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The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist Paperback – 20 May 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (20 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159102188X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591021889
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 1.2 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 176,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 May 2004
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Tyson has written a wonderful memoir that will inspire anyone who reads it to become more interested in astrophysics, how to be a better parent, ways to improve as a mentor, and to seek out an inspirational profession.
The ultimate charm of this book is that Dr. Tyson is a warm, witty, self-effacing, and passionate human being. I seldom get the feeling from reading a book that I would enjoy having the author as a friend, but Dr. Tyson affected me that way.
For young people thinking about a career in science, Dr. Tyson is an excellent role model of how focusing on the joy you feel from the subject matter can evolve into additional joy from the intellectual content. In his description at the end of the book of how the putative Big Bang may have happened, I was enthralled. It was almost like reading poetry. Now, I have read many descriptions of the same subject, and have never been moved by them before.
Dr. Tyson also makes an eloquent case for creating planetary defense capabilities to divert or destroy asteroids or comets that could create catastrophic collisons with the Earth. I came away convinced that this was a worthwhile activity. You may, too.
Dr. Tyson had wonderful parents and mentors. I enjoyed reading about them as much as I did about the main subjects of the book. Anyone will pick up tips for being better at both roles from this book.
He also has a great sense of humor, telling many funny stories in a wonderfully straight way.
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By Gasman on 30 Jun. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very well told story of Neil De Grasse Tysons life and discoveries along the way
He explains much that could be hard to grasp easily. He makes no excuses that he does not come from a deprived background, but also tells of a life of hard work endurance and belief that not only helped him obtain his goal but gives everyone a belief that they too can realise their dreams. Funny thoughtful and enjoyable. Great read
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By Alessandro Stranieri on 27 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book, so inspiring. His writing is excellent and entertaining.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 76 reviews
47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Heavenly Joys! 12 Sept. 2000
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Tyson has written a wonderful memoir that will inspire anyone who reads it to become more interested in astrophysics, how to be a better parent, ways to improve as a mentor, and to seek out an inspirational profession.
The ultimate charm of this book is that Dr. Tyson is a warm, witty, self-effacing, and passionate human being. I seldom get the feeling from reading a book that I would enjoy having the author as a friend, but Dr. Tyson affected me that way.
For young people thinking about a career in science, Dr. Tyson is an excellent role model of how focusing on the joy you feel from the subject matter can evolve into additional joy from the intellectual content. In his description at the end of the book of how the putative Big Bang may have happened, I was enthralled. It was almost like reading poetry. Now, I have read many descriptions of the same subject, and have never been moved by them before.
Dr. Tyson also makes an eloquent case for creating planetary defense capabilities to divert or destroy asteroids or comets that could create catastrophic collisons with the Earth. I came away convinced that this was a worthwhile activity. You may, too.
Dr. Tyson had wonderful parents and mentors. I enjoyed reading about them as much as I did about the main subjects of the book. Anyone will pick up tips for being better at both roles from this book.
He also has a great sense of humor, telling many funny stories in a wonderfully straight way. In the process, he gently tweaks the racism that means that black astrophysicists have many confrontations with the police that white ones don't have, errors in popular movies (Jodie Foster will blush after she reads what he has to say about her), and our earthbound perspective that keeps us from appreciating the heavenly beauty above.
Dr. Tyson often appears with Peter Jennings on television. Watch for him, and notice his ties. He likes to wear ones with astrophysical references. He is the director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, so you will often see or hear him quoted on the latest space-related issues.
I should admit a bias to you. When the college I attended holds an annual alumni gathering in December each year in Boston, I always go to the astrophysics lectures. The photographs are gorgeous, and the ideas are very exciting. If you have a chance to do the same, you should do so.
After you read this book, ponder his section on science and religion and reconsider how the two areas relate to one another. I found his ideas interesting. Then consider how the two areas could relate to each other better. That's a question hardly anyone asks.
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
by a sixteen-year old 3 Aug. 2005
By Athena Masson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The sky is not the limit is a novel that goes deep into the heart of the author, Neil de Grasse Tyson, who started out at a young age shooting for his dream to become an astrophysicist. This book gives the reader a mental view of the objects surrounding us both in space and on earth. Throughout Neil's life he has worked hard pursuing his passion in astrophysics.

I enjoyed this book because it is scientific and also teaches lessons of life that you may not otherwise encounter. I also enjoyed the comedy in his statements. I have learned that if I want to become a scientist like Neil, then I must start training at a young age. This book has opened up my eyes to become aware of many things that I did not notice before.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Reflections of a retired physicist on "The Sky Is Not the Limit" 25 Feb. 2008
By Barry Marder - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Astronomy is every physicist's first infatuation; which makes "The Sky Is Not the Limit" by Neil deGrasse Tyson somewhat of a love story. But this book is more about him than the object of his affection. It is a rewarding read because it is both general and specific. It provides insight into how all physicists think, while revealing much that is unique to the author. Like him, we physicists usually knew what we wanted at an early age and we share many of his youthful experiences (monthly pilgrimages to the Hayden Planetarium, high school nights spent with a six inch telescope). Despite our high coefficient of nerdiness, we were pretty average kids. The author, however, is not your average scientist. He writes and speaks much better than most of us. He is more famous than most of us. And, he is blacker than most of us. His reflections on being a highly educated minority in a world uncomfortable with both characteristics could constitute another fascinating book.

Dr. Tyson is a worthy successor to the late Carl Sagan who was both a public educator and an advisor to the government on technical issues. The book discusses the author's experiences in both these roles. It also includes his heartbreaking account of witnessing, and inadvertently participating in, the 9/11 tragedy.

Dr. Tyson relates how one can become totally absorbed in pages of equations. Indeed, if astronomy is a physicist's first infatuation, Maxwell's equations are their first true love. The author clearly wants to communicate to his readers the beauty and majesty of these equations, but wistfully acknowledges that impossibility.

After a just-for-fun chapter on the fate of the universe, the book ends with his views on religion, where he succinctly, and thoroughly, covers a topic that has generated countless tomes.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A fantastic autobiography! 26 Sept. 2012
By Waylon Piercy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Okay, I'm gonna admit something here! I have a man-crush on Neil deGrasse Tyson. It's hard not to like anyone who is so knowledgeable and passionate abotu their chosen field, and when that field is something I am fascinated with myself, well... man-crush. You may have one as well by the time you finish this autobiography! NDT writes in a very personable, easygoing style that is instantly endearing. The way NDT shares his love for astronomy will likely kindle an interest in you by the time you're done reading, if you didn't have any beforehand.
The book is over far too soon, but that's not due to any flaw in the book; you just want to spend more time learning more about NDT and his story. That the reader is so entertained that he or she is left wanting to spend more time reading what the author writes is the surest sign of a successful book of any kind, in my eyes.
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Thumbs Up All the Way 13 Mar. 2000
By W. Watson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this delightful book of a black scientist's life's journey into the world of astrophysics. It's filled with interesting observations about astronomy, science, education, public life, experiences as a black intellecutal, and his role as director of the Hayden Planetarium. It's also filled with humor and many remarks and comments on astronomy, the universe, God, movie mistakes on astronomical topics, and even cremation vs burial. A very enjoyable read. I'm looking forward to reading some of his other books.
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