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A Briefer History of Time

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  27,785 ratings  ·  1,177 reviews
Stephen Hawking's worldwide bestseller, A Brief History of Time, has been a landmark volume in scientific writing. Its author's engaging voice is one reason, and the compelling subjects he addresses is another: the nature of space and time, the role of God in creation, the history and future of the universe. But it is also true that in the years since its publication, read ...more
ebook, 176 pages
Published January 26th 2010 by Transworld Digital (first published September 23rd 2005)
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Igor Chertkov This particular book is an updated and slightly simplified version of the earlier editions. You don't have to read both.
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4.21  · 
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 ·  27,785 ratings  ·  1,177 reviews

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Cait Poytress
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
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An exceptionally good, concise look at physics for the layman. The explanations were just super. Simple, yet not stupidly so for me with my high school & Sunday supplement level of education on the subject. There are some tough concepts to understand. For instance, wave-particle duality is pretty weird, so be prepared to stop the book & think about what he says at times. Maybe even repeat his explanation. I found most became fairly clear, even time travel, but maybe not string theory. Th ...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
Jul 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: science geeks
Recommended to Nərmin by: My teacher
"A briefer history of time" is briefer and simpler version of "A brief history of time". However I wish explanations to some theories made sense to me. I still feel unfullfilled about string theory and multi dimensions.

In addition, the language was a bit dry, or so I thought. After Carl Sagan's flowing poetry-like language, I am unimpreed by Stephen Hawking. Still humor wasn't absent.
Apart from those, I liked this book. Got good deal of information and understanding of theories. After reading sc
Jan 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anto by: Goodreads
I began watching Neil Degrasse Tyson's Cosmos last year and it rekindled my interest in learning about physics and astronomy. It began when I watched Carl Sagan's Cosmos, which I loved. So Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time caught my eye. While I excelled in other subjects, my physics teacher in school didn't exactly make the topic interesting so I was never really good at it. No enthusiasm engendered there. When I learned that there was a Briefer History of Time, I opted for that one bec ...more
Feb 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
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
S.Baqer Al-Meshqab
Imagine you are a tiny particle, one that lived throughout the universe since the beginning of time. You witnessed the dawn of creation, and within you lie the rules with which the end can be foreseen. You are fully aware of the characteristics of space-time. Relativity & Quantum Mechanics are nothing but infant struggles to identify you and your behavior. You could even be a string! But nobody can say for sure, for only you have that knowledge. You gaze at the human race along the path of t ...more
Mar 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Sep 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2009
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.
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
Mar 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who has not yet made it to a grad-school-level physics class
Shelves: science
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
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Apr 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read07
Quantum mechanics, singularities, time travel, the speed of light - this is a more concise and updated version of Hawking's original Brief History of Time. It boggles the mind. I start to grasp the concepts and then they start slipping away. I did learn some very interesting things though, like what would happen to the universe if we had more than three space dimensions, how we can't seem to get beyond 99.99% of the speed of light, and that Albert Einstein was offered the presidency of Israel!
Michael Lawrence
Jul 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Mohamedridha Alaskari محمد رضا العسكري
I'm absolutely convinced that Hawking is the best man in the simple illustration of sciences especially the cosmology and physics in general.

In partnership with Mlodinow created such an exceptional informative rich text. I tought in the first pages that this book is totally different than the obvious one but, in very smart characters it links with the old one " I mean a brief of history of time"

I finished the last pages of this book while the power is down! I couldn't leave it until I finished i
Kawtar Morchid
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
This book has been in my T.B.R list forever but late is better than never. Rest in peace Mr. Hawking along with all the brilliant men who spent their lives trying to enlighten humans.
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 a
Mar 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sina Jahandari
The book is a simpler and an updated version of “A brief history of time”. Topics like string theory and dualities which were not fully developed at the time are also included. The language is what you find in technical articles, simple and dull, which I ironically liked a lot.
The authors did a good job walking through the evolution of scientific modeling of the world from old times. It was really interesting to me to find out how people in the past figured out the facts that are well known toda
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
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-time-favs
This book is now one of my all time favorites. I absolutely loved how concisely the authors explained the theories while making the reader feel real smart. Quite often the reader is urged to imagine a certain scenario to help them grasp the phenomenon that is being discussed. Personally, I appreciated these instances because I am confident in my understanding as a result. The timeline of the scientific theories is established throughout the book. In the end, a page’s worth of personal informatio ...more
May 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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?
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Discovering what it means to be both confused and mind blown. This is pretty amazing.
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
A Brief History of Time was on the London Sunday-Times best-seller list for 237 weeks and has sold about one copy for every 750 men, women, and children on earth according to Mr. Hawking in his preface to this new edition.

On the moon where there is no air to slow things down, the astronaut David R. Scott performed the feather-and-lead-weight experiment, and they both landed on the ground at the same time.

One interesting photo shows two Marilyn Monroes and one Stephen Hawking with his hand stra
Jul 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, writing, non-fiction
**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
May 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Peter Vik
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good layman's introduction to physics. Hawking puts concepts in understandable terms and is generally pretty honest about what scientists don't know, which is a lot. This is a good read and a nice way to celebrate a life of brilliance now ended.
Mar 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-100
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
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An error in the book, or did I misunderstand anything? 3 17 Jan 30, 2019 10:51PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Change cover with better image 6 18 Jan 21, 2019 09:41AM  
opinion 1 4 Jan 09, 2018 06:02AM  
A briefer Review 1 5 Dec 28, 2017 12:59PM  
Can Gravity Fields really cause Time-Dilation-Effects inside of them? 4 47 Dec 19, 2017 06:18AM  

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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
“What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” 28 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.” 21 likes
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