Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Briefer History of Time” as Want to Read:
A Briefer History of Time
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

A Briefer History of Time

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  15,345 ratings  ·  592 reviews

The science classic made more accessible
• More concise • Illustrated


Stephen Hawking’s worldwide bestseller A Brief History of Time remains a landmark volume in scientific writing. But for years readers have asked for a more accessible fo
Published December 18th 2007 by Bantam (first published 1988)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Briefer History of Time, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Briefer History of Time

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
ياسمين خليفة
بعد أن قرأت هذا الكتاب ازداد احترامي واعجابي بكل المتخصصين في الفيزياء وعلوم الفضاء والفلك فهم عباقرة لأنهم يستطيعون فهم هذه المعلومات المعقدة جدا عن نشأة الكون والفضاء و النجوم هذا الكتاب للعالم ستيفن هوكنج يحاول شرح النظريات حول الكون والنجوم و نسبية اينشتاين والثقوب السوداء والزمكان والسفر إلى المستقبل وميكانيكا الكم والرجل حاول قد المستطاع تسبيط هذه المعلومات إلى أقصى درجة حتى يفهمها القارىء الغير متخصص ورغم أنه لم يقصر في شرح تلك النظريات العلمية إلا أنني لم أستطع استيعاب سوى نصف المعلومات ...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
Octavio Villalpando
Hace mucho tiempo, antes de que tuviera el suficiente conocimiento como para adentrarme en verdad en tratar de entender como funciona el Cosmos, me leí "Breve historia del tiempo", honestamente no le entendí gran cosa que digamos... Con los años, a lo largo de mi vida como lector, debo reconocer que lo que menos he leído es ciencia. Sin embargo el gusanito siempre estuvo ahí. Decidí tomar este librito como una especie de experimento para validar mi teoría de que estaba muy oxidado ya en materia ...more
Christine Alibutud
"If we do discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason—for then we would know the mind of God."


Wow. It's nice to get inside the head of Stephen Hawking. I've got to ad
M. Donner
Recent films such as The Theory of Everything (based on the life of Stephen Hawking) and The Imitation Game (based on the life of mathematician Alan Turing) have both been successful in popularizing great minds in math and science. If you are more curious, however, about the true work of these individuals, I would highly recommend looking into both Hawking and Turing’s non-fiction works. In the case of Stephen Hawking, his most most-accessible work of popularized non-fiction science is arguably ...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
**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
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
Jenny Hempen
I read this as a supplement to A Brief History of Time, it gives more simplified explanations of more complicated ideas and goes a little further into fun things like time travel and worm holes. Since it was printed in 2005, the research is a little different, but surprisingly not substantially. But if you are only going to read one, I would recommend A Brief History of Time, since this does not go into the same depth of the topics.
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?
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
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
Jann Strømme
I read through it in one setting (several planes but ine one day). It's very captivating but it does not go that deep into the material. But it's easy to read and a good jumping board if you're interested in physics.
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
How to feel much smarter and horribly stupid at the same time
M. Baran
Diğer Hawking kitaplarını okumak için büyük bir istek oluşturuyor insanda.
In an effort to understand more about life and the universe I find myself in, I read this. I do believe that an educated person should know the basics of the current scientific paradigms of how the universe works and is structured, and this book can provide that. This is a shorter, lighter version of A Brief History of Time. Hawking became famous in the wake of that release, and now probably most of the educated world is familiar with the images of this brilliant man in his wheelchair, his body ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Can Gravity Fields really cause Time-Dilation-Effects inside of them? 2 25 May 07, 2014 05:46AM  
  • A World Without Ice
  • Collider: The Search for the World's Smallest Particles
  • Why Does E=mc²? (And Why Should We Care?)
  • The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality
  • Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium
  • The Theory of Almost Everything: The Standard Model, the Unsung Triumph of Modern Physics
  • The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
  • Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos
  • The Physics of Star Trek
  • The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos
  • Dreams of a Final Theory: The Scientist's Search for the Ultimate Laws of Nature
  • From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time
  • Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions
  • Cycles of Time: An Extraordinary New View of the Universe
  • Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy
  • The Character of Physical Law
  • About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution
  • Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality
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
More about Stephen Hawking...
A Brief History of Time The Grand Design The Universe in a Nutshell Black Holes and Baby Universes The Illustrated A Brief History of Time and the Universe in a Nutshell

Share This Book

“What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” 21 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.” 12 likes
More quotes…