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The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  17,637 ratings  ·  749 reviews
From the best-selling author of The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos comes his most expansive and accessible book to date—a book that takes on the grandest question: Is ours the only universe?

There was a time when “universe” meant all there is. Everything. Yet, in recent years discoveries in physics and cosmology have led a number of scientists to conclude tha
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 25th 2011 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2011)
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Travis To answer your question directly, regarding this book: Yes, it should be relatively easily understood (I had no troubles).
I have read all 3 of his 'co…more
To answer your question directly, regarding this book: Yes, it should be relatively easily understood (I had no troubles).
I have read all 3 of his 'cosmology for non-physicists' variety of publications. as Aidan said, Brian Greene writes clearly, succinctly, and at an appropriate level to effectively communicate the concepts without dumbing it down too much.
IMHO (not that you asked for it): Fabric of the Cosmos would be my recommendation. It's the one that I have enjoyed the most, even upon re-reading it. (less)

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Dec 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So my buddy Ryan introduced me and Jo to his new girlfriend this past weekend and she's a mathematician (who is clearly not very good at it, because Ryan with a girlfriend doesn't add up - ZING!), so I was like "Do you think we're all avatars in a big futuristic game of The Sims?" and her face just lit up, like "I've been waiting for someone to ask me this all my life!" She is adorable, and we geeked out about parallel universes for like half an hour while Ryan and Jo made big exaggerated sighin ...more
Apr 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Manny by: Mary
Shelves: multiverse, science
I've now read three books about the multiverse in rapid succession: the first two were Rees's Before The Beginning (1996) and Davies's The Goldilocks Enigma (2007). This one came out just a few months ago, so I'm hopefully up to date for the moment.

Well: I'm starting to feel quite familiar with the arguments, but each book has an interestingly different slant. Rees concentrates on presenting the experimental evidence for the existence of other universes - basically, the physical constant
Manuel Antão
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Blood Farts: "The Hidden Reality - Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos" by Brian Greene

(Original review, 2011)

The Multiverse is awesome.

We all look, we find what we may, but we all have to choose what we look at more deeply than we will look at the rest of what there is. Yes, I refuse to spend much time on multiverse hypotheses; I used to spend a lot of time looking at quantum field theory instead (and doing QFT, thinkin
Jason Furman
Aug 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Brian Greene really is one of the best popular science writers. His books give you a real sense of being guided by someone who genuinely knows what they're talking about, who uses metaphors effectively, and who effectively weaves the traditional material in with the new points he is making. He also approaches science with curiosity untainted by dogmatism. He is very much open to speculation, but equally open to the speculation not panning out.

This book is about different concepts of the Multiver
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding update of the current status of modern physics and the projections of parallel universes from various advances. I would have loved to have Greene for a teacher in college. The tour is suitable for laymen with some understanding of physics, as he provides plenty of concrete examples to explain challenging concepts and gives an opportunity to skip more technical sections. For the more knowledgeable reader, a copious appendix is available, replete with the relevant math equations.

Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
Brian = bae. Definitely one of the more accessible cosmology writers of today. Any book discussing quantum field theory and string theory is going to require your undivided attention, of course, but it’s much more readable than many others, especially if you’re fond of analogies.

Turns out, there’s lots of theories that give rise to the possibility of alternate realities:

Theory 1, aka Quilted Multiverse: If the universe is infinite (it might not be, but if it is) then at some point in the distan
Mary Overton
It took me 8 months to read this book. My system is to read until my head is ready to explode, then stop for a month, then restart at the beginning. On the 4th attempt, I made it to the last page (or rather, Kindle location.) guarantee of how much was actually understood. This is a book that pried open my mind. The brain is sore and ecstatic from the experience.

From the last chapter,
Table 11.1 Summary of Various Versions of Parallel Universes
1. Quilted Multiverse: Conditions in an infinite
Keith Akers
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a good book. For a popularization, this had some pretty heavy science in it. I'm a pretty smart guy and will have to re-read it to really have a better understanding. Greene really is a good writer, because even when you don't quite understand what he's talking about, he gives you enough of the broad overview so that you can go to the next section and feel that you haven't missed anything critical.

The section on "quilted multiverses" was pretty straightforward and I can claim to have un
Mike (the Paladin)
Jan 04, 2012 rated it liked it
The first book I had by Brian Greene was The Fabric of the Cosmos. I got it not long after it was releases and a friend asked me if he could borrow it not long after I received it in the mail, before I'd read it.

