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Publisher's Summary

Cosmos is one of the bestselling science books of all time. In clear-eyed prose, Sagan reveals a jewel-like blue world inhabited by a life form that is just beginning to discover its own identity and to venture into the vast ocean of space. Featuring a new Introduction by Sagan's collaborator, Ann Druyan, and a new Foreword by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos retraces the fourteen billion years of cosmic evolution that have transformed matter into consciousness, exploring such topics as the origin of life, the human brain, Egyptian hieroglyphics, spacecraft missions, the death of the Sun, the evolution of galaxies, and the forces and individuals who helped to shape modern science.

Includes introductory music: "Heaven and Hell" by Vangelis from Cosmos: A Personal Voyage used with permission from Druyan-Sagan Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.

An Audible for Dogs Pick: Make your dog's day. Cesar Millan shares how audiobooks can make dogs happier and calmer. Learn more.
©1980 Carl Sagan Productions, Inc (P)2017 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved. Foreword © 2013 by Ann Druyan. “Reflections on Carl Sagan’s Cosmos” essay © 2013 by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Over-acting voice actors

The story is great. And I loved LeVar Burton in Star Trek. My critique is that the majority of the book is narrated by LeVar and his constant over-acting of every line and the immense emphasis on every word makes it extremely tiring to listen to. He even does voices. A lot. It turns ridiculous.
Likewise, Ann Druyan is also audibly squinting, straining her voice, and reads every line like it's the most important revelation. When everything is important, nothing is.
Their voice-acting muddles the message, slows down the reading, and I feel less connected to Carls message as a consequence. I found myself increasingly annoyed with each chapter. Seth MacFarlane is much better.

I've stopped in chapter 8. Their over-acting has ruined this book for me. I cannot finish it.

140 of 151 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • DM
  • 09-11-17

Levar Burton channelling Captain Kirk

What made the experience of listening to Cosmos the most enjoyable?

The book is wonderful but it is exhausting to listen to Levar Burton. I am a fan of his; don't get me wrong, and he should be a genius choice for this. But why is he channelling the classic James T. Kirk delivery? Weird spacing of phrases, strange emphases that distort sentence structures...after a while it gets too distracting and I have to take a break. This is disappointing as I typically listen to audiobooks on long drives.

The content is fascinating and Carl Sagan's enthusiasm, knowledge and love of science shines through regardless. Every few minutes I learn something new.

54 of 58 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Geordi LaForge Teaches you about the Universe

Great Content and Great Narrator! I grew up watching LeVar Burton on TNG and Reading Raonbow, so saying his narration was nostalgic is a bit of an understatement...but nostalgia aside, he does an amazing job. As for the content he reads, lets just say I am saddened that Carl Sagan died before I ever knew who he was.

While some of the more theoretical content in this book is now considered fact or debunked, Cosmos contains a fountain of knowledge about our universe. Sagan takes a detailed look at the process of the living universe attempting to understand itself, starting with a grand, intergalactic perspective, and slowly zooming in the lense all the way to our society, and our minds.

He does get a little heavy handed when it comes to nuclear war, but he wrote this during the Cold War, so good on him for trying to do something about it. I am a little depressed after finishing to realize our global society has changed so little since he released this book in 1980, but if you ignore the 37 year interval, it will give you a hopeful outlook on our future as a single species in a global society. Cosmos delves into the interconnectivity of our universe in a way most people never think of.

Get this book, and learn why we are an endangered species, why the big bang could have been a supernova explosion, and how each of us is made, of "star stuff".

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Inspiring. Innovative. Intelligent.

A fantastic personal journey. Carl Sagan's vision of the Cosmos is enduring and spot on for being written 30+ years ago. Only good will come from this planet's population reading or listening to his words.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Classic.

Carl Sagan is brilliantly able to explain the questions being asked of the cosmos. A true masterpiece of modern science which holds up pretty well even after 30 years. All that said, I’m more inclined to recommend the updated Cosmos tv series by Neil Degrasse Tyson.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Extremely Poor Narration

Would you try another book from Carl Sagan and/or the narrators?

I would try another book by Carl Sagan, as long as someone else reads the book the way that Carl would have read it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Cosmos?

Extremely poor narration.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Their voices were extremely "dramatic". Accentuating every sentence. It was extremely annoying, and I gave up listening to it.

