by James Gleick (2003). Short, pithy and insightful biography of Newton. He was a recluse, with virtual no family, no lover (he reputedly died a virgin), few friends, vindictive (his fight with Leibniz), yet within a solitary period of two years, when he was a mere 24, Newton created modern mathematics, mechanics and optics. There is nothing like it in the history of thought. The entire scientific enterprise owns more to him than to anybody else. He is prima facie evidence for the critical role of genius in at least some fields. Of course, he was also an alchemist and a mystic, whose religious writing exceeded many-fold his scientific ones.