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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do you have the time?
Ever complain that you don't have enough time, that you have too much time on your hands or wonder where will you find the time? Well before you can do that you might want to consider not just what time is but what possible times there are. Confused ? Well Alan Lightman's imaginative book will help you with the later and provide you with a very enjoyable ..time...
Published on 28 Sep 1999

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not Captivating
After going to the trouble of importing a copy of this book from America through Amazon Marektplace (as it seems to be hard to obtain outside of the US), I was rather disappointed - and perhaps a little clearer as to why it's not readily available in the UK!

This book contains a series of dreams of imaginary worlds with a very different conception of time. Each...
Published on 9 Oct 2009 by Sir Furboy


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do you have the time?, 28 Sep 1999
This review is from: Einstein's Dreams (Paperback)
Ever complain that you don't have enough time, that you have too much time on your hands or wonder where will you find the time? Well before you can do that you might want to consider not just what time is but what possible times there are. Confused ? Well Alan Lightman's imaginative book will help you with the later and provide you with a very enjoyable ..time. Using a young Einstein as his spring board he has our budding genius wandering about Bern thinking of various different types of time and how a world running on those systems might operate.Lest you think this is a dull academic exercise it is not. Lightman's prose ever flows and never gets bogged down. Each chapter ends before you realize it and you wish it would continue on. The touch of the poet is also evident in his writing. The imagination here is of a type that would compare favorably with Borges. The book is relatively short but it is the kind of hidden treasure that you will find yourself rereading often. It is well worth your...time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not Captivating, 9 Oct 2009
By 
Sir Furboy (Aberystwyth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Einstein's Dreams (Hardcover)
After going to the trouble of importing a copy of this book from America through Amazon Marektplace (as it seems to be hard to obtain outside of the US), I was rather disappointed - and perhaps a little clearer as to why it's not readily available in the UK!

This book contains a series of dreams of imaginary worlds with a very different conception of time. Each chapter then is a thought experiment - but what I would have liked to see is some theme or character or reason why I should be carried through the thought experiments. There was no binding theme, and thus the book could better have been reduced to a list: Imagine a world where time is like X, Imagine a world where time is like Y and so on.

Maybe a poem on time would have been better than a whole book here.

