Tesla: Man Out of Time Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Tesla: Man Out of Time presents the biography and remarkable life of Nikola Tesla, one of the most notable inventors and engineers of all time, while also highlighting his bumpy relationship with Thomas Edison and his heavy childhood.

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Tesla: Man Out of Time Summary

Growing up, we all cross different paths, face different challenges, and live our own unique stories. However, when it comes to geniuses, there are certain aspects that they all have in common. A burning passion, a desire for facing the unknown, tremendous imagination, and lastly, plenty of hard work throughout long periods. 

Growing up, Nikola Tesla didn’t have a perfect childhood. His older brother died while he was still very young, which deeply saddened his parents. He also contracted cholera. His town in Croatia didn’t offer many opportunities, so he had to discover his own path little by little. 

Needless to say, his efforts and true calling for science broke through the social norms and apparent life situations. Even today, he is still a widely renowned engineer, inventor, and researcher. History carries his name with pride. Tesla: Man Out of Time by Margaret Cheney is full of valuable lessons that anyone can learn from.

For this reason, we’ll explore three of the most important lessons from the book and discover valuable insights from Tesla’s life:

  1. Tesla had a troubled childhood but eventually made it to the top.
  2. Radio communication was another great discovery of Nikola Tesla.
  3. Following stellar growth, Nikola Tesla’s achievements came to a bittersweet end. 

Let’s dig deeper into these lessons and learn more about the world’s top engineers in just three minutes!

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Lesson 1: Despite Tesla’s modest origins, he made it to America and became a worldwide famous engineer.

Hard work and passion combined prove that there truly is a timeless formula for success. And Nikola Tesla harnessed this combination to its full extent. He was born and raised in Croatia and his future revolved around becoming part of the clergy or the Austro-Hungarian army. But his destiny took a drastic spin.

His genius and constant desire to study physics, and electricity, and discover the science behind motos took him to America. He went through illness, a poorly paid job in a post office, and disputes with his professors who didn’t believe in his ideas. but He eventually managed to break through these setbacks. 

Once in America, he set foot in Thomas Edison’s office, which seemed like a great opportunity at first. Nikola redesigned and improved Edison’s direct current generators (DC) that powered New York, but never got the money benefits out of it. 

He then resigned and went on his quest to develop and implement alternative current generators (AC), which brought him fame, more money than he was initially looking for, and many patents. He was a household name in America and all over the world, as magazines were mentioning his name all over and he was getting prizes and nominations.

Lesson 2: Tesla went on to discover radio communication and achieve one of humanity’s greatest inventions.

Even after Nikola Tesla achieved fame, and money, and praised all over the world, he didn’t stop pursuing his passion. In contrast, his lab was working harder than ever to discover yet another groundbreaking technology: radio communication.

Tesla went on a quest to implement wireless technology through radio waves that he believed existed in the stratosphere. He was right. Earth’s outer layer could indeed carry electricity wirelessly. Soon after, he gave the first public demonstration of his success at the National Electric Light Association.

Tesla knew how to impress a crowd, so he proved himself by delivering a wireless message to a person sitting 30 feet away using a spark transmitter. Unfortunately, soon after his groundbreaking presentation, his lab burned out, wiping away years of progress and revolutionary findings. 

Following a modest childhood, part of Tesla’s life was all about skyrocketing growth and tremendous success. However, once his lab burned down, it became increasingly difficult for him to secure further investments. All his preceding discoveries fail to materialize.

Lesson 3: Tesla was a man who came to know the highest highs and the lowest lows.

Tesla was a man ahead of his time, but his further groundbreaking discoveries were not something investors were interested in anymore. They just didn’t share his vision like they used to, which caused plenty of frustration and depressive feelings for the Croatian genius

The invention of radio communication was attributed to him only post-mortem, which is quite sad considering that he actively fought for the patent throughout his life. Moreover, he was struggling to live a decent life as he ran out of money, while others were getting rich off of his inventions. 

Lastly, he was exposed to living for free in Waldorf Astoria and his dream projects were demolished. He stuck with his vision, still writing about his projects till the very end. Tesla spent his days with a white pigeon that followed him everywhere. He also gave some interviews where he predicted future technologies. 

His last years weren’t as we would’ve hoped. Modern technology was a disgrace, he said. He was honored during his 75th birthday by Einstein and other Nobel laureates. After his death, his writing was confiscated and never revealed. It is rumored that his discovery would’ve ended the war and that they were too revolutionary.

Tesla: Man Out of Time Review

Tesla: Man Out of Time talks about the bittersweet life of Nikola Tesla, the inventor of radio communication, the perpetrator of alternative conducting electricity, and many other groundbreaking discoveries.

Growing up, Tesla had a passion for science, which projected him on top of the world, but also dragged him to the bottom during the second half of his life. He lived to know fame and fortune but was also disappointed with people who didn’t give him credit for his inventions. 

His life serves as a valuable lesson about hard work and the positive implications of science in humanity’s evolution. The book is a morality lesson and a tale worth reading for the world, as it teaches us the importance of nurturing the precious genius of the few chosen ones.

Who would I recommend the Tesla: Man Out of Time summary to?

The 23-year-old science geek who wants to read about the life of geniuses who lived before him, the 35-year-old science professor who has a passion for the biographies of the world’s top physicists and engineers, or the 14-year-old child who finds joy in the world of science, reading, and in studying during his free time.

Last Updated on October 6, 2022

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Maria Deac

While working with my friend Ovi's company SocialBee, I had the good fortune of Maria writing over 200 summaries for us over the course of 18 months. Maria is a professional SEO copywriter, content writer, and social media marketing specialist. When she's not writing or learning more about marketing, she loves to dance and travel all over the world.