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The Grand Design | [Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow]

The Grand Design

In this groundbreaking new work, Professor Hawking and renowned science writer Leonard Mlodinow have drawn on 40 years of Hawking's own research and a recent series of extraordinary astronomical observations and theoretical breakthroughs to reveal an original and controversial theory.
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Publisher's Summary

In the last 30 years of his life, Albert Einstein searched for a unified theory - a theory which could describe all the forces of nature in a single framework. But the time was not right for such a discovery in Einstein's day.

Neither was the time right when, in 1988, Professor Stephen Hawking wrote A Brief History of Time, in which he took us on a journey through classical physics, Einstein's theory of relativity, quantum physics and string theory in order to explain the universe that we live in. He concluded, like Einstein, that science may soon arrive at the long sought after 'Theory of Everything'.

In this groundbreaking new work, Professor Hawking and renowned science writer Leonard Mlodinow have drawn on 40 years of Hawking's own research and a recent series of extraordinary astronomical observations and theoretical breakthroughs to reveal an original and controversial theory. They convincingly argue that scientific obsession with formulating a single new model may be misplaced, and that by synthesising existing theories we may discover the key to finally understanding the universe's deepest mysteries.

Written with the clarity and lively style for which Hawking is famous, The Grand Design is an account of Hawking's quest to fuse these different strands of scientific theory. It examines the differences between past and future, explains the nature of reality and asks an all-important question: How far can we go in our search for understanding and knowledge?

©2010 Stephen W Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow (P)2010 Random House AudioBooks

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (34 )
5 star
 (16)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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4.3 (22 )
5 star
 (8)
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3 star
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Story
4.2 (22 )
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 (13)
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Performance
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  •  
    Tim Upper Caboolture, Australia 09-19-12
    Tim Upper Caboolture, Australia 09-19-12 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book, but..."
    How could the performance have been better?

    The narrator seemed not to have a feel for the subject. His emphases were the same in every sentence and thus his delivery was worse than boring, it was distracting in its implacable pacing. Tried to listen to this a second time but couldn't finish it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ian Nedlands, Australia 09-17-12
    Ian Nedlands, Australia 09-17-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Modern View of Cosmology"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would definitly recommend this book to anybody who needs a concise view of the current understanding of the origin of the universe, space and time.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The explanation of quantum physics was understandable and fun.


    What about Steve West’s performance did you like?

    The reader did a great job of clearly presenting the material covered in this book.


    Any additional comments?

    If you wish to know about multiverses this is a good starting point.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Frank
    Omagh, United Kingdom
    10/4/10
    Overall
    "Fantastic, thought provoking book"

    This is one of the most interesting a thought provoking books I have ever read. Some of the concepts are so mind blowing I had to listen twice to even begin to understand. The books gives a very readable overview of the current thinking on the theory of 'life, the universe and everything'.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Athula
    Abingdon, United Kingdom
    10/7/10
    Overall
    "The Grand Design a great book but read badly!"

    This is an excellent book, but the audio version read by Steve West is a let down. The publishers should know better (by now), in compiling audio books, just reading very fast (so that it can finish quickly -- why is the hurry) does not work well. Steve West's reading is like a running train (each compartment (i.e. sentence) seem to wobble in between and raises and plonk with the next. As the concepts described in the book needs understanding (i.e. putting together in mind analytically with the previously assimilated hard facts). So the running train with um-ha-ha would not help. I strongly suggest to buy the printed version of the book instead of this audio version.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Ianek
    5/16/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant Ideas+Born Communicator = True Genius"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Endlessly fascinating and accessible examination of Life, the Universe and Everything. Even Marvin would approve...probably.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Grand Design?

    Everything between the covers.


    What does Steve West bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Just the right voice and delivery for the subject. A full range of emotional expression to do justice to a brilliantly lucid examination of the mysteries which consume us all.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me excited to explore the physical universe and the hidden universe of sub atomic particles, to be allowed to journey on the coattails of a great mind and someone with a great thirst for knowledge and wonderful sense of enthusiasm for life as well as a fine sense of humour.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • S. Morris
    London, UK
    3/19/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Written by physicists for physicists."

    Having been a long time admirer of Hawkins work and watched several documentaries covering the various theories he expounds I figured that I should get hold of "The Grand Design" as I felt sure it would be a fascinating and informative read. After all, you can't go wrong with a book co-written by Stephen Hawking, right?

    Umm ... wrong!

    As much as I hate to cast a negative opinion on anything Hawkins does I have to say that this book is almost incomprehensible to the humble ordinary reader like myself. I hope this doesn't place me in the lower end of the intelligence pool but honesty must prevail here when I say I found the book horribly complicated and almost unreadable. I was going to quit the book on more than one occasion which would be a total first on any of the close to 200 books I've read on Audible. It was probably the short (like Einstein stated, that term is relative) 4 hour length of this title that was the only factor that got me through to the end.

