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4.5 out of 5 stars61
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 15 September 2006
The first time I read this book I was left feeling dissapointed. However after re-reading certain sections of the book a few times, the ideas become easier to grasp and really blow your mind when you realise what they mean. Anyone who would like to know what the theory of relatively is, have an idea of the classical views on the universe, or a little about quantum mechanics without studying them in great detail should consider reading this book. It is a very rewarding read.
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on 7 January 2010
I never tried Hawking's original, so I can't make comparisons....but the general consensus seems to be that it is pretty inpenetrable. I have however read a number of other "popular science" books on the subject of the Quantum world etc. I'm a graduate chemist but most proved rather hard going .. with an over reliance on jargon.
I found this to be by far the most lucid explanation of what are some pretty difficult concepts. I personally found the illustrations to be very helpful. It is not an overly long book (hence not too intimidating) & whilst perhaps not getting in to too much detail, it does seem to cover all the significant issues.
An outstanding book!!
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on 13 August 2013
The book really does go for a briefer summary of Hawking's views and explanations. If you struggled with a Brief History of Time you should find this easier to understand, having read them in chronological order, I have found myself remembering parts of the previous edition. I am an A Level Student, second year, consistently getting high grades in Maths, Physics and Chemistry. This is a big factor in my understanding of either book, so I recommend a better than average understanding of at least physics if you are hoping to read this book. Though do not let this halt you, you have to start somewhere!

This book is published to the highest standard I've seen for a scientific book, it includes useful pictures with a glossy finish. The book is something of a 'show-off' item. If you read this you will learn a detailed history of physics and you will realise why Einstein is famous and understand the equation that comes with his name. You will also be given a great description of the development of the physics from Aristotle to Newton. A definite buy!

I would also recommend:
- Simon Singh (Fermat's Last Theorem)
- Richard Feynman (Six Easy Pieces, Six Not-so-easy Pieces, Character of Physical Law, QED, The Meaning of it all)
- Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time, The Grand Design)
- Brian Cox (Everything that can happen does happen, Why does E=mc^2)
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on 1 September 2009
Bought this book as I'd always meant to read "A Brief History of Time" but had never gotten round to it. I thought it might have been a really difficult book to understand but it's not, it's written in an easy to understand way with good explanations on what he's talking about - don't get me wrong though, there's still some things that are hard to get your head round.

If you're interested in this sort of stuff or just looking for a good informative read then I'd highly recommend this book, I couldn't put it down and I plan on reading it again at some point!
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on 13 September 2007
I don't agree with Ken at all. OK so the book is short, but do all books have to be 500 page blockbusters? It is printed with large print and wide (not double) spacing, making it a joy to read. The 'illustrations' are incredible full colour graphics. The graphic showing the earth spiraling into the sun might, perhaps, have been left out, but most other graphics are far from trivial and really add to the text. For instance, the electron interference graphic/picture will make you think you've been teleported to CERN.

Kemp's review is much fairer. I have a physics degree and read through this book quickly, without having to re-read anything. OK, you might say, you have a physics degree. But I stumble in other 'popular' books - I'm having to reread(even rewrite!) Polkinghorne's 'very short introduction to Quantum Physics' to get anywhere at all!

I would have no hesitation in buying this book as a great Xmas present for a 14 or 70 year old who wanted to know something about physics.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 September 2011
At 162 pages, it is a fairly short book as science tomes go but it does not suffer because of that and he does remind us of that in the introduction, pointing out the two letter difference, i.e. "-er". Whereas the earlier edition was "simply" text with a few illustrations, this has a more illustration scattered along it.

He deals with the challenging issues again: Quantum Gravity, Curved Space, The Expanding Universe, The Forces of Nature and the Unification of Physics ending with a brief conclusion and a few short chapters on major scientists, e.g. Newton, Einstein, Galileo.

It is as lucid, informative and enjoyable as the earlier "longer" edition and I have no hesitation in recommending it. The hardcover is well-printed in a substantial cover and thick glossy paper.
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on 5 February 2009
I actually bought this book for my Husband, who struggled to read the original, however, he has read and taken in the content of this much easier and more understandable edition. I would imagine you need a sound knowledge of the subject even to get to the end of the first chapter, my choice is for something a little less challenging.
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on 8 August 2009
This is a fantastic book for anyone who is a little interested in whats going on out there, or what has occured :)

I studied A level physics and its been about 3 years since i have done any more on the subject. After a renewed interest i picked up this book and it is super. Goes into as much detail as you need for a beginner, and if you want to go deeper, there is always the previous book - a brief history of time.

S.Hawking has done a fantasic job and simplyfying and explaining the underlying concepts in this book. Thank you :)
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on 25 March 2009
First of all, I must point out that I'm reviewing the audio-book version of this book. I haven't even looked at the illustrations although I know that they're present in the 4th CD but this review doesn't take them into account.

First, the form: Erik Davies makes a great job reading the book. I'm Portuguese and I found the whole book very clear without needing to go back once. I did rewind it a few times but always because of the content and not of how it was read. When reading a book you're reading at your own pace, allowing you to think about what you're reading, but when listening, you'd have to actively pause or rewind to picture what's being said before moving on. Since I use this while driving, I'm not actually paying attention sometimes so I listened to many parts many times making up for this lack of constant active attention on the subject, so this didn't bother me at all.

Now the content: The subjects are well organized, the book covers a really wide range of topics, it doesn't go too deep on each one but it also doesn't keep to the surface either. I think the balance is very good for any interested person without an education in physics. I didn't really know what to expect so I ended up being surprised by its simplicity and at the same time, about how deeply it covered a few concepts. I don't have any education in physics (although I have a strong interest) and I could understand everything so you don't need one too. Being familiar with the concepts help though but I think that rewinding it enough times will eventually make things clear enough.

All in all, I found it a solid book. Not revolutionary of course, but that's not it's point. It's a great book for any interested individual to get solid foundations and understand all the latest and past findings in physics.
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VINE VOICEon 1 November 2015
I bought this for my liberal arts educated girlfriend after she gave up on my copy of Hawking's book. Mlodinow gives clear explanations and isn't too complex although it is no guarantee that someone without some scientific education will still grasp the concepts. He covers complex subjects such as curved space and the unification of physics giving lucid explanations. The book is well produced with large type and excellent illustrations and is only 176 pages so not an intimdating read
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