First of all, the graphics must be included to support his analogies. Second, I don't understand why so much time was put into describing what something is not. The tone of the book can be misinterpreted by those with an agenda. He uses the term "fine-tuned" far too much and in a misguided way. I have been looking for a book with good thought experiments as engaging as Einstein's were but the ones in the book did not connect with me.
I was disappointed since "The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World" is a great book. The flow of the two books couldn't be more different.
This book felt like John Kerry explaining entropy to me.
I highly recommend Sean Carroll's other books
"A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing" It's similar but is far more confident and explains the concepts in a simpler manner.
Like many, I am fascinated by exploration into the nature of time and the long-term fate of the universe. Books on the subjects range from the extremely fuzzy to the fairly technical. I dislike mere handwaving, but I know that too formal a treatment can leave the layperson without an intuitive understanding of the topics involved.
Carroll's treatment is both concise and highly thought provoking. He strongly ties the characteristics of time as we perceive it to the second law of thermodynamics, so his discussion is driven by the concept of entropy. He does far better than most in giving a sense of how entropy is not merely "disorder", and uses understandable lines of logic to investigate some very deep questions of time and the history of the universe. He does the best job I've seen, for example, of arguing why the anthropic principle is insufficient to explain why we live in a universe where an arrow of time exists at all.
Carroll's exposition takes us through some careful thought about what we mean by "time" (at least three different things, which are in fact distinct), a discussion of the basics of special and general relativity, an introduction to the relevant aspects of quantum mechanics, some tantalizing glimpses into what we've learned about quantum gravity, and works toward answering the big question: how is it that we come to live in a universe that, at its genesis, had such startlingly low entropy. Along the way, he is careful to distinguish what is universally acknowledged in physics and cosmology, what is generally agreed upon, and what is speculative. His speculative but intriguing model of a universe that spawns baby universes seems both interesting and plausible to this layman.
For someone with some background in the subject, I think this an excellent read. After finishing it, I have a much better understanding of vacuum energy, quantum gravity, cosmological inflation, the issue of remembering the past and not the future, and many other topics. The narrator is interesting to listen to without being distracting, and the book is nicely paced. Overall, I found this to be one of the two or three best books I have read on the subject.
I found the content in this book redundant and ponderous. After reading Fabric of the Cosmos, I was searching for a contemporary book on cosmology. Sean Carroll had the Ivy League credentials, that's as far as it went. If you want to sift it, read the epilogue.
Did not care for the narrators style, tended to be monotone and not engaging
While I like technical, I also lake a laymens approach to clarify the technical and provide more of a real life aplication
not really, somewhat dry