    Did I learn anything Well, a lot of history and some theology which wasn't what I really signed up for when I purchased this book. Unfortunately a significant proportion of this book is taken up with various histories of how humanity viewed the universe along with many of the theological doctrines too. In the early section of this book every time a new person was mentioned their year of birth and death were also mentioned. This began to read more like a history journal than getting to the key elements of the physics. Perhaps a brief background in how we came by or used to believe how the universe worked would have been fine but this went on far too long and were often obscure and irrelevant examples and only padded out the narrative.

    The essence of the problem I have with this book is the fact that it is apparently written for mass market consumption and yet it is so complex as to be indigestible to the average reader who does not have a strong background in quantum physics. What I had really hoped for was that the principles and theories would've been written in such a way as to give the average reader fascinating and comprehensible insights into the way the universe works. Instead we get a book written by physicists for physicists. Given the wonderfully presented documentaries on this subject you see on TV and how they've been carefully presented to allow the lay person to grasp many of the presented ideas I am disappointed that this book was unable to do this.

    The narrator was clear and competent but when I hear someone say "Vicer versa" instead of how it is written which is "Vice versa" and for some inexplicable reason says Copernicus so that it sounds like Co-pernicus I have to wonder. A minor gripe perhaps but one that bothers me when the overall quality of the narration was excellent.

    I don't know if the peppering of what was intended to be humorous quips throughout the book was Hawkins doing or his co-author but if this was the only attempt to make the book appeal to the mass market then it was a poor and somewhat irritating one.

    I was really hoping I would like this book but after just reaching the end of it I am left mostly unenlightened, tired and glad it was over with. The book reads more like a major thesis paper intended for the academic community which should only be available in university libraries rather than a mass market title.

    The only people I could recommend this book to are those heavily into quantum physics who are doing studies on the subject or those who suffer from insomnia.

    Shame really as I wanted to get something from this but alas it's going to be consigned to the nearest black hole which is thankfully even denser than evidentially I am.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Catherine
    United Kingdom
    12/24/12
    Overall
    "Best book in a long long time"

    Fantastic, more question than answers yet so stasitying to know so many others feel the same, in more mind-boggling ways.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • james
    wellington, United Kingdom
    7/25/12
    Overall
    "Really interesting but you need to listen"

    The book is excellent in fact I don’t think I can produce the superlatives to explain the joy I found in this book and the pleasure of finishing it only to want to start reading it again.

    But it isn’t a light read so don't pick it up unless you are really willing to commit to it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    CONGLETON, United Kingdom
    5/14/12
    Overall
    "Is the Science is correct? Brill nevertheless!"

    Captivating description of modern science. However I suspect some of the recent leaps of faith may not stand up to as much scrutiny as Einstein did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jeremy
    Malvern Wells, United Kingdom
    6/27/11
    Overall
    "Mind boggling book, well read...."

    A mind boggling book, as you might expect from Stephen Hawkins, where he argues from the "No Boundaries" theory of alternative histories for abandoning the search for a single unified "Theory of Everything", and instead adopt "Model Dependant Realism", underpinning a network of different scientific theories, which may not always be fully compatible (e.g. QM and Relativity).

    This web of theories is the famous "M Theory", involving supergravity, string
    theory, QM, Relativity, Brane theory and so on. Interestingly, although the authors argue consistently against the need for a divine creative intelligence, their thesis was more consistent with Process Philosophy, than with our conventional Cartesian substance ontology.

    Some crass statements jar, such as the arguments for determinism (and against free will), which is surprising as they elsewhere argue for the non-deterministic nature of quantum uncertainty. They also repeat the over simplistic "Heroic Science" myth of the Copernican model being opposed on religious grounds, without mentioning the then valid scientific grounds for opposition such as the parallax problem. The book is also quite short at 4.5 hrs. However, these are minor quibbles.

    The reader: Steve West is excellent: measured and concise, and easy to listen to. I can only think that the reviewer who found it hurried, had their iPad/iPhone set to 2x reading speed! Judge for yourself on the sample! Overall, an excellent
    audiobook if you like popular science.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Athula
    Abingdon, United Kingdom
    10/7/10
    Overall
    "The Grand Design a great book but read badly!"

    This is an excellent book, but the audio version read by Steve West is a let down. The publishers should know better (by now), in compiling audio books, just reading very fast (so that it can finish quickly -- why is the hurry) does not work well. Steve West's reading is like a running train (each compartment (i.e. sentence) seem to wobble in between and raises and plonk with the next. As the concepts described in the book needs understanding (i.e. putting together in mind analytically with the previously assimilated hard facts). So the running train with um-ha-ha would not help. I strongly suggest to buy the printed version of the book instead of this audio version.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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