I said yes.

I didn't get the book back for several years, Dr. Greene had written more by then. Oh well.

This book (as is Dr. Greene's wont) is an attempt to take highly technical and advanced ideas and make them understandable to "us", "we", "the great unwashed", "the masses". I suppose i
Jan 13, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a pretty dense book. Some of the footnotes have footnotes!

I'm sure it must be very difficult for an author of a popular science book to walk the line between, on the one hand, providing enough technical information to make the arguments cogent, and on the other, miring the reader in a bog of difficult concepts and facts. My hat's off to Dr. Greene for giving it a try on some of the most out-there ideas that can be imagined.

Some very interesting ideas, but ultimately, for me this was al
Cassandra Kay Silva
Feb 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Finally! Brian Greene you are the master at delivering exactly what I have naturally been pondering and lack the scientific mind to undertake. Thank heavens it wasn't another science book that I had to sit through the whole of physics from Einstein onward. Way to know your audience. We are sick of the constant repeating of every major scientific breakthrough of modern times. We have heard it all a dozen times, we know the history and want to know what is going on now! Yet again you deliver in yo ...more
Oct 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Much of this book describes speculative hypotheses about parallel universes. Some of the explanations--for example, the bubble universes--really made my head hurt. The explanation for why string theory requires ten space-time dimensions seems a bit glib to me. Some of the analogies--imagine a bunch of clones of Cartman from South Park standing atop mountain peaks--are just too silly to take seriously. The description of black holes and entropy is fascinating. Some parts of the book are rather ph ...more
Dec 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I wanted to get a glimpse of the current state of physics' understanding and theories about our universe and possible multiverses, mostly after an interesting piece on Radiolab a few months ago. I felt like this book got bogged down in string theory, and I have to admit the mechanics of the holographic universe escaped me. Still, I feel like I understand more about how theories of multiverses originate, and where they might be going. Not the most fun read, and I was expecting less theoretical ph ...more
Apr 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
The first half of this book is an expansion on some of the various multiverse concepts mentioned only briefly in Greene's earlier The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos (which overlap each other a little). I was an enthusiastic reader of those, and enjoyed this deeper look at what the scientific basis of those might be, in somewhat the same style. But for the second half of the book, I want to mention specific chapters, as I feel the value of the writing swings wildly.

7. Science and t
Feb 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes physics or science fiction
I always enjoy looking at scientific concepts through the lens of the fantastic or peculiar, so this exploration of parallel universes by popular physicist Brian Greene is perfect for me. Written in his usual clear, funny style, Greene naturally discusses string theory, relativity, number theory with respect to infinities, quantum theory, and numerous other scientific concepts. Instead of simply discussing these theories, however, we get to look at various proposals of multiple universes. From t ...more
Jan 28, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really am a huge fan of Brian Greene. I've read both "The Elegant Universe" and "The Fabric of the Cosmos" and find his writing simply astonishing. With complete sympathy for readers without mathematical acumen, he explains concepts like quantum physics, the theory of relativity, the four major forces including gravity with such precision, and wit, that I found myself gasping for breath as I felt like I was reaching groundbreaking depths of understanding of how the universe works on almost eve ...more
Nov 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: physics
I purchased this on the strength of Brian Greene's past works and find him to be consistent in his clarity of explanation.Although I had a few sticky moments with some elements of string theory and the explanation of the concept of infinity, on the whole it went well.I didn't get the same revelatory experience I got from "Fabric of the Cosmos",as most of the multiverse theories are extensions of areas he has covered previously and as the book is written with the assumption of little or no prior ...more
Mohammad Zaid
Apr 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am sold to Brian Greene after reading this one.I am fond of his simplicity for writing such a book.I was looking for such a book for quite sometime and when I learned about it I instantly decided to read it. It took me quite a time to read this book,to process it.It is a good book for the people who have little knowledge in this field.Want to broaden your knowledge on the topics like Multiverse,string theory? Read this book.
The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)
Needed more "Schrodinger's Cat and less Matrix."

Okay, I liked the first 66% of the book. Greene takes the time to go over, and over..(and over).... (and over) some of the same mathmatical points. It could get monotonous but in the first half to 2/3rds of the book he managed to add a little bit more "new stuff" to each repitition.

