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Publisher's Summary

From Jim Holt, New York Times best-selling author of Why Does the World Exist?, comes When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought, an entertaining and accessible audiobook guide to the most profound scientific and mathematical ideas of recent centuries

Does time exist? What is infinity? Why do mirrors reverse left and right but not up and down? In this scintillating collection, Holt explores the human mind, the cosmos, and the thinkers who’ve tried to encompass the latter with the former. With his trademark clarity and humor, Holt probes the mysteries of quantum mechanics, the quest for the foundations of mathematics, and the nature of logic and truth. Along the way, he offers intimate biographical sketches of celebrated and neglected thinkers, from the physicist Emmy Noether to the computing pioneer Alan Turing and the discoverer of fractals, Benoit Mandelbrot. In this audiobook, Holt offers a painless and playful introduction to many of our most beautiful but least understood ideas, from Einsteinian relativity to string theory, and also invites listeners to consider why the greatest logician of the 20th century believed the US Constitution contained a terrible contradiction - and whether the universe truly has a future.

©2018 Jim Holt (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

What members say

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Essayist posing as Philosopher-Physicist

If you're looking for great stories to share around the campfire while singing Kumbaya, this book might be just right for you! It's a collection of entertaining essays (with quite a bit of overlap between them) from a pretty good writer who doesn't actually ever demonstrate much depth of knowledge; but plenty of breadth.

After comparing the title of the book with its contents, you might think the author is unintentionally demonstrating the Dunning-Kruger Effect; at least, that's my take-away after listening to this entire Audible.

Maybe the book's title was just a bad choice, so I was expecting too much. The essays do contain a lot of details, just not the necessary depth to give those details meaning.

If you're looking for something with more depth in the physics arena specifically, but a lot less breadth, try "What Is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics" by Adam Becker. It's still not deep enough for my taste, but it's a better choice than Jim Holt's book here.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Facinating Stroies in Science and Philosophy

This is a great book about all the interesting stuff in the philosophy of science. It is where science takes a leap of faith and philosophy becomes relevant that things become really fascinating. What we don't know or know very little about, what is counterintuitive, and the brilliant minds that laboured to reveal their secrets.

Some people think all science uses the same methodology and disagreements are in the details. This book shows opposing thought on science, epistemology, and belief. Whether its about time, relativity, quantum physics, or just the way we think, this book shines a light on some of the most intriguing aspects of modern knowledge and the quirky people behind them.

Questions, especially the unanswered ones, are the interesting ones, and this book does not disappoint. highly recommended to philosophy and philosophy of science fans, as well as anyone who likes the mysteries of reality if one does exist.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Impressive scope w stimulating ideas

Despite the impressive scope (math, philosophy, the fate of the universe), the book is very enjoyable and moves quickly. I don't buy all the philosophy, yet it's interesting to hear such a broad, rapidly moving take. I'll enjoy a second listen.

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First 2/3 we good

This book started out strong and had interesting historical information and science. In the last third of the book it went off the rails. I have down graded my rating from 5 to 4 as I had not read it all the way through when I rated it initially.

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Thought provoking

Can be a bit dry at times, overall though, very interesting to listen to even if some of it went well over my head. Would recommend 👌