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A Briefer History of Time

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  32,067 ratings  ·  1,358 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
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published September 27th 2005 by Bantam (first published 1988)
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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.…moreThis particular book is an updated and slightly simplified version of the earlier editions. You don't have to read both.(less)
Steven Absolutely, this book condenses and in many ways simplifies A Brief History of time so that it is readable for a larger audience.

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Cait Poytress
Apr 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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. That still ...more
Deborah Markus
Nov 21, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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
Lois Bujold
Oct 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers wanting a first pass at its topics, or a quick review
Recommended to Lois by: random cross-links
Synopsis of a century of science. Not quite the depth I was looking for, following up some Great Courses on related topics, but I think it might be a very good intro to basic astrophysics/cosmology for younger readers or those adults wanting a place to start catching up to a fast-moving field of study.

I really need to learn more about quantum stuff. Much of it came up as a science after my school days, and a lot of pop sci routes around it with brief hand-waving while pursuing more approachable
Tharindu Dissanayake
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"WE LIVE IN A STRANGE AND wonderful universe."

In 'A Briefer History of Time,' the authors have been successful in making good on their promise to deliver a simplified version of original book, to provide the general reader with some understanding of the universe.

In this well laid out book, reader is guided through the major scientific theories that are in existence today. Relativity, Curved Space, and Quantum Gravity are given much weight and the strengths and weaknesses of each are presented wi
Jan 02, 2017 rated it liked it
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
Recommended to Anto by: Goodreads
Shelves: non-fiction
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
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
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Story - 4.4 Stars
Narration - 4.0 Stars

A history of time in 4h 21min!
S.Baqer Al-Meshqab
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 time, ...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
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
As a lover of A Brief History of Time, I absolutely loved the idea of A Briefer History of Time! It was a nice, succinct sum up of all the brilliance and amazing-ness of the original book and is a great refresher of the longer version. I have nothing but respect for science books who can communicate quite difficult concepts to all varieties of readers and this book is great for doing that. It also has many brilliant pictures and illustrations to further reinforce points and overall it’s just a g ...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
Mar 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Mario the lone bookwolf
Once again more accessible designed time travel from original models to the hypothetical future

Please note that I put the original German text at the end of this review. Just if you might be interested.

Hawking can confidently be described as one of the founding fathers of a modern and reader-friendly approach to writing non-fiction books, whose comprehensible and accessible presentation is at least as important as scientific correctness. At a time when elitist and for lay people, entirely trick
Mar 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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! ...more
Michael Lawrence
Jul 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
"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
Mar 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 30, 2017 rated it liked it
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
Apr 03, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Piedmont  Peach
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Shelves: non-fiction
Discovering what it means to be both confused and mind blown. This is pretty amazing.
Jose Affejägerrufus
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Hard physics made accessible for ordinary people (like myself). I gotta thank Mr. Hawking for that. It is a fascinating book, easy to understand and a must-read for those who seek to grasp how the Laws of the Universe (may) work.
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An error in the book, or did I misunderstand anything? 3 23 Jan 30, 2019 10:51PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Change cover with better image 6 18 Jan 21, 2019 09:41AM  
opinion 1 6 Jan 09, 2018 06:02AM  
A briefer Review 1 6 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

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