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Carl Sagan: A Life in the Cosmos

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  248 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In this compelling life of Carl Sagan, award-winning science writer William Poundstone details the transformation of a bookish young astronomer obsessed with life on other worlds into science's first authentic media superstar. The instantly recognizable Sagan, a fixture on television and a bestselling author, offered the layperson entry into the mysteries of the cosmos and ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published October 1st 2000 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 1999)
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Mar 02, 2008 Malcolm rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: science geeks, 60's people
Carl Sagan someone I respect a great deal. I love smart scientists who make it their mission to interpret science to the world at large. This biography is well wrtitten and includes a great deal about his warts as well as his virtues. He could be arrogant and at times held ideas that seem somewhat ridiculous - such as his idea that their might be mammals such as polar bears on Mars. He was a man of imagination and sometimes one got in the way of the other although mostly they worked really well ...more
Mark Twain once said, "Anybody can have ideas--the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph." The quote couldn't be more apt than when examining this work. I initially started to read this book being interested in Carl Sagan the person and what he had to say. I came away feeling it was a tedious chore.

First off, the book is divided into short subsections that make for easy stopping points. The initial happ
I must confess that I started this book over a year ago, read a little, put it away, read a little, put it away, etc. I finally picked it back up a couple weeks ago determined to actually finish it, and found that I enjoyed the second half much more than the first. It's well-written, and about what I would expect in a biography. However, I think I would probably enjoy a book *by* Carl Sagan more than a book *about* Carl Sagan... and I plan to read one by him soon. He was a fascinating person, an ...more
Very good. Kept the book interesting all the way throughout, which I find is rare for biographies. The ending was depressing, though, because he died.
Mar 31, 2008 Conrad rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Carl Sagan admirers
This is a great and VERY DETAILED history of Carl Sagan. I enjoyed it, but it became a lot more tedious than most biographies, simply because the author put unbelievable detail into his effort. It's one of those 5-star quality, 3-star have-to-plow-through-it things.
A good read. Not too many biographies have spurred me to get up extra early during Christmas holidays to have some extra quiet reading time before the rest of the family wakes up! Definitely recommended reading.
I love Carl like no other, but this book was so damn dry, I had a hard time keeping with it. I eventually gave up about halfway through. For someone reknown for his writing style, this book doesn't do him justice.
Books about an author are never as good as books by the author, but it is interesting to get some details outside of the writings.
Carl Sagan was an American icon and a personal hero for me. Poundstone's book is readable, enjoyable and informative.
Karen Twinem
Very complete biography of Carl Sagan so it can bog down in spots.
Interesting. I love biographies.
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William Poundstone is the author of more than ten non-fiction books, including 'Fortune's Formula', which was the Amazon Editors' Pick for #1 non-fiction book of 2005. Poundstone has written for The New York Times, Psychology Today, Esquire, Harpers, The Economist, and Harvard Business Review. He has appeared on the Today Show, The David Letterman Show and hundreds of radio talk-shows throughout t ...more
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