Einstein's Dreams (Bloomsbury Classic) Paperback – 27 Oct 1994
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A joy...It stimulates the intellect. It bridges disciplines by linking intellectual understanding with the kind of relaxing enjoyment to be expected from a good novel (The Economist)
A joy to read. It is a celebration of a world in which time does not march brutally through people's lives, but rather skips and gambols, forever quirky and unpredictable (The Times)
It is at once intellectually provocative and touching and comic and so very beautifully written. Quite frankly I haven't been so excited by a novel, let alone a first novel, for a very long time (Salman Rushdie)
A dazzling first novel...entirely original (The Sunday Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Alan Lightman's highly acclaimed first novel, a dazzling synthesis of fiction and science. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
So why have I deducted one star? Because it is more like poetry than a novel. It is beautiful and it is clever, but it doesn't really have a story as such. Reading it was like spending an afternoon daydreaming.
Nevertheless, Einstein's Dreams has been awarded a place on my "read again" shelf, a rare honour. I may edit this review at a later date, when I have read it again, if I find more in it.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really smart looking edition of Einstein's dreams. Small but is easy to carry around and being a hardback it won't damage as easy. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Thomas Jacob Wise
Delightful, magical, so visual and beautiful. A book to be read many times over.Published 19 months ago by butterflykaia
Pensive, reflective and hypnotic, this one of my favourite reads of the last year - and possibly the last 10 years. Read morePublished on 19 April 2012 by MR DAVID WAKELY
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... Read morePublished on 2 Jun. 2011 by Amazon Customer