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on 8 August 2013
I know I should probably do more research into a product before buying it, but given the low entry price I didn't think twice about buying Einstein's Relativity for £3. DON'T buy this crap, seriously, it's been dreadfully edited by OCR (w/e the hell that is), making it unreadable. The first few chapters may lull you into a false sense of security, sure, there might be a missing diagram or two, but initially that doesn't detract too much from the book. Once the mathematics kicks-in though, you have literally no chance of comprehending any of the equations, they've virtually all been misprinted because apparently the Optical Character Recognition software used to create this book doesn't understand √ signs or anything of that nature.

It might not matter for Orwell's 1984 or for Swift's Gulliver's Travels, but for Einstein's Relativity, typos do matter, and I urge whoever makes these dirt cheap books to take Relativity off of their publications list because it is simply unreadable.

"We have recreated this book from the original using Optical Character Recognition software to keep the cost of the book as low as possible. Therefore, could you please forgive spelling mistakes, missing or extraneous characters that may have resulted from smudged or torn pages?"

No, the number of printing mistakes is unforgivable, it's like the person who was tasked with typing it up used a broken keyboard with half of the keys missing. DO NOT buy the dirt cheap copy of this book, it's littered with mistakes, and virtually all of the mathematics is botched. The publishers should either sack their editor or be shut down for unethical practice, because there's no way this book ever have reached (virtual) book shelves.
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on 18 January 2002
This book is excellent, as for for the first time on any book I've read on the subject, it has lots of mathematics, BUT NO ROCKET SCIENCE! As a result, its an excellent read for someone who's done say A-level maths at school. It is unique as most books I've looked at are either for the complete mathematical layman with very few equations, e.g. Einsteins Universe by Nigel Calder, or are the sort geared towards mekon-headed NASA engineers with IQ's of 200... The discussion on General relativity is very sparse, with only the basic ideas outlined, but the reasoning behind special relativity is beautifully described, and for the first time out of any book I've erad on the subject I feel that I have started to understand it. The book also has an appendix with mathematical 'work-throughs' as to how the equations came about, which is very nice but unfortunately a small number of steps are left out which is annoying. The book is brief, but will inspire you to dig out and read more on the subject from different authors. And lastly, let's be honest here, this book is VERY inexpensive so one can hardly grumble at it's brevity. My advice: if you didn't understand this book, just read and re-read the initial chapters on the Lorentz transformation, which is the basic idea behind it all, and the penny will finally drop!
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on 20 June 1999
The reviewer of April 13 from Moscow, Idaho says this is not the book to read unless you already understand the theory. Maybe fair enough. It was written when Einstein had achieved youthful fame, though, not in his dotage, if he had such a thing. It may be a little more difficult for the translation, but not much. Contrary to some reviewers, it is not that easy to follow, and if it seems like an easy read, you probably haven't understood it. There are many books written since where it is probably easier to learn about special relativity, to say nothing of the basic ideas of general relativity. But once you have started to get the hang of things, this book is a masterpiece of exposition! It allows one to follow Einstein's actual thought process in arriving at these theories -- pretty much by a process of pure thought -- more or less in the steps he probably took himself. There is not a word in the exposition that was not carefully thought out. So, learn the theory somewhere else and then read this book -- you'll understand the theory better for reading Einstein's book -- or read this book first, keep going back to it 'til it starts to make sense, and maybe consult some other, more "user-friendly" textbook at the same time. Einstein claims his book allows a lay reader with only high school math to understand relativity. To which a friend of mine replied "Yeah, if you have an IQ of 800". To which I say, have patience, keep thinking about it and going back to it.
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on 21 June 2010
Fascinating if dated book but I couldn't really enjoy it due to the appalling layout, proofing and typography. When you are unsure of the ideas being presented and there are two blatant typo's in the first paragraph you are left uncertain as to whether it is you or just another error. I have come across over a dozen errors already including at one stage incorrectly spelling a chapter title.

Its a real shame and I would love to know how this book ever got out of the printers in this condition.

