Letting the rest of the world go by
For each chapter the author tells you what he's going to tell you about an anomaly, then tells you about it, and then explains to you what he just told you, and all the while explaining to you the science that surrounds it.
The book is so good at putting the context around the mystery that after listening to the book, I was able to explain each of the 13 mysterious from memory while discussing the book with my spouse and she even acted like she was interested with what I had to say.
I was reluctant to purchase this book because I thought it was going to be 13 different essays. I was wrong. It really is not. I don't like listening to essays because it takes me an hour to get into a topic while listening, but for this book each chapter flowed into the next chapter and seemed related to the preceding chapter.
I have listened to it multiple times. This is one of those books that I listen to time and again and learn something new, or have something new to think about each time.
The giant virus... sorry, just kidding. It's a book about gaps in science - not exactly a character based drama.
They're all interesting: this book reminds me that science is still far from having explained... well much at all, really. It's just beginning.
The more we know, the more we know we don't know.
Wow!!! If you liked The Universe in a Nutshell, Stephen Hawking's New Book you filp on this one. Not a dull moment from page one to the end. LOVED IT ALL.
Don't get me wrong--as Brooks goes to some trouble to illustrate, it's when we think we have final and definitive answers to the mysteries of our universe that we get into trouble. Brooks tackles subjects ranging from dark matter to homeopathy (this last one particularly surprised me). His explanation of the current state of knowledge on such topics is generously interspersed with tales of the foibles of the scientific method in the hands of all too human scientists. What comes across clearly is the risk of any unquestioned orthodox belief or assumption--yet how are we to gain new insights unless we are to build on the knowledge and discoveries of preceding generations? It is a conundrum that will inevitably haunt any scientist who also happens to be a human being.
It can be the curse of such books that the "cutting edge" of science very quickly becomes a dull blade, indeed. This book is over 4 years old and I suspect that there have been numerous developments in the fields Brooks covers since the book's publication. Since I'm not exactly on the cutting edge myself, I found the material to be enlightening and often amazing, although the discussion did get pretty technical at times. It is the study of the human aspect of scientific discovery that will continue to be relevant long after the science has been outdated.
I loved this book. But then, I'm a scientist, engineer,and geek. If you are thrilled by all things science, then this is a great book.
This wasn't exactly what I was expecting in all honesty. There was alot of history mixed in with unexplained science. Normally I wouldn't have liked that very much, but it was done exceptionally well. The topics also were not exactly what I was expecting, but I think that was for the best. I was very impressed with the topics, and the discussions themselves. The topics included why we produce sexually as opposed to asexually, why we die, the placebo effect, there were a few quantum physics issues, etc. A very good read, if not a bit deep. I recommend being able to devote a bit more attention than usual to this book when you listen. It can get a bit complex at times.
Hyperbole is the Best Thing EVER!!!!
The religious right. Conspiracy theorists. Anti-intellectuals. And anybody who HATES science.
The author has no clear understanding of his subject matter and has read just enough as someone who hates science to get away with talking about. It's like those people who are atheists and no way too much about the bible, because they say "know your enemy". Science is not your enemy. And religion is not your enemy (and yes I am an atheist). Stupid people are your enemy. And it's the stupid people that try and turn science or religion into something that serves their agenda, rather than accept what they have to offer.
Cold Fusion? The reason people don't believe in CF is because it has never been verifiable. Nobody can make it happen within the parameters described every time. That means something is wrong with the idea. People are still looking into. That's what science does.
Homeopathy? If you want to spend your hard earned money on water because you think it has memory, then you deserve to get ripped off. And don't complain about taxes, because homeopathy is a tax on stupidity and you pay it gladly.
Evolution? He has no idea what evolution is. It's not sexual selection as he describes it.
Pot shots at Carl Sagan? Author is a troll.
So if you love science avoid this book. Because the first two chapters aren't bad and will fool you.
A book that isn't written by a charlatan.
The reader did okay and doesn't deserve to be judged on the material
The first two chapters are decent. And they lull you into a false sense of security before he hits you with the crazy.
Anyone who is interested in science and the world around them should read this book. All 13 things are almost completely taken for granted by us. Anywhere from the definition of death or dark matter and what keeps the stars in place are discussed. Michael Brooks arranges each point in a great way. There is a building feeling while reading. It's sounds odd to say that dark matter is the smallest topic in the scheme of things. That's until you realize that viruses and free will are much deeper topics that require understanding.
Michael Brooks also explains each topic is such a way to give you scope without asking the reader to research for each subject matter. An amazing book....
This book really jazzed me! I've listened to it twice so far and also brought the book in print. It has inspired me to look deeper into all the subjects covered in the book and branch out. Even a year later I am still raving about this book. It's a real poser and if it doesn't make you think about and question life and all it's aspects then you are brain dead.
I'm looking forward to more form this author as well as Brian Greene, Stephen Hawking and all the people mentioned in the book.
Well read, proper pronunciation, no exazzerations, can't hear breathing or other background noises.
Please, I want to see more books like this.
The author does an excellent job of making extremely esoteric/complicated scientific theories accessible to the average reader/listener. I finally have a grasp on what dark energy/matter is believed to be (no small feat). And he provides a good balance between stating the cases both for and against for many of the unknowns.
Don't be afraid to hit the "go back and listen to that bit again" button if something slips by you. I had to do that a few times to sort things out.
The narrator sometimes sounds a bit pedantic/pretentious, but that could also be the subject matter. The technobabble glides off of his tongue smoothly (no small feat!) and he also projects an earnestness.
Definitely a good listen.