A Briefer History of Time
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A Briefer History of Time

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  12,445 ratings  ·  521 reviews

Stephen Hawking’s worldwide bestseller A Brief History of Time remains a landmark volume in scientific writing. But for readers who have asked for a more accessible formulation of its key concepts—the nature of space and time, the role of God in creation, and the history a...more
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Published September 27th 2005 by Random House Audio (first published 1988)
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There's nothing like the contemplation of the universe for making one feel simultaneously awe struck and incredibly insignificant.

Kind of random, but I loved Hawking's frequent use of the exclamation mark. For example::

"However, when an antiparticle and a particle meet, they annihilate each other. So if you meet your antiself, don't shake hands - you would both vanish in a great flash of light!"
"The supermassive black hole has a star orbiting it at about 2 percent the speed of light, faster t...more
Wow and wow. I am not by nature a science person. The largely-repressed memories I have of high school chemistry still make me feel a little ill. But this, friends, is more like reading poetry than it is like reading a textbook. I am officially in awe of Stephen Hawking - the man can actually make you feel about subatomic particles and forces of nature. It's nothing short of amazing, really. I don't pretend to understand 99% of what the book discusses beyond an extremely superficial level, but I...more
Tariq A
كتاب لطيف، مختصر، ومركّز، يجعلك تعرف بشكل جيد أكثر الموضوعات التي تهم علماء الفيزياء اليوم
يحوي الكتاب عدة موضوعات متّصلة بطريقة ما، قرأت عن أكثرها سابقا بشكل منفصل، لكني لم أجد كتابا مثل هذا جامعا لها، بشكل واضح يجعلني أفهم رغم أني لستُ مختصّا
استمتعت به، وأراه مناسبا لكل من لديه أسئلة حول الفيزياء والكون بشكل عام.
Mar 30, 2008 Rick rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: non-scientists
I love Physics. And I suck at understanding Physics. But I try. I can actually identify the paragraph where I get lost. I guess that, at least at this time in my life, I'm not capable of getting my head around the concept of a unified and relative space-time and all the implications it carries (such as the bending of time near large gravitational fields, differences in aging the farther one gets from the center of a large gravitational field, and that whole section about time travel). I really w...more
To begin, I am not….scientifically inclined. But I would like to get a better grasp on some scientific principles, so I thought I would give this book a whirl. I didn’t grasp everything, by any means, but the book is very informative. I found it very interesting to learn how little/much physicists know about the universe, its properties, and the struggle to find natural governing laws that consistently prove true. I feel that I’ve learned a great deal from this book, and will probably read it ag...more
Deborah Markus
If you're thinking of reading A Brief History of Time, read this first. At least if you're a total civilian, which I am.

My son and I read this together. We did have to hit the Internet pretty hard a few times to get clarification on some critical points; but all in all, this is a well-written, accessible introduction to some pretty heady stuff.

I would recommend having the basics of atomic structure and the life cycles of stars under your belt before giving this a go. Also, it really helped my s...more
Very readable, and I was actually surprised to realize I'd learned most of this information in an astronomy class I took in college. Who knew I was this educated?

The end of the book, where Hawking discusses the theories that scientists are currently trying to prove, started getting to be a bit above my head - in my lay opinion, I think it was a combination of Hawking getting a bit more vague and having fewer concrete facts and observations to state.
Michael Lawrence
Jul 10, 2008 Michael Lawrence rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the physical world
Recommended to Michael by: Stephen himself
An even shorter version of a History of time... then a brief history of time and now a briefer history of time. I dont care how short he makes the next one. If it will take physics and make it digestible to the average joe then I'm all for it.

It surprises me how disinterested we are today about things like physics, space, the universe and philosophy of our existence, our purpose, our final destination.

That was somehow lost in our information generation. So like I said, if this tiny take on life...more
This is ridiculous, I finished it in less than a day! Yes, it's that interesting and overwhelming, no matter if you've read the earlier version of this book - A Brief History of Time, or how many times you've watched Stephen Hawking's popular series on BBC.

This is Stephen Hawking’s way of describing gravitational attraction of composite bodies.

And you recognize good old Stephen Hawking humour when he introduces Isaac Newton by stating that "Isaac Newton was not a pleasant man."

