Letting the rest of the world go by
It takes a mineral expert to understand the development of earth. I'm not a mineral expert and I don't play one on TV, but after listening to this book I feel like I'm a geologist in training.
I didn't think it was possible. The author makes minerals and its science interesting. He has an over arching theory that's best summarized as "the origin of (mineral) species".
For those of you who have a pet theory and have a deep understanding of the subject you'll probably find many things to criticize about this book and you'd probably be right. Either your theory is not covered at all or he doesn't cover it in the way you believe. Give the author a break, he's covering over 4 1/2 billion years of history.
I'll be awaiting further shows on Discovery covering this same topic, and maybe this time I'll be able to follow them.
I bought this book on the Kindle when it first came out, because I didn't think there was going to be an audio version. I had read 2/3 of the book on the Kindle and listened to the last 1/3 of the book on audible. The reader really made the book better. He has a way of making what he's reading as exciting as the subject matter deserves. I probably would not have finished the kindle, I much prefer to listen. Good book and even better listen.
This was not an easy book to understand and the particle zoo plays a large role in the discussion and often I would lose my way only because the material is sometimes hard to follow, but the book covers everything you always wanted to know about the Higgs Boson and its field, but were afraid to ask.
I absolutely loved the author's previous book, "From Eternity to Here", and couldn't wait for this book. He's such a good writer and explains better than almost anyone. There are enough good parts in this book to make the particle zoo part worth listening to.
There's one important theme that runs through the book that will make the book easier to understand. That is these five words: "not observed waves, observed particles". In the background of the universe is the Higgs field and it is the vibration of this field that gives particles their mass. The author explains this and relates it to possible solutions to dark matter and dark energy.
The book is more of a text book than a popular science book. The author is very good at stating what he's going to tell you, than tells you, and than summarize what he just told you.
I understand chemistry even less than I understand bio-chemistry and the book uses both extensively. He'll explain the terms and often I wouldn't understand any of the technical words for whole pages (minutes) at a time, but I would always understand what his point was.
The book is not for the faint of heart and is by far the most difficult book I have ever listen to because of its complexity. After having listen to it, I really have an understanding of how the universe could have become self aware.
The reader does an excellent job of reading the book in a dry manner as if it were a text book. I have a feeling that the book could be used in a graduate course on the origins of life in a bio-chem or biology graduate course.
The book is definitely worth risking a credit on, but beware it is a difficult listen.
Walter Dixon's narration is probably my favorite narration I've listened to so far. His voice is very warm and friendly, and he speaks as if he's telling a story, rather than lecturing you. The book is actually surprisingly accessible even to people who might not be geology or chemistry fans, and it goes just deep enough into the subjects to satisfy those who might be interested, without being too awfully dry. I was fascinated by a lot of the content and I feel like I've learned a lot! Due to the dense nature of the material, I sometimes need to go over some chapters multiple times, but it's never a bad experience because the narration is so smooth. Definitely recommend this one!