My name is Jurriaan Kamp, publisher of Tesla & me, an extraordinary book about one of the greatest inventors that has ever lived. And it may very well contribute to new innovation that can fundamentally change our world.
But first let me tell you something about myself and about why I’m publishing this book. I’m the founder and editor of Ode Magazine, later The Intelligent Optimist, focused on bringing better stories, new solutions, and more awareness, hope and optimism to our world.
This year is an important anniversary for me: I have been practicing “solutions journalism” for 25 years. We didn’t use that term when we set out to report, first in The Netherlands, the country of my birth, and then from California, on answers to the challenges people and planet face.
That search for solutions has also brought me to this new, very unusual, book about innovation written by an award-winning novelist. And the sources for the presented technological breakthroughs don’t live in the world that we know.
When Tesla & me was first published in French in 2016 as
(Beyond the Impossible), it quickly became a bestseller in France, despite the fact that the lead person in the book lived most of his life in the United States. Today, more people know Tesla as a car than as the last name of an inventor who made astonishing discoveries in the early parts of the past century.
Nikola Tesla experimented with creating electricity literally out of thin air. Some of his experiments seem to show that free energy may not be a strange dream. Tesla has hundreds of patents in his name, still many people have attempted in vain to replicate his most daring trials.
There are stories, anecdotes and mysteries around this amazing inventor who fought “the war of the currents” with Thomas Edison. One thread is clear throughout Tesla’s life: his mission was not to generate a fortune for himself. His inventions could have made him a wealthy man, but he repeatedly chose to value science, discovery and innovation above business. Tesla’s mission was to serve humanity with cheaper energy and better communication. It appears fair to state that Tesla wanted to change the world.
That unfinished business brings me to this unusual book. As hard as it may be to believe for the western mind, Tesla himself may be the source of this story about his life and the unaccomplished parts of his mission. Didier van Cauwelaert, who has made a name for himself as a leading novelist in France, has done a remarkable job following and writing an unbelievable story. Through his ability to be at once open to the unknown and yet keep distance as a reliable observer, what is hard to believe may become credible.
We know that physicists are only able to document 4 percent of our existence—we have no clue about the remaining 96 percent that has conveniently been set aside as “dark matter”. Whatever happens in that dimension we don’t—yet—know. So maybe this story can help us open our eyes to get a better understanding of the world we live in. And, while you read this book, you may conclude that Nikola Tesla is a perfect guide on that journey.
Whether you read this book as a fiction or a non-fiction story, you will enjoy it either way. Van Cauwelaert’s fine writing is a joy to experience. Likely, you will have an experience like mine: Sometimes the inspiration of the story wins from the challenge to believe it; and sometimes it is the other way around. However, even if only a small part of this story is true, it was clear to me that this book should not remain, as too many great French books, confined within the borders of the French-speaking world. That is why you can buy an English edition, titled Tesla & me, of this great book here now. Enjoy and get inspired!