t have an innovative economy unless you have a great education.” – Walter Isaacson

“Most of the collaborations of technology were done by teams…Collaboration is key to creativity.” – Walter Isaacson

“You know, one of these things that happened in the ’60s and ’70s was this confluence of, sort of, a counter-culture with computer culture.” – Walter Isaacson

“In the age of the internet when everybody’s a pundit, we’re still gonna need somebody there to go talk to the colonels, to be on the ground in Baghdad and stuff and that’s very expensive.” – Walter Isaacson

“Progress comes not only in great leaps but also from hundreds of small steps.” – Walter Isaacson

“I don’t have any skeletons in my closet that can’t be allowed out.” – Walter Isaacson

“Sometimes, to relieve stress, he would soak his feet in the toilet, a practice that was not as soothing for his colleagues.” – Walter Isaacson

“There was a key lesson for innovation: Understand which industries are symbiotic so that you can capitalize on how they will spur each other on.” – Walter Isaacson

“The computer and the Internet are among the most important inventions of our era, but few people know who created them.” – Walter Isaacson

“Knowing that great conceptions are worth little without precision execution” – Walter Isaacson

“Innovation occurs when ripe seeds fall on fertile ground.” – Walter Isaacson

“I learned electronics as a kid by messing around with old radios that were easy to tamper with because they were designed to be fixed.” – Walter Isaacson

“A nation which depends upon others for its new basic scientific knowledge will be slow in its industrial progress and weak in its competitive position in world trade.” – Walter Isaacson

“It is in the mind of a single person that creative ideas and concepts are born.” – Walter Isaacson

“When people take insights from multiple sources and put them together, it’s natural for them to think that the resulting ideas are their own—as” – Walter Isaacson

“People will provide judgment, intuition, empathy, a moral compass, and human creativity.” – Walter Isaacson

“Innovation happens in stages.” – Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson Quotes on Politics

“Terrorism is a horrible thing that is the great threat to civilization on our planet.” – Walter Isaacson

“Polite and velvety leaders, who take care to avoid bruising others, are generally not as effective at forcing change.” – Walter Isaacson

“With the participation of a wide range of policymakers — from Margaret Thatcher to Jimmy Carter to Condoleezza Rice — it has helped lay the groundwork for new approaches to national and world issues.” – Walter Isaacson

“Especially right after 9/11. Especially when the war in Afghanistan is going on. There was a real sense that you don’t get that critical of a government that’s leading us in war time.” – Walter Isaacson

“There should be an honored place in history for statesmen whose ideas turned out to be right.” – Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson Quotes on Writing Biography

“When you write biographies, whether it’s about Ben Franklin or Einstein, you discover something amazing: They are human.” – Walter Isaacson

“I’ve always had an abundance of material about the subjects of my biographies.” – Walter Isaacson

“Good telling of human stories is the best way to keep the Internet and World Wide Web from becoming a waste vastland.” – Walter Isaacson

“I think Henry Kissinger grew up with that odd mix of ego and insecurity that comes from being the smartest kid in the class. From really knowing you’re more awesomely intelligent than anybody else, but also being the guy who got beaten up for being Jewish.” – Walter Isaacson

“Years later, on a Steve Jobs discussion board on the website Gawker, the following tale appeared from someone who had worked at the Whole Foods store in Palo Alto a few blocks from Jobs’ home: ‘I was shagging carts one afternoon when I saw this silver Mercedes parked in a handicapped spot. Steve Jobs was inside screaming at his car phone. This was right before the first iMac was unveiled and I’m pretty sure I could make out, ‘Not. Fucking. Blue. Enough!!!” – Walter Isaacson

“Jobs had always been an extremely opinionated eater, with a tendency to instantly judge any food as either fantastic or terrible. He could taste two avocados that most mortals would find indistinguishable, and declare that one was the best avocado ever grown and the other inedible.” – Walter Isaacson

“When the conventional wisdom of physics seemed to conflict with an elegant theory of his, Einstein was inclined to question that wisdom rather than his theory, often to have his stubbornness rewarded.” – Walter Isaacson

“Leonardo became known in Milan not only for his talents but also for his good looks, muscular build, and gentle personal style. “He was a man of outstanding beauty and infinite grace,” Vasari said of him. “He was striking and handsome, and his great presence brought comfort to the most troubled soul.” – Walter Isaacson

“Atop the brochure McKenna put a maxim, often attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, that would become the defining precept of Jobs’s design philosophy: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson Quotes on Journalism

“We have to compete in a universe of 200 networks, so we have to carve out our own niche, and to me, that niche is just basic shoe-leather journalism with some good journalists at the helm you can trust as presenters.” – Walter Isaacson

“One of the great pressures we’re facing in journalism now is it’s a lot cheaper to hire thumb suckers and pundits and have talk shows on the air than actually have bureaus and reporters.” – Walter Isaacson

“We are in a situation with the huge stimulus package that’s going to be spent all across this nation and a big financial crisis and banking crisis. And what we need is good, trained journalists who can play the role of watchdog.” – Walter Isaacson

“Faithful to its core mission of being the most authoritative and credible source of information in the world, emphasizing hard journalistic reporting more than opinion shows.” – Walter Isaacson

“Consummate journalist who brings a wealth of experience and expertise to our network.” – Walter Isaacson

“I’ve heard the rumor on and off for a month or two. Most rumors like this have some basis for truth, but not this one. How about ambassadors to Barbados ? you can float my name for that job, if you want.” – Walter Isaacson

“Let’s crowd source, curate, and add royalties to books.” – Walter Isaacson

“If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things – that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it.” – Walter Isaacson

“The reality distortion field was a confounding mélange of a charismatic rhetorical style, indomitable will, and eagerness to bend any fact to fit the purpose at hand.” – Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson Quotes on Passion

“…never let a passion for the perfect take precedence over pragmatism.” – Walter Isaacson

“If you truly have a passion for what you do, you will care even about the parts unseen.” – Walter Isaacson

“I think that notion of being a seeker, somebody who never felt totally fulfilled, but was always passionate about the search, that comes from the background, probably.” – Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson Quotes on Life

“An exciting new prospect for what I want to do with the next phase of my life.” – Walter Isaacson

“I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out.” – Walter Isaacson

“One of the strongest motives that leads men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness. Such men make this cosmos and its construction the pivot of their emotional life, in order to find the peace and security which they cannot find in the narrow whirlpool of personal experience.” – Walter Isaacson

“There are parts of his life and personality that are extremely messy, and that’s the truth.” – Walter Isaacson

Famous Walter Isaacson Quotes

“when truth has fair play, it will always prevail over falsehood.” – Walter Isaacson

“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” – Walter Isaacson

“It’s best not to mess with karma.” – Walter Isaacson

“Causality expresses the pattern which the mind imposes on a sequence of events in order to make their appearance comprehensible.” – Walter Isaacson

“Genius starts with individual brilliance. It requires singular vision. But executing it often entails working with others. Innovation is a team sport. Creativity is a collaborative endeavor.” – Walter Isaacson

“If you would keep your secret from an enemy, tell it not to a friend.” – Walter Isaacson

“Poetry as a language within a language.” – Walter Isaacson

“It would be better to miss than to turn out the wrong thing.” – Walter Isaacson

“One is obliged sometimes to give up some smaller points in order to obtain greater.” – Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson Quotes – FAQs

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