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Einstein's Dreams Paperback – 1 Feb 1994

4.7 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 179 pages
  • Publisher: Time Warner International; Reprint edition (Feb. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446670111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446670111
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 1.6 x 15.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 315,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

" A magical, metaphysical realm...Captivating, enchanting, delightful." -- The New York Times
" Endlessly fascinating. A beguiling inquiry into the not-at-all theoretical, utterly time-tangled, tragic and sublime nature of human life." --"The Boston Globe"
" Lightman is an artist who paints with the notion of time." --"Los Angeles Times"

A magical, metaphysical realm...Captivating, enchanting, delightful. The New York Times
Endlessly fascinating. A beguiling inquiry into the not-at-all theoretical, utterly time-tangled, tragic and sublime nature of human life. --The Boston Globe
Lightman is an artist who paints with the notion of time. --Los Angeles Times"

"A magical, metaphysical realm...Captivating, enchanting, delightful." --The New York Times

"Endlessly fascinating. A beguiling inquiry into the not-at-all theoretical, utterly time-tangled, tragic and sublime nature of human life." --The Boston Globe

"Lightman is an artist who paints with the notion of time." --Los Angeles Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Alan Lightman's highly acclaimed first novel, a dazzling synthesis of fiction and science. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 28 Oct. 2003
Format: 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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By A Customer on 28 Sept. 1999
Format: 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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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 May 2004
Format: 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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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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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This is a dreamy book, in fact. It contains many dreamlike worlds, each appearing, existing for a little while, then disappearing like a ship in a misty Turner painting. It is also a thought provoking examination of the nature of time, its relationship with movement and entropy, and its effects on human lives and emotions.

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.
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