Martin Rees looks at six facets of the universe, and considers how changing any one of these parameters would lead to a very different type of universe to the we can see (and infer) all around us.
He explains complex ideas beautifully and elegantly. He helps the reader wonder if this universe was designed for our purposes (sorry chaps, we're not that important), or whether we evolved to take advantage of the conditions that were available.
And the logical extensions to his thinking and writing are really quite breathtaking. Has our universe expanded and crashed many times? Or is our view of just one universe simply limited and parochial? And if there are many universes, how would they form and what would they look like?
Rees using mathematics, physics and some creative and highly enjoyable thinking to talk us through these ideas.
And the idea that there is no chance of us being here?
Well ...you're almost right. But there's at least one universe full of difference between no chance and almost no chance ...