This landmark book is for those of us who prefer words to equations; this is the story of the ultimate quest for knowledge, the ongoing search for the secrets at the heart of time and space. Its author, Stephen W. Hawking, is arguably the greatest mind since Einstein. From the vantage point of the wheelchair, where he has spent the last 20 years trapped by Lou Gehrig's disease, Professor Hawking has transformed our view of the universe. A Brief History of Time is Hawking's classic introduction to today's most important scientific ideas about the cosmos. It is read here by the Emmy Award-winning host of The Michael Jackson Show on KABC-TV.
©1988 Stephen W. Hawking (P)2005 Phoenix Books, Inc.
"A masterful summary of what physicists now think the world is made of and how it got that way." (The Wall Street Journal)
"Lively and provocative, Hawking clearly possesses a natural teacher's gift, easy, good-natured humor, and an ability to illustrate highly complex propositions with analogies plucked from daily life." (The New York Times)
I really enjoyed this book. It helped me better understand many of the great advances in physics, astronomy, and cosmology of the 20th century. The narration was great and included a couple jokes and personal notes about/from the author that lent a human touch to the subject.
As good as the book is, I think it would be a real struggle for those who don?t already have a familiarity with some of the topics. Further, because of the books age some of the ideas are out of date (e.g. the latest evidence is that the universe is not only expanding, but doing so at an ever increasing rate). Nonetheless, the book is worth reading and re-reading (as I?ll do).
A few people said here that the book was boring because they already knew all the concepts... I couldn't DISagree more. I'm a physics/astrophysics student in my senior year, and know all these concepts like the back of my hand, but this book was still such a pleasure to listen to. Hawking writes in such a way that this book was one of the best I've ever encountered (on these topics), and has the potential to really intreague anyone and everyone. I'd recommend it to anyone!
Content - This is a "pop physics" classic. Fairly complex topics are covered in an entertaining and clear manner. There is a "leap" in the book in moving from the macro to the micro, but this isn't so much a function of the book, but of the science at this point.
Math isn't really needed, but a scientific mindset helps
Adaptation - as it is unabridged, there is little in the way of adaptation. The "voice" of the book is of a "lecture" type which translates well. There are figures in the printed work that help clarify things, but these are few and only minimally impact the experience
Narration - Solid. It is a fairly emotionally even subject and the reader doesn't attempt to "overdress" the text.
I have heard Hawking lectures read by Hawking and, sadly, the mechanical voice can be stressful to listen to at first (you do get used to it), but a professional human reader is easier
This book dives right in and tells a story that helped me understand how many of the 20th century advances in theoretical physics relate to my world/life.
I'm going through this for a second time a year or so after the first and am loving it. The writing is personal with insight into the creative scientific process. The narrator and sound quality are wonderful: good inflections. The narrator sometimes hesitates on words in a way that makes it sound like he's thinking or recalling, it's delightful.
As you already know what this book is about, I will tell you how it affected a student with limited mathematical background and none in physics. Well, it was wonderful- this is one of the only audiobooks for which I must abandon all other sources of distraction. Hawking's descriptions and analogies are spot-on for my taste, and I rarely had to re-listen to any of it to grasp the concepts.
The narration is good too. Jackson, thankfully unique from most stoic-sounding professionals, actually gets caught up in what he is reading! I believe that speaks volumes, as it were, about the book itself. Even (and perhaps especially) if you're not a fan of these topics, take this chance to culture yourself with this mind-expanding prize.
While the content from Stephen Hawking is interesting, it's difficult to follow due to the narrator's very strange vocal cadence. Not only is his timing odd, but it sounds as if it's the first time he's glanced at the manuscript, stumbling over words.
I also own this book in hardcover. As an unscientifically trained person with a passion for reading the latest news in scientific theory, this is an excellent resource to go back to for clarification on certain points.
My only complaint would be with the narrator, who seems not to have read the script beforehand and sometimes forgets he is making a recording- even acting surprised at the material and stopping midword or midsentence at times.
"... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^
I know. I know. I both loved and hated this book. I definitely should never have read this book, cut the pages, opened the box, etc.. Somehow Stephen Hawking has written a book that gently fluffs the tail on Schrödinger's cat (or perhaps Schrödinger's cat is fluffing Dr. Hawking).
Look, no doubt the guy is a genius and has a fantastic story (ALS, computer voice, nurses, Black Holes, strippers, movies, etc). My problem is the wussification of a large scientific narrative by one of Big “P” Physics primary scientists. Let someone else write a pop-GUT/Blackhole/Big Bang story. Let another writer do the pop-up Children's book with the scratch-n-sniff singularity, the rotating black hole, the pull-out universe.
I want Dr. Hawking doing smart stuff. Let Bill Bryson write the summary science. But it is too late for me. I already crossed the damn event horizon. I've just become entangled with his book, so my "observer state" now corresponds to the damn book and the damn book review being both five stars and 1 stars is no longer a possibility; my reader state is entangled or linked now with my own review so that the "observation of the book review's state" and the "review's state" correspond with each other. I am finished.
Hey, now to go see some movies about blackholes and wormholes and a-holes.
For a thirty-something who hasn't studied much science since high-school biology, this was a bit challenging...but rewarding.
Hawking delivers a summary of the popular theories on the origin of our planet, it's place in the universe, and everything we know and don't know about the laws that govern it.
He does a good job of helping the layman understand what may be unfamiliar concepts (they were to me anyway) like the second law of thermodynamics, the event horizon, relativity and red shift by use of analogy and "for example" type descriptions. The best audience would seem to be a college science major who has a bit of a passion for astronomy or physics or the like.
I found the reader's voice a bit monotone and I could often hear more excitement and animation in Hawking's words by re-reading them aloud in my own mind.
"Fascinating and bewildering."
I have read the book, and thoroughly enjoyed it, however the audio version assists understanding of more complicated hypotheses, by providing the listener with a passive and more comfortable viewpoint.
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