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The Grand Design | [Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow]

The Grand Design

The most fundamental questions about the origins of the universe and of life itself, once the province of philosophy, now occupy the territory where scientists, philosophers, and theologians meet—if only to disagree. In their new book, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow present the most recent scientific thinking about the mysteries of the universe, in nontechnical language marked by both brilliance and simplicity.
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Publisher's Summary

THE FIRST MAJOR WORK IN NEARLY A DECADE BY ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREAT THINKERS—A MARVELOUSLY CONCISE BOOK WITH NEW ANSWERS TO THE ULTIMATE QUESTIONS OF LIFE

When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the nature of reality? Why are the laws of nature so finely tuned as to allow for the existence of beings like ourselves? And, finally, is the apparent “grand design” of our universe evidence of a benevolent creator who set things in motion—or does science offer another explanation?

The most fundamental questions about the origins of the universe and of life itself, once the province of philosophy, now occupy the territory where scientists, philosophers, and theologians meet—if only to disagree. In their new book, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow present the most recent scientific thinking about the mysteries of the universe, in nontechnical language marked by both brilliance and simplicity.

In The Grand Design they explain that according to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence or history, but rather that every possible history of the universe exists simultaneously. When applied to the universe as a whole, this idea calls into question the very notion of cause and effect. But the “top-down” approach to cosmology that Hawking and Mlodinow describe would say that the fact that the past takes no definite form means that we create history by observing it, rather than that history creates us. The authors further explain that we ourselves are the product of quantum fluctuations in the very early universe, and show how quantum theory predicts the “multiverse”—the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature.

Along the way Hawking and Mlodinow question the conventional concept of reality, posing a “model-dependent” theory of reality as the best we can hope to find. And they conclude with a riveting assessment of M-theory, an explanation of the laws governing us and our universe that is currently the only viable candidate for a complete “theory of everything.” If confirmed, they write, it will be the unified theory that Einstein was looking for, and the ultimate triumph of human reason.

A succinct, startling, and lavishly illustrated guide to discoveries that are altering our understanding and threatening some of our most cherished belief systems, The Grand Design is a book that will inform—and provoke—like no other.

©2010 Steven Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow (P)2010 Random House Audio

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  •  
    kevmoo United States 12-14-11
    kevmoo United States 12-14-11 Member Since 2015

    I live in Seattle. I write code. I listen when I'm out with the dog.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Solid, but just solid."

    I've consumed a lot of content in this area (books, videos, etc). I felt like the authors were a bit distracted here. What is M theory. A discussion of creation myths and how they map to our desire to understand. I felt that the book jumped around a bit. I felt the treatment of M theory to be a bit lacking. I did learn some things. I came away with a much greater appreciation for Feynman, especially. But I was also a bit disappointed. I'm not sure how to compare the content of this book to that of Brian Greene, but Dr. Greene does weave a better narrative.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric San bernardino, CA, United States 10-28-10
    Eric San bernardino, CA, United States 10-28-10 Member Since 2003
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    "I really expected More"

    Overall the book was good, but you get all that is in this book in second year Physics, but with the numbers that back it up. I know that it was probibly written for the lay person, but really I was underwhelmed. If taht was the only problem that I had with it I would have given it a 5 star, but the poor attempt at philosophy at the beginning was like reading Depak Chopra. An attempt to reconsile relativism while maintaining an objective reality from which evidence can be derived. The philosophy at the beginning is deeply flawed or poorly explained, I favor the former. I have read much, much better.

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David PASADENA, CA, United States 10-23-10
    David PASADENA, CA, United States 10-23-10 Member Since 2010

    Started audiobooks years ago. Now instead of pop music on my ride to work or walk around the neighborhood I get enriched and smarter.

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    "Too simple actually"

    No new ideas were presented, just a rehash of other theories. In the end Hawking paints some broad strokes without putting down much of a base. Good, but not worth the buildup.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William R. Smith Evansville, IN 05-01-15
    William R. Smith Evansville, IN 05-01-15 Member Since 2011

    Bill

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    "Fascinating story !"

    The book was a great read well explained and written
    The reader did a great performance nice voice enjoyed every word

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    alexis 04-28-15
    alexis 04-28-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Awesome learning!"

    This right here is time we'll spent! The essential everyone should know. God is dead.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    qi 04-20-15
    qi 04-20-15 Member Since 2014
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    "excellent book and excellent narrator"

    Quite Worth the buy. And enjoyed the narration very much. It is an excellent book and also it is an excellent narrator

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samuel Odewale TULSA, OK, United States 03-08-15
    Samuel Odewale TULSA, OK, United States 03-08-15

    In hot pursuit of life's understanding

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    "Thought provoking"

    The book is thought provoking and well narrated. The argument in the book are really sound and it is easy to understand how the universe works after listening to the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JPM NYC 03-06-15
    JPM NYC 03-06-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Excellent"

    A lot of very make sense of it all information. I will say at times I did get lost but continued to listen. This is not a one and done book. I have listened to it twice and will again due to the information.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew 02-01-15
    Andrew 02-01-15
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    "Thought provoking"

    I really enjoyed this book. It is makes modern physics accessable to those of us who are not career physicists. it is a bit of a hard read but the understanding one gains is well worth the read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mario Streger São Paulo / Brazil 09-05-14
    Mario Streger São Paulo / Brazil 09-05-14
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    "Amazing, like all book from Stephen Hawking"

    I like this subject a lot, and for me Stephen Hawking is the best writer for general public (me). In this work he helps us understand the cutting edge ideas of science and physics.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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