Just to show how badly this has been produced the publishers even got their own web address wrong on the back cover
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on 7 January 2003
Great for the young student of Physics
This is an excellent book, written in the “Master’s” own style and faithfully translated from the German by Robert Lawson. The translation dates to 1920 and new readers may find the English a little quaint, but for all that, it is a great effort at presenting in “plain speak”, the concepts of Relativity.
The book starts with a lucid explanation of the Train and Platform example of Galelian Relativity and then proceeds to highlight the incompatibility between the principle of relativity and the constancy of the speed of light. Without encumbering the reader with the Maths (found in the appendices) the ideas of time dilation and length contraction are discussed. The General Theory is developed via a fine example: that of an observer on a rotating disk.
This is a good complement to the overtly scientific/mathmatical books on the subject. Unfortunately,, despite its many qualities, just like many of the alternatives of this genre, Einstein’s book does not fully succeed in explaining the complex concepts to the lay reader. Rather, this is a nice little book that will be suitable for a good calibre Maths/Physics student in the sixth form/high school.
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on 3 January 2010
I won't comment on the quality of the text itself, but please stay away from this edition of the book. The layout is just shameful. 1/It's ugly. 2/It's full of obvious spelling mistakes, the kind a 1990s spellchecker would find immediately 3/It's unclear. For instance the book is made of many chapters and Einstein keeps referring to previous ones by number. However, each chapter's number is nowhere to be found save in the general summary (no header, no footer, not even at the start of the chapter). This makes it painful to go back and forth. 4/The few equations in the book are barely readable. Once again, the equation editor in a 10y old Word produces better results.
Would have expected such a scientific book to be edited in LaTeX which would have solved most issues - as it is it looks like a cheap, quick and dirty edition which really spoils the read.
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on 16 August 2001
Excellent. The language is early twentieth century and can be quite contrived, but the physics is put clearly and simply. The text is broken into many short sections and the maths is kept to a minimum (which was nice when he started talking about Gaussian co-ordinates...). The essential ideas behind the special and the general theories of relativity are presented in the way Einstein himself obviously used to come up with them and it's this as much as the physics itself which draws you in. Definitely a Twentieth Century classic.
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on 28 October 2015
Prior to purchasing this book, one might notice some reviewers pointing out certain editions with poor translations and missing diagrams. The following edition is a good translation with the diagrams included:

ISBN 978-1-891396-30-4

The book walks the reader through the development of the special and general theories of relativity and the supporting theories they were built upon. Starting with the special theory and its limited applicability and the later development of the more universal general theory, aimed at covering the deficiencies of the former.

The first chapters of the book on the general theory of relativity are easy to approach even for those with no background in physics, featuring only little math and easy to relate to examples. More math and complexity comes in the later stages of the book introducing the general theory of relativity and may be hard to grasp even with a basic background in physics.

Noticeably the book is a translation and the original language is not English, however its still readable. Its not light reading so be prepared to sit and think in order to really digest and understand the principles. Overall a good basic insight to one of the greatest achievements in physics, which could perhaps benefit from a few extra diagrams for those with a limited background.
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on 21 February 2014
Well, I admit defeat once again. This stuff is too much for my poor brain! There were instances where I could say, `oh yes` or `ah I see` but they were few. I found as the book progressed that I simply could not read it! A shame, because I am interested in the ideas here. In a way I think that part of the reason I find this subject attractive is that it is so mind blowing, but also so hard to grasp! I have looked at numerous explanations for relativity with time dilation/length contraction etc - and they all tend to repeat the same examples eg twins paradox. Sure, I understand the language they use, but true understanding - to me the whole concept of `understanding` is called into question! So now I have a copy of `Einstein for dummies` which was recommended by someone. Let`s hope I have more success here.
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on 17 August 2007
This book is an excellent example of the fact that nobody can explain a theory better than it own creator. The main characteristic of Einstein's text is the clarity succeeded through brevity which renders this essay a terrific non technical introduction both for Special and General theories of Relativity. Some chapters dealing with the notions of space and time have a more philosophical approach but the rest of the book is pure physics. The usage of mathematical formulas is negligible and confined only to the Appendixes something that make it accessible to the layman. Even though the writer claims that this text is intended for the layman, it is a terrific source of knowledge and a fresh breeze of ideas even for physicist themselves who I believe must surely read it. Einstein's vivid style of writing comes from the fact that through his text it is as if he is directly talking to the reader. I dare to say that this small book which I've read multitude of times and each time with greater joy, contains the most crystal clear exposition of the ideas and needs that gave berth to the two theories which are unanimously considered to be as the jewels of human thought. If you don't have a deep knowledge of physics and you want to get an idea of what Relativity means then before you buy anything else, I recommend this book by heard.
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