Isaac Asimov Net Worth At Death – How Did He Get Rich?

Isaac Asimov Net Worth At Death

Isaac Asimov had an estimated net worth of $87 Million at death. Scholar Isaac Asimov was one of the 20th century’s most prolific writers, writing in many genres. He was known for sci-fi works like ‘Foundation’ and ‘I, Robot.’ The majority of his income came from his career as a writer and professor of biochemistry.

Isaac Asimov moved to the United States with his family from Russia, where he worked as a biochemistry professor while also writing. In 1950, he released his first novel, Pebble in the Sky. He was a prolific author who wrote nearly 500 books, including influential sci-fi works such as I, Robot and the Foundation trilogy, as well as books in a variety of other genres.

To calculate the net worth of Isaac Asimov, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity she has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as student loans and credit card debt, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: Isaac Asimov
Net Worth: $87 Million
Monthly Salary: $300 Thousand+
Annual Income: $4 Million+
Source of Wealth: Writer, professor of biochemistry

Isaac Asimov’s Early Life

Asimov was brought to the United States at the age of three. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from Columbia University in 1939. During World War II he worked at the Naval Aviation Experimental Station in Philadelphia with science fiction writers Robert Heinlein and L. Sprague de Camp. 

After the war, he earned a doctorate in chemistry from Columbia University in 1948. He then joined the faculty of Boston University, with which he remained associated thereafter.

Isaac Asimov’s Career

Asimov began writing stories for science fiction magazines in 1939. He sold his first story, “Marooned off Vesta,” to Amazing Stories, but he was most closely associated with Astounding Science-Fiction and its editor John W. Campbell, Jr. who became a mentor to Asimov. “Nightfall” (1941), about a planet in a multiple star system where there is darkness for one night only every 2,049 years, brought him to the forefront of science fiction writers and is considered one of the genre’s greatest short stories.

In 1940, Asimov began writing his robot stories (later collected in I, Robot [1950]). In the 21st century, “positronic” robots operate according to the Three Laws of Robotics:

By developing (with Campbell) an ethic for robots and rejecting earlier notions of robots as marauding metal monsters, Asimov significantly influenced other authors’ treatment of the subject.

“The Encyclopedists” (1942) was the beginning of Asimov’s popular Foundation series. Based on the fall of the Roman Empire, the Foundation series begins in the last days of the Galactic Empire. Hari Seldon develops a discipline, “psychohistory,” that allows him to predict future historical trends. 

He sets in motion a plan to shorten the predicted 30,000-year Galactic Dark Ages to 1,000 years by gathering the brightest minds on the planet Terminus to form the Foundation of a new Galactic Empire. Seldon also establishes a mysterious second Foundation in an unknown location. 

The Foundation struggles to keep civilization alive while records of the long-dead Seldon offer advice in moments of acute crisis predicted by psychohistory.

The stories, written between 1942 and 1949, were collected as the Foundation trilogy: Foundation (1951), Foundation and Empire (1952), and Second Foundation (1953). The trilogy won a special Hugo Award in 1966 for the best science fiction series of all time.

Asimov’s first novels (Pebble in the Sky [1950], The Stars, Like Dust [1951], and The Currents of Space [1952]) were set during and before Galactic Empire, but had nothing to do with the Foundation series. Under the pseudonym Paul French, he wrote the children’s book series Lucky Starr (1952-58), each volume of which was set on a different solar system world. 

He returned to positronic robots with two novels that mixed mystery with science fiction. Three thousand years later, humanity is divided between humans living on Earth in overpopulated underground cities and wealthy spacemen living on worlds near stars. 

Human police officer Lije Baley and “human-shaped” Spacer robot detective R. Daneel Olivaw solve murders in New York City in The Caverns of Steel (1954) and on a Spacer planet in The Naked Sun (1957). In the 1950s, Asimov also wrote some of his best short stories: “The Martian Way” (1952), an allegory on McCarthyism; “The Dead Past” (1956), about a device that can see into history; and “The Ugly Little Boy” (1958, original title “Lastborn”), about a nurse’s bond with a Neanderthal child accidentally brought to the future.

In the late 1950s, Asimov turned away from science fiction and focused more on writing nonfiction. From 1958 to 1991, he wrote a monthly column on science for the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, which won a special Hugo Award in 1963.

Much of his nonfiction dealt with various scientific topics, which he wrote with clarity and humor, from chemistry (The Chemicals of Life [(1954])) to physics (The Neutrino [1975]) to biology (The Human Brain [(1964])). He even wrote about literature (Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare, 2 vols. [1970]) and religion (Asimov’s Guide to the Bible, 2 vols. [1968-69]).

Asimov returned to science fiction with The Gods Themselves (1972, winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards). In it, the subject was contact with advanced aliens from a parallel universe. “The Bicentennial Man” (1976, Hugo and Nebula for best novella) about a robot’s quest to become human is one of Asimov’s most popular short stories.

In the 1980s, Asimov linked the Robot, Empire, and Foundation series in the same fictional universe. The characters in Foundation’s Edge (1982, Hugo Award for Best Novel) begin to suspect that a third, hidden power has emerged in the galaxy that is even more powerful than the two Foundations. 

Baley and Olivaw met again in The Robots of Dawn (1983), in which they investigate the destruction of a robot identical to Olivaw. In Robots and Empire (1985), set 200 years after Baley’s death, Olivaw battles a threat to humanity that culminates in the Diaspora from Earth that leads to the Galactic Empire. 

Foundation and Earth (1986) revolves around the search for the forgotten planet Earth and how its early history, as depicted in the robot series, affected the history of the galaxy. Two prequels to the Foundation trilogy, Prelude to Foundation (1988) and Forward the Foundation (1993), Asimov’s final novel, follow Hari Seldon’s development of psychohistory and the Foundation plan.

Asimov’s late novels included expansions of earlier short stories he had written with Robert Silverberg, such as Nightfall (1990) and Child of Time (1991, based on “The Ugly Little Boy”). He published three volumes of his autobiography: In Memory Still Green: The Autobiography of Isaac Asimov, 1920-1954 (1979); In Joy Still Felt: .The Autobiography of Isaac Asimov, 1954-1978 (1980); and I, Asimov: A Memoir (1994, Hugo Award for best nonfiction).

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Isaac Asimov’s Personal Life

Gertrude Blugerman was Asimov’s first wife, whom he married on July 26, 1942, after meeting her on a blind date on February 14, 1942. During Asimov’s employment at the Philadelphia Navy Yard (where two of his colleagues were L. Sprague de Camp and Robert A. Heinlein), the couple lived in an apartment in West Philadelphia. 

They both lived in Brooklyn from July 1946 to July 1948, when they moved to Stuyvesant Town, Manhattan. After moving to Boston in May 1949, they then moved to nearby suburbs Somerville in July 1949, Waltham in May 1951, and, ultimately, West Newton in 1956. There were two children born to them, David (born 1951) and Robyn Joan (born 1955).

In 1970, Asimov and his wife separated, and he moved back to New York, this time to the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Janet O. Jeppson, a psychiatrist, and science-fiction writer became his new wife two weeks after he divorced Gertrude.

Favorite Isaac Asimov Quotes

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge. 


The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.


Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.


The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ but ‘That’s funny…’


I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them.


It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.


Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today – but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all.

View our larger collection of the best Isaac Asimov quotes.

Further Reading

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