Do you think Cosmos needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Yes. As long as the same people do NOT read it.

Any additional comments?

I have the original hard back copy of this book. I have the paperback version. I have read them several times. I have the DVD version of the program. I have watched it several times. Carl Sagan is one of the most influential people in my life. I was extremely disappointed in the way this book was read. BTW, I also hated the remake of the TV show.

35 of 40 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great except for the narration

Carl Sagan's writings are amazingly still so current today, that I am again struck by how much we missed when this genius died so young. My only criticism is that the breathless, rapid "gee whiz" style the main narrator uses is so opposite to the thoughtful, slow, deep voice of Carl Sagan that I longed for a return to those nights when I sat spellbound in front of the television enraptured by Sagan's own narration. This narrator completely missed the liquidity and thoughtfulness of the original work.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Still Largely Up to Date

I can see now what most popular books on astronomy over the last 35+ years have tried to emulate (this book). I found the book largely still up to date - with phrases that current books still use. Then something pops up that makes you realize the actual date of the book (such as when he refers to a NASA mission scheduled for 1982).

45 of 56 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Book for all Citizens of the Cosmos

As the title of this review implies, this book should be read by all those who can read and are inhabitants of the known universe. This truly uplifting masterpiece written by Carl Sagan should be taught to all children in school as one of humankind's finest literary works. The lucidity with which Carl delivers his insights about the Cosmos and our relationship to the Universe is eye opening and awe inspiring. If every human were raised to value the wisdom contained in this book, humans would finally set aside religious, political, territorial differences and disputes and achieve lasting peace across all parts of the earth. Resources will be shared, the environment protected, and scientific progress would lead the way toward a better life for all. It is my sincere hope that this book continue to be valued for millennia to come.

25 of 31 people found this review helpful

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Simply Amazing

As i was growing up the television series was one of my favorites. I really enjoyed this audible version. It's great to get this message/knowledge in all different mediums. The narration is fantastic & will hopefully appeal to all mentalities great or small. It would truly be a wonderful thing to see all mankind (& womankind ((don't want to offend anybody;))) use their minds in a way that will benefit us, planet & all. I think it all begins with the right thoughts. Thank you Carl (& narrators) for a timeless message.

52 of 66 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrei S.
  • 01-23-18

Astronomy and so much more

While some scientific aspects in the book might have changed in the meantime, the book is still as valuable today as it was almost 40 years ago. For people just getting introduced to astronomy it is still close enough to present views of the universe to give a good introduction and understanding. For the literate astronomers this can also be regarded as a sample of history. Just like Carl Sagan was looking at early astronomers' work and appreciating it with the benefit of hindsight, today's amateur astronomers can look at Carl Sagan's book and get a better understanding of the recent scientific history, with its debates and evolution.
But above all that, I'd say the biggest merit of this book is it made me want to go outside and just look at the vast sky above and the stars that fill it. It also gives a wonderful history of astronomy, as mentioned before.
Finally, the last chapter is sadly as relevant today as it was back then. In the last chapter Sagan raises issues about the dangers and absurdity of nuclear proliferation and the ridiculous amount of resources spent on war or the possibility of war. He raises issues about anti-scientific movements in society and how an uneducated society is more likely to throw itself into irrational conflicts. He raises issues about sexism and misogyny, about chauvinism and nationalism. While he was hopeful that these problems are on the way to being solved, it's sad to see that the world has regressed in the recent past, on all these issues, and that they are all just as relevant today.
So this book is not just an astronomy book. It's a book of education and culture, a book of science and history, a starting point for people to educate themselves.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Honest Dude
  • 08-03-17

Journey of the cosmos interlaced with history

Would you listen to Cosmos again? Why?

I would probably only listen to a couple of chapters again.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Aspects of this book, I would definitely want to listen to in one sitting.

Any additional comments?

This is a great book. Whilst the subject matter is focused on the cosmos and everything to do with it. Carl Sagan does a brilliant job of seamlessly interlacing the subject matter with other branches of sciences not directly related. He introduces other discussions and areas without you as the listener noticing until you realise - hey what's that was interesting.

Carl does a very good job in providing explanations on the subject matter in a way that is generally easily understood, although for some of the more advanced concepts you will need to concentrate and have a presence of mind. Having said that, if this is the first book you listen to regarding the cosmos, it provides a great introduction.