It did help me understand string theory and that there is at least mathamatical (theoretical?) support for multiple universes and the book did a good job of explaining
Dec 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book wouldn't be great without his first two. Or maybe it would, but it would seem like a fantasy ride in some bologna-artist's woo-science book. It's basically a survey of the different multiverse ideas out there - all the different ways people have dreamed up multiple universes.

Given the scientific gravitas Brian Greene is able to bring, though, one has to take these ideas seriously. At least, as seriously as one can. I'm not a physicist, but I have taken a statistics course or two, and t
Erica Clou
This was a great follow-up to The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality. It didn't repeat a lot of material from the first one, it explained the progression in physics since then. It was pretty mind-blowing. I did get a little stuck in some sections, but I decided that a perfect understanding of the topic wasn't strictly necessary for my purposes.

I do think Greene protests too much that every aspect of physics isn't a *miracle.* I've never heard of so many miracles I bel
Lee (Rocky)
Sep 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
I think I may just be too dumb for books like this. There are parts I understand and that intrigue me, but then suddenly things get too complicated for me to wrap my head around. This is mostly, but not exclusively, true of the sections that delve deeply into math (though the author, thankfully, relegates a lot of the math to notes), but there are plenty of non-math sections that were equally incomprehensible to me. Some of the notes are useful for clarification, but others just muddy the waters ...more
Not enough Simpsons in it.

Written after Manny's here, because somebody has to stand tall and write the tough reviews.

Ami Iida
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: interested in quantum
Shelves: physics
This book has been covering the important items of quantum mechanics.
essential reading quantum book.

In the text it has been described the basics of quantum mechanics.
Peter Corrigan
May 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
So glad there is not a test! Though I could probably start the book over today and learn as much as the first time around, such is the nature and depth of the ideas presented here. This is my 3rd Brian Greene book but there is so much in each volume that trying to describe what I forgot (or never understood) is about as likely as me figuring out the Cosmological constant! Still his books are fascinating in what seems to be almost a science fiction. His way of explaining things through real-world ...more
Santiago Ortiz
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating book that explains with great clarity no less than 9 versions of multiverses. Each of these are mind-expanding (or mind-folding, mind-bending, mind-exploding, mind-blowing, mind-wrinkling… depending of the multiverse version). And, in many of the cases, the alternative to the existence of a multiverse is at least as anti-intuitive and/or unbelievable. So be reassured that reading this book will give you a sense that reality is much more than what our senses, or even our exp ...more
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, science
Really enjoyed this, especially since it introduced me to string theory which I always thought would be so much more complicated! But it turns out to be such a beautiful concept.

Parallel universes will always be one of those things that interest people I think, and I'm glad that I can now sort of talk about them intelligently. My favorite theories are the simulation one, the cyclic multiverse, and quilted multiverse, with maybe brane worlds thrown in there.

My only problems with this book were 1
Douglas Cosby
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book on multi-verse ideas. Brian Greene is one of the best explainers of complicated physics topics alive today. He is even better in person, but this book does a good job laying out the different possible types of multi-verses. While a lot of the ideas represented in the book seem speculative, even fanciful, to me, that is what I thought when I first read Hawking's "A Brief History Of Time". In my opinion, the only current writer that can hold a candle to Greene is Sean Carroll. I can't w ...more
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Brian Greene can explain complicated concepts with such ease that you almost believe you can do the string theory yourself, but then you check the footnotes for the more mathematically inclined, and the math slaps you in the face. Still, his explanations are amazing. Just in a random chapter about the quantum mechanics version of a multiverse, he explained the Many Worlds Hypothesis so clearly that I almost fell for it! But he is such an unbiased source that he then utterly dissuaded me of it, m ...more
Umair Khan
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
In The Hidden Reality, celebrated theoretical physicist Brian Greene explains the mind-boggling idea of a ‘Multiverse’ (plural of universe). A professor of physics at Columbia University, Greene is well-known for his two earlier works on popular science, The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos which sought to explain, among other things, the very nature of space-time. But The Hidden Reality, in explicating the idea of multiple realities, shows the layperson something that has never bef ...more
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Brian Greene is an American theoretical physicist and one of the best-known string theorists. He has been a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University since 1996. He has become known to a wider audience through his books for the general public and a related PBS television special.

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