20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Shorter, Simpler, Super.,
This review is from: The Universe In A Nutshell (Hardcover)
I read A Brief History of Time about 4 years before this (first in paperback and then more succesfully in hardback) and in between I read Hawking's 'Black Holes & Baby Universes' and then Brian Greene's book 'The Elegant Universe' which covers string theory and M-Theory (which I enjoyed).
I am a scientist by profession (a chemist) and my general physics is OK. I have a GCSE in it and some 'A' Level and some degree level understanding in certain areas of quantum mechanics (mainly the bits that overlap with degree level chemistry).
Hawking's first bestseller was very good but even as a scientist I struggled with quite a bit of it, especially the concept of imaginary time. His first book also did not really explain string theory at all well.
I found this new book much easier to understand, it is written in simpler language, the concepts are more fully explained to people without a degree in maths and / or physics and the diagrams are superb. He also now fully incorporates String and M-Theory into the picture.
Hawking possesses a real talent for teaching, he is able to take very difficult concepts and relate them to everyday experiences. He also seems to come off the fence a bit more with his views on the anthropic arguments in this book, which is refreshing.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and definately have a better understanding of cosmology after reading it. I'd still say one requires a fair amount of scientific background to get the maximum out of the book though. Well worth the money.