A Briefer History...more
Jun 24, 2008 Bruce rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who has not yet made it to a grad-school-level physics class
This will be a shorter-than-usual review for me, but it doesn't seem necessary to add much more to the many excellent reviews of this book. This is the Hawking-Mlodinow easy-reader (because his best-seller A Brief History of Time was bought to make people seem better informed, but not actually really read. The challenge here was to comprehensively and cogently present complex concepts like relativity, quantum theory, string theory, etc. without using *any* numbers whatsoever (not even powers of...more
In an attempt to prove to some recent mega-brainiac friends (not that they asked me) that I was capable of some limited understanding of physics, I picked up this slim volume. The result: my brain hurts, I learned a few things, and I humbly submit that I will stay in the humanities. Although I think I got most of it, I nonetheless find it hard to accept certain things. I need some time-travel pills, as I am queasy. A lot of this material I learned in school or absorbed over time in media (and St...more
**I'm not really sure you can have spoilers in a non-fiction book and one that was extensively discussed in the press, but if so, there is a tiny bit of a spoiler four paragraphs down and on.**

In preparation for my next-next novel, I decided to read the briefer (and, I assume, easier) of Stephen Hawking's books on time and space for the lay person. It's something I would've been loathe to do even six months ago because of the state of my reading ability. But Goodreads has done for me what I'd ho...more
Stephen Hawking, famous physicist and atheist, undertakes in this book to explain to the casual reader some of the most complex and mind-bending concepts of modern physics while asking ultimate questions regarding the origin and destiny of the universe. Hawking surveys the development and revision of scientific theory regarding space and time from Aristotle to Ptolemy to Newton to Einstein and beyond, briefly and simply (as possible) elucidating concepts such as gravity, relativity, curved space...more
It's been about five years since I took Physics AP in high school, and, in hindsight, I can definitely say that it was one of my more favorite classes that I took back then. But when I went to college, I decided to major in a non-science or math field, mainly because I liked math for the puzzle solving element of it, rather than having to use physics on the job 24/7. Cut to present time, and I finally picked this book up. Obviously, it's not the full version, but rather the shorter, more accessi...more
Whoa! Readable! Surprise! Very, very readable physics!! Leonard Mlodinow and Stephen Hawking have made a more accessible version of Hawking's bestselling book A Brief History of Time-- and it's a winner that presents fascinating physics concepts in digestible sentences and paragraphs with pleasing, if somewhat superfluous, graphics. This is just what I was looking for -- I inhaled this one in rather short order, though I can't say that I am particularly coherent on explaining topics like quantu...more
Doug Dillon
Having one of the most brilliant minds in the world, Stephen Hawking continues to amaze the world with his scientific explanations of all Creation.

In this shortened, more readable/accessible version of their book, A Brief History of Time, Hawking and Mlodinow once again probe the nature of space and time. Written for the general public, this effort is a successful attempt to target pockets of interest within that market. Two such areas are "relativity" and "curved space." In the process, however...more
Arabian Rihanna
This is a short, readable book about how the universe works ― or how we think it works, so far.

I, however, do not understand the quest of physicists for a unified theory of the universe. I find that very limiting, what with all the existing, fascinating theories about the largeness and continuous expansion of the universe. Paradoxical much?
To start off, I wasn't very fond of physics in high school, but I've always found the universe and scientific theories interesting topics of study. Suppose I just don't take well to formulas and calculations, heh.

Surprisingly, though, I didn't encounter any complex theories or formulas here... Nothing too hard on the general reader (there were a few parts that basically required to be focused to grasp, though, such as the string theory or antiparticle topics)!