It was not totally uninteresting, but neither did I feel it greatly profound. reading about Einstein in depth makes you more aware of the profound nature of time. reading popular physics books like "The Elegant Universe" likewise.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking, 28 Oct 2003
This review is from: Einstein's Dreams (Paperback)
Not as it first seems! I thought that I would be bored from the begining of this book, how wrong I was. This challenges your ideas about time while still telling a damn good story about Einstein trying to develop his theories. It has since become one of my favourite books and is well worth a read.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Reality by Imagining the Alternatives!, 6 May 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Einstein's Dreams (Hardcover)
This book deserves many more than five stars for its potential to make you a better thinker!!
One of the most creative people I know (holder of dozens of patents that have created two new industries) first told me about this book. He said that Einstein's Dreams was better for stimulating new ideas than any other book he had ever read. Naturally, I added the book to my list . . . but didn't get around to it right away. That was a mistake! I found Einstein's Dreams better for stimulating creativity than all other creativity books I have read combined. I wish I had read Einstein's Dreams when it first came out.
Einstein, of course, was famous for this "thought experiments" in which he would imagine what would happen if he were placed in different circumstances. For example, what if he were riding on a photon of light? What would happen if he shined a flashlight ahead of him? How would someone riding on a parallel photon of light perceive his flashlight if he flashed it toward the other person?
The result of most of these thought experiments was to understand the nature of time, and to create his famous special and general theories of relativity. (If you want to know more about this subject, be sure to check out Professor Stephen Hawking's latest, The Universe in a Nutshell.)
Alan Lightman has created a novel built around 30 "dreams" (or scenarios) that make differing assumptions about time, and describe how the lives of ordinary people living in Switzerland in 1905 would be changed. In the process, you will probably have several epiphanies. For example, so much of the way we run our lives depends on the fact that time runs forward in what normally seems like a linear, predictable way . . . but without giving us certainty about what happens next in our lives. If time operated in a fractured way, for example, we would find little incentive to try to create connections to others and to create something better for the future.
The other epiphany you will probably have is that you can take everything that you believe to be well understood, and think about that factor as being dozens of different things using these dreams as templates. For example, you can apply the ideas in this book to an academic discipline like linguistics, art history, behavioral psychology, or anything else. In the process of thinking through these "factual" areas in terms of assuming that reality is different, you will immediately see "reality" more clearly and objectively than ever before.
Finally, you will realize that the greatest limitation we have in creating new learning is our lack of imagination. Fill in the empty spaces in our minds with new questions, new possibilities, and new problems, and vast new insights immediately emerge without using computers, mathematics, or any sort of technology. All you have to do is dream . . . or day dream, if you prefer.
My suggestion for you is that you plan to read this book several times. After the first time, when you have the idea of the book's approach well in hand, take something that you have absolute certainty about and apply the dreams here to your area of certainty. On the next reading, do the same thing with yet another subject. After you have done this a few times, come back and reread the book considering your first topic.
Another possibility is to take the 30 dreams and expand on what the author has written about the implications for time. A number of these are on the sketchy side, and you can make them more vivid and valuable to you if you flesh the dreams out.
I also suggest reading this book someplace where it is quiet, and you will not be disturbed. You will also probably find it helpful to ponder a little with each dream before moving onto the next one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 19 April 2012
By 
MR DAVID WAKELY (Milton Keynes, Bucks United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Einstein's Dreams (Paperback)
Pensive, reflective and hypnotic, this one of my favourite reads of the last year - and possibly the last 10 years. It's hardly what most people would call a novel, but that was part of its strength to me: there is originality of writing and structure here, as well as originality of thought. Delightful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars interesting read, 24 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Einstein's Dreams (Hardcover)
This is something you would not associate Einsten with perhaps? But it is an interesting read looking at things from a different perspective ( which I guess you would expect).. it is because it is less scientific and more out of the box that it grabbed my attention. I actually bought for my daughter :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Succinct, mind bending, and mind expanding, 2 Jun 2011
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J. Moore (London UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Einstein's Dreams (Paperback)
This is the strangest book I've read in a while, and I was startled by its impact on me. By dropping into these dreams of different ideas of time, I felt the world was richer and more full of possibliity. Instead of sending staff on fancy creativity training, I'd buy them all a copy of this book and start a discussion about reality!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Playing with Time, 1 Mar 2011
Alan Lightman's 'Einstein's Dreams', first published in 1993, contains thirty possible concepts of the way time might work according to the fictional records from Einstein's notebooks written, we are told, between April and June 1905. There are three interludes with Einstein meeting up with his friend and colleague Besso with whom he worked in the Patents Office, plus a prologue and epilogue all neatly contained within 140 pages of my paperback copy published by Vintage in 2004.

Every one of those pages holds the pleasure of the English language used to excite, tease, enthrall, mystify, and to celebrate the imaginative skills not only of the author but, through him, the great mind of Einstein himself.

15th May 1905. Imagine a world in which there is no time. Only images.
The list of images runs to three wonderful pages, every image poised to tell its story. This brief chapter alone will be worth whatever you might pay for your copy of the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Soul Food, 8 Feb 2011
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This review is from: Einstein's Dreams (Paperback)
I love this book. I purchased it shortly after reading Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman and was looking for something along that similar literary route. I was not disappointed. This book is full of imagination and in certain parts can leave you somewhat in awe. Many interesting ideas are put forward and as somebody else mentioned in their review - there are moments when you will need to put the book down and stare into empty space for a few minutes to fully comprehend the subject matter and imagine the different worlds and situations that Alan Lightman has created. This book is food for the soul.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hard to Get in the UK, 10 July 2009
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Sir Furboy (Aberystwyth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Einstein's Dreams (Paperback)
After going to the trouble of importing a copy of this book from America (as it seems to be hard to obtain outside of the US), I was rather disappointed - and perhaps a little clearer as to why its not readily available in the UK!

This book contains a series of dreams of imaginary worlds with a very different conception of time. Each chapter then is a thought experiment - but what I would have liked to see is some theme or character or reason why I should be carried through the thought experiments. There was no binding theme, and thus the book could better have been reduced to a list: Imagine a world where time is like X, Imagine a world where time is like Y and so on.

Maybe a poem on time would have been better than a whole book here.

It was not totally uninteresting, but neither did I feel it greatly profound. reading about Einstein in depth makes you more aware of the profound nature of time. reading popular physics books like "The Elegant Universe" likewise.
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Einstein's Dreams by A. Lightman (Paperback - Feb 1994)
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