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The Grand Design Audiobook

The Grand Design

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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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (1408 )
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4.2 (776 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Desiree Wichita, ks, United States 06-18-12
    Desiree Wichita, ks, United States 06-18-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Whoa!"

    This is a great listen if you like to let your mind wander into possiblities. Soem I caught right away and others I am still trying to grasp. I really appricated the historical review, educational and entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George Santa Barbara, CA, United States 06-11-12
    George Santa Barbara, CA, United States 06-11-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Clear presentation, understandable to the lay man."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I already have recommended it to a friend who shares an interest in the advancement of scientific understanding, for the reasons cited in the headline.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The cosmos, because it exceeds Cleopatra in its infinite variety and mysterious allure and secondarily the cleverness of the detectives in following the clues in the most recent chapter, while posing mysteries yet unsolved.


    What about Steve West’s performance did you like?

    I thought it excelent.


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

    If you mean was it sufficently intriguing to want not to put it down, the answer is yes. However the length precluded that and it was equally gratifying to look forward to the remainder.


    Any additional comments?

    I could only wish that Hawkings could accept the intelligent action of a devine being and not be held by the belief that intelligence is a relatively recent development. Eveything about everything makes more sense to me with that belief I hold, that God is and that the ellivated consciousness of man has produced riches in art, literature and thought, seeking harmony with that Being.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    NASRULLA 06-02-12
    NASRULLA 06-02-12

    Abutaleb

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    "Interesting audio but Surprised listener"

    I had a good time listening to Grand design.. Many facts were simplified to general listeners.. I do recommending it but it has given inappropriately non-scientific approaches unrealistic basis.. Just as long as they would help in finding an escape from believing in The creator.. I wandered at the end how present century thinkers are not different from the old ones.. The old ones, believing that the earth is carried over the horns of a cow, have managed to find an explanation for every earthly phenomenon as winds, earth quick..etc

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen B. Spencer North Jersey 05-28-12
    Stephen B. Spencer North Jersey 05-28-12 Member Since 2010

    Papaspence

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    "Well read, content......not so much!!"
    If you could sum up The Grand Design in three words, what would they be?

    Good not great.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    A more in depth dive into Stephen Hawkings' magnificent mind would have been more enjoyable. I feel that the book attempts to appeal to too broad an audience and probably short changes all, to a degree. That being said, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a look into the mind of Stephen Hawkings, but isn't looking too deeply into the physics of the future.


    Have you listened to any of Steve West’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I am not sure whether I have or not, but the performance was fine, engaging and clear.


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

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 05-26-12
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 05-26-12 Member Since 2016

    l'enfer c'est les autres

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    "I listened to it twice and was disappointed twice."

    The first time I listened to the book I felt I missed something. A year later I re-listened to it after having read many other science books thinking I must have not understood the original listen. After the second listen, I felt like I had missed something too. The book just doesn't have that much worth while in it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenneth WILBUR, WA, United States 03-05-12
    Kenneth WILBUR, WA, United States 03-05-12

    astronut

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    "Interesting"
    What made the experience of listening to The Grand Design the most enjoyable?

    Discussing the Big Questions.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Stephen Hawking, although there really isn't a character.


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

    The best narrator I've heard so far! He combines an English accent that is easy and soothing for an American to listen to. He just has a pleasing voice that is hard to describe in words. It's like the saying


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The whole wierdness about quantum physics. It is hard to fathem the Universe acting this way.


    Any additional comments?

    This listen will not be to everyones liking because it gets a bit technical, although I think they do as good of a job as anyone else in trying to bring it down to laymans terms. Science buffs should enjoy this even if we also don't quite

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jorge 02-22-12
    Jorge 02-22-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Radical Thinking"
    Where does The Grand Design rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Average; I believe the story is good, but there are some 'jokes' in the story, that could be narrated better. In general it does require some general knowledge of physics, and it could be very abstract in some parts.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I like the ideas in terms they are scientifically supported, but also radical in nature, able to explain many things that had being teach by religion like 'dogmas'; nice to some other explanations


    What about Steve West’s performance did you like?

    It is good, but not outstanding, some of the parts were narrated pretty fast, specially the more hard concepts, could go a little bit slower; also as I mention, having little more 'emotion' when telling the story 'jokes'


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

    It did make thing a lot, reflection mode, it would be quite 'chocking' for a very religion person


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J N 12-26-11
    J N 12-26-11
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    "Too complex"
    Do you think The Grand Design needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    The problem with this book is it is too complex. The target audience I feel is a master's in physics. At least to fully appreciate the book. I've had many physics courses in college so this did help to brush up some physics knowledge but honestly I could not fully apppreciate the book because it was too complex. It would serve well to have a precursor book to condition the reader before jumping into this content.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Errol Saskatoon, SK, Canada 12-09-11
    Errol Saskatoon, SK, Canada 12-09-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Overall a good book!"
    What did you love best about The Grand Design?

    A good review of the scientific advances for 70% of the book.


    Any additional comments?

    The concepts of quantum physics and multiple dimensions are difficult to understand beyond the initial simple introductions. The written book might make it easier to stop and contemplate these concepts, especially it they were associated with graphics. Overall I enjoyed the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stefan Bucuresti, Romania 11-29-11
    Stefan Bucuresti, Romania 11-29-11
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    "Good intro to the TOE/ M-theory"

    All around great intro to the topic. I listened to pretty much all of it in the car, so many times i would find myself rewinding to better understand certain critical topics. My 1st audible purchase...gotta say I'm pretty pleased.

    The book kind of ends abruptly IMO...I think more could have been said, but for what it's worth I think that it was really well structured and I learned quite a lot of new things :D. Steve West also does a brilliant job on the reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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