This is possibly my first serious r...more
ria k
it's not at all that I understood completely what he was talking about.
far from it, actually. many, many things were so far beyond my capacity to understand,
but it didn't prevent me from being amazed at the grandness of our universe, and sheer intellectual power of man. it's a refreshing read :) and nice to note: there isn't a favourable representation of one "side" over another regarding the more... "philosophical" realms of debate. neutral and very informative. Prof. Hawking definitely made co...more
General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and String Theory for Dummies! This book is for all the thousands of people who bought the original edition, read 20 pages and gave up at the first differential equation, and put it on their to-be-finished-someday-in-the-far-future shelf. Well, it actually does a pretty good job of surveying the development of the cosmological and physical sciences from antiquity to the present. I thought general relativity and quantum were fairly well explained, but that s...more
Very well written book to help a common person engage with truly complicated and difficult theories. String theory, General relativity, Forces such as gravity, electromagnetic, and strong and weak nuclear, and a non unified theory of the universe can give one a headache trying to comprehend it all. This book created spaces of thought and conciousness in my mind that will directly influence my interaction and perceived reality in this world. As I attempt to engage with deep and personal questions...more
M. Baran
Diğer Hawking kitaplarını okumak için büyük bir istek oluşturuyor insanda.
KJ Lipkey
Yes I am *smiling smugly*. I'm reading A Briefer History of Time and it.is.awesome. Yea though my smugness it tempered by a few things. One, I'm not so damn smart as I thought I was grabbing A Brief History of Time, not A BRIEFER History of Time - though I'm glad I did now. Secondly, I have been rewinding the audio book quite a bit. I'll hear something amazing (which is pretty much every other line) and I'll think, "Holyshitnoway" and off I mentally go contemplating it; aka trying to wrap my min...more
Great book, easy to read. Explains soberly the search for a "unified theory of everything". Here are my reading notes.

# To Remember
- Photons are massless
- The speed of light is the maximum speed for anything (except shadows or other things that do not really carry information)
- Light travels at the same speed for all possible observers (no matter the speed of the source of the acceleration of the observer)
- E = mc2 is saying that mass can be equivalent to energy

# Newtonian or Classical Physics
В предыдущей книге, в Краткой истории времени, довольно много "слепых ссылок" - автор углубляется в некий частный вопрос, который уже без математики совсем непонятно о чем, поскольку из желания популяризовать он описывает так, что невозможно понять, о чем он на самом деле, где можно изучить более подробно.
Кратчайшая история времени - идеально отполированный за много лет текст, в нем нет ни одного лишнего предложения.
Эта книга дает любому, человеку, с любым образованием, понять в целом, что нам т...more
I had heard of Hawking and his book "A Brief History of Time" for years and never read it. Finally I decided to do it, and I stumbled on this edition.

I chose to read this one slightly unwillingly because it was shorter, but I decided to do so because it had supposedly been updated with what had happened since the first edition came out, and I didn't want to read things that were too much outdated.

Anyway, this book is a short (one or two days) and pleasant read, and I think it does a great job of...more
I was going back and forth about whether to pick up this book or the original, A Brief History of Time. I ended up going with "Briefer" largely because the updated research is 10 years more current. I'm not sure how much I missed seeing as it is also "more consise," but I'll probably pick up "Brief" at some point just to satisfy my curiosity on which is the better book.

All that to say, I have always enjoyed science, but the extent of my physics knowledge consists of snippets from a long-ago hig...more
I loved it...at first it was hard to grasp every idea and each concept in the book but eventually I loved it.. it took time and concentration but it was a worthwhile journey
though I'm not into science and physics but I felt like I was reading poetry about the universe, I was dazzled by the time traveling theories
first book I've ever read about science and I intend not to make it the last
Physics + Astronomy 101; and as brief as the title implies. This book is a solid read for the scientific neophyte or dilettante. But on the tricky questions; about why space is curved, why the speed of light causes time dilation, or what is the the nature of the fourth or further dimensions, you'll likely leave knowing no more than you did before you started.
I read the previous version of this book, and this one is even better. I came away with a much better understanding of relativity, the uncertainty principle & even string theory. I would recommend this book to anybody interested in science. It is very well written.
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Stephen William Hawking was born on 8 January 1942 in Oxford, England. His parents' house was in north London, but during the second world war Oxford was considered a safer place to have babies. When he was eight, his family moved to St Albans, a town about 20 miles north of London. At eleven Stephen went to St Albans School, and then on to University College, Oxford, his father's old college. Ste...more
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“What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” 20 likes
“It's the gravity that shapes the large scale structure of the universe, even though it is the weakest of four categories of forces.” 9 likes
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