Although I am left-handed, I play the piano right-handed.
450 minutes of book that could have been 45 minutes and not lost a thing.
If there's an abridged version, I'd suggest you go with that instead.
I never really cared about astronomy and missed the whole brouhaha concerning Pluto and Xena. This book lift the curtain for me about how life is for an Astronomer. I love the humor and the scientific insight that Brown gives to his field of work and study. I can understand why he was given the Richard Feynman Teaching Award...after listening to this book...I can imagine how good his lectures and class would be.
Mike Brown does a fantastic job of interweaving the story of his search for large astronomical bodies beyond Pluto with his family life. There's suspense (bad guys trying to steal planets), humor (Mike graphing his newborn daughter's eating and sleeping habits), science (explained so a person of average intelligence can understand it), and controversy (Pluto was kicked out of the planetary fraternity with more than a little discussion). I found it fascinating to discover that the number of accepted planets has fluctuated many times.
The only complaints I've seen about the book focus on the fact that it's not just about Pluto, Eris' discovery, and science. Go into your reading of this book with your eyes open. It's also about several large planetoids he's found, which, for me, helps put things in perspective. It includes a little bit of his childhood. He talks about his wife and child. This isn't really Pluto's story. It's Mike Brown's story and how his discoveries and the question "what is a planet?" resulted in Pluto's demotion.
This was an incredibly fun & informative read and listen. After I borrowed the book from the library (December 2010), I not only bought a hardbound copy, I purchased an audiobook version too. The narrator did a great job. I recommend this book to everyone.
Mike Brown does an excellent job not only telling about his discoveries, but explaining the whole planetary Astronomy thingy to the layperson. His passion for planets is infectious!
You do have to have at least a vague interest in the topic, however, so it's not for everyone. Thus only four stars.
This memoir of how Pluto came to be demoted from planethood, by the astronomer who was chiefly responsible, could have been dry and self-aggrandizing. Instead, Mike Brown has written an engaging and intelligent book infused with humor. Underlying the unifying story of how Brown's discovery of a large planet-like object orbiting the sun led to the controversy about Pluto is a portrayal of the life of an academic scientist. Ryan Gesell's narration is perfect. I liked this audio book so much that I plan to leave it on my mp3 player so I can listen to it again.
I love this book so much. It's perfect for someone who is scientifically retarded but still loves the idea of space. He explains his concepts as if to a 2 its old while still making his story compelling and gripping. And of course, you understand why the little planet that could had to go.
Science and wit. This is a great entertaining read. The narrator's voice provides the perfect tone. It made my drive go by so quickly!
This was a very entertaining listen. I know almost nothing about astronomy except what I learned in Grammar School, but I was engaged and able to follow everything in the story. Not just for science nerds, this had a touching family element and was fun from beginning to end. Great narration too!
The book: I have always been a fan of astronomy. This book was interesting to me because it gave me a glimpse into the life of the astronomer, the researcher, and the discoveror. The material was not so technical that the reader might get lost, nor was it dumbed down to the point of being boring. I liked this book and would recommend it to anybody interested in astronomy.
The reader: The reader was o.k. The material of the book does not lend itself to the reader needing to do a wide range of voices.
The rating: I did not give it five stars because as interesting as the book was, it did not capture me the way other books have: such as Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel, for example, or the way Carl Sagan books were captivating when I was younger.
If you've ever had a fantasy about being a great astronomer this book will give you ample fodder for your imagination.