I have listened to other astronomy books including Welcome to the Universe and I found that book to be very technical. I think this was due to the fact that it probably wasn't really suited for audio book format.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr Ribit
  • 06-07-18

Verbose

I think the writer was getting paid per page. I want to hear this stuff but it is very long-winded, story could be told in half as many words. I don't like the style of the narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • P. Stewart
  • 03-21-18

Outdated unfortunately

It starts badly with introductory sessions that are patronising and justifying why they think the book is still relevant. I guess this was a warning!
Science and astronomy has moved apace....this material hasn’t. Combine that with melodramatic narration and the disappointment rises too high. Each sentence is treated like an Oscar winning delivery. It gets tiring.
Some great books are timeless. This is best left on the bookshelf of history. All too often you are left wondering how things are now...30 plus years later.
On the plus side....I didn’t pay full price ;)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-28-18

Terrible pronunciation

Stilted, broken English, sounds computer generated, words being broken, and altering their meaning....
The boring voice is very irritating

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-02-17

Profound and moving

I had very fond memories on the tv series linked to this book, and this Audible version did not disappoint. Its profound and often moving messages are still as relevant and important as when they were first written- possibly even more so. Sagan provided a real understanding of what is known about the universe, and an idea of what is left to be discovered. It delivers some stark messages on the dangers of nuclear war (if only Donald Trump could read!) but is an ultimately hopeful and almost spiritual book.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Adrian
  • 12-11-17

Awesome science, fascinating history, thoughtful philosophy

LeVar Burton’s narration is perfect: one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to.

Carl Sagan’s writing inspires wonder, fascination, and thoughtfulness. The text moves seamlessly from modern astroscience, through ancient history, to evolutionary biology and moral philosophy.

A long read/listen but worth the investment of time!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Russell
  • 09-05-17

Inspirational Reading

I enjoyed the book as much as the TV series but some of the graphical visualisations were difficult to understand from an audio perspective.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • gregg
  • 10-02-17

Outstanding

Insightful, poignant, beautifully written and narrated. A tale of hope, and a note of caution for us all.
A must read.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. J. Cole
  • 08-30-17

Sheer genius.

One of my all time favorite books and tv shows. Just make you realize how"small" we are in the universe and lots of food for thought.

Levar Burton's narration is sublime and easy to listen to.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Brendan shadwell
  • 05-07-18

Brillant

Very easy listening, insightful and mostly still relevant today.

Written by a true genius and read by amazing people.

Loved it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-10-17

incredible

an incredible insight into carl sagans cosmic perspective. An absolute must listen for anyone interested in astronomy or science in general.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Trevor
  • 06-03-17

Worth every cent.

Beautiful. Just beautiful. Still relevant after all these years. Wonderfully narrated. A must have audio book for everyone.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-04-18

Objectively great, but it does show its age.

A brilliant, insightful and deeply poetic story. And it is a story, the most grand story you’ll ever hear, seemlessly intertwining history, politics and science.

It is missing a certain oooomph these days as the cutting edge science discussions have since been surpassed by greater, more recent ventures.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jamie Cottam
  • 09-05-18

Deeply moving.

A wonderfully human book about life, the universe, and everything. Great entryway to Carl Sagan and his unique view of the cosmos.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-29-18

Informative and interesting

Great book, so much information between the pages about our universe ranging from history to the imagination of what shapes the world around us. A must read to get information on what interests you in the universe and our world.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • waynepd
  • 08-26-18

This is a real eye opener.

Loved this book. Audible is the way to read it. Narrated well. Thank you Audible

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-24-18

incredible book doesn't translate well into audio

Narration by Burton is overly energised with erratic pauses, and unnecessary dramatization which detracts from the scientific content being conveyed.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Annem Chaudhry
  • 06-02-18

A humane perspective on our place in the cosmos

Sagan continues to enthral readers with his dessemination of the micro and macro cosmos with exquisite detailing that never dithers near boredom.
If you ever needed your hope restored in humanity, or wanted to know what ego death feels like- this book achieves this all with the right balance of science, history, philosophy and narration.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-18-18

horrible

Only listened to 10 minutes. Awful grating voice and repetitive boring rubbish. it may have got more interesting but I couldn't bear any more.