6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Elegant, informative but eventually disappointing, 25 Oct 2010
It's fascinating to read how one of the greatest minds of our time thinks. This is why I bought and read this book, hoping to discover a revolutionary theory that would replace God with something else, something explainable by science - as Mr. Hawking boldly asserted.
It's elegantly written and it carries you through all the theories and discoveries that led mankind to ask and try to answer to the most important questions regarding our existence. As such, it is an informative read. Unless, of course, you already are accustomed with these theories, because there is very little new information brought up in the book.
I appreciated the occasional humor and the illustrative manner in which Mr. Hawking delves into very complicated theories and I also enjoyed the final chapters in which it sums up why our Universe is so finely tuned for life to appear.
But I find this ultimately disappointing because the theory that Mr. Hawking is promoting, the M-Theory, doesn't get anything new from him in this book. Replacing God with gravity as a creative force in an ever reproducing Universe describing a never ending loop is a nice idea, but it is really a shame it only covers two pages in an entire book dedicated to describe what's behind The Grand Design.
I understand that this final chapter was written in such a way to spark debates in the scientific community, but I find that this is somewhat misleading for the reader, who expects that a 7 Chapter introduction is followed by at least some chapters dedicated to describe, explain and prove (or at least try to prove) the theory that you put forward. Instead, we get 7 introductory chapters with very little new information, and only 1 chapter that summarizes Mr. Hawking's idea and then lets us staring at the Sun.
I will not discuss the validity of this idea - it's up to the scientific community to delve in it. I would only say that this book is recommended for those that don't have a strong grasp on the current scientific theories and for those that have a basic understanding or interest in cosmology. Everybody else will find it a bit lacking.
It is, however, a good and enjoyable read, which I clearly cherished. Now let's hope Mr. Hawking will have the time and energy to develop the final chapter into a complete new book that will really explain how we got here.