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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hawking is succinct, even-handed, and even funny.
A Brief History of Time is 3 things at once:
First, it is a chronology of the various important scientists and discoveries over the centuries, all leading to where we are now.
Second, it explains, between the beginner and intermediate levels, an understanding of concepts such as black holes, worm holes, the beginning and potential end of time, particles and...
Published on July 3 2004 by William Franklin Jr.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not THAT good, nor is it THAT easy to read.
I don't care what anyone says, that book was not easy to get through. I have a degree in Math, and he does not give this stuff in layman's terms. Most of it, will eventually make sense if you can wrap your head around the hard to grasp principles, but he keeps adding more, and more to the theories and he will definitely lose you at some point.
Now don't get me wrong,...
Published on Jan. 30 2003


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hawking is succinct, even-handed, and even funny., July 3 2004
By 
William Franklin Jr. (Austin, Texas, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Brief History of Time (Paperback)
A Brief History of Time is 3 things at once:
First, it is a chronology of the various important scientists and discoveries over the centuries, all leading to where we are now.
Second, it explains, between the beginner and intermediate levels, an understanding of concepts such as black holes, worm holes, the beginning and potential end of time, particles and waves, quantum mechanics, and other issues in science.
Third, it is almost an autobiography of Dr. Hawking's scientific life. He interjects wonderful bits of humor and explains the concepts carefully and as simply as he can.
He is also respectful of religion, briefly interjecting his ideas about how religion does not have to be incompatible with the rapidly expanding ideas of science, and that religion should embrace science more.
One part I found humorous was his explanation of a bet he lost with a colleague (he seems to have a lot of long-standing bets going). He owned up to being wrong, and paid the penalty, which was a "one-year subscription to Penthouse, to the outrage of [his colleague's] liberated wife."
This book is for physics experts as well as people who know nothing about science and just want to learn some of the basic concepts. Like the universe, expand your mind.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not THAT good, nor is it THAT easy to read., Jan. 30 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: A Brief History of Time (Paperback)
I don't care what anyone says, that book was not easy to get through. I have a degree in Math, and he does not give this stuff in layman's terms. Most of it, will eventually make sense if you can wrap your head around the hard to grasp principles, but he keeps adding more, and more to the theories and he will definitely lose you at some point.
Now don't get me wrong, it's obvious that we are dealing with complicated stuff, and he needs to discuss these things, but I just don't want you to think that this is an easy read. It's a necessary read, and I DO recommend you buy it, but don't think it will be easy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Condition - Great Book!, May 9 2013
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This review is from: A Brief History of Time (Paperback)
Came just as expected, and book itself is a wonderful insight into the complex world of the cosmos. Highly recommended!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Summary of what you learned in school, Feb. 21 2013
By 
ScienceLives (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Brief History of Time (Paperback)
I think how you rate this book may depend on your background. Although I hate to give this classic book a mediocre rating, I just didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I was fresh out of university, so I found that most of the book was a summary of things I had learned in class, and not really telling me anything new. I did enjoy the chapter on black holes though. Overall, A Brief History of Time is worth reading but not as exciting as reading newer books on string theory.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must!, Nov. 29 2012
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This review is from: A Brief History of Time (Paperback)
For anyone who is even remotely interested in the origins of the universe, this is a must have. The writing is spectacular and no previous knowledge is required to grasp the concepts being put forward. I've recommended this to all my fellow space interested friends.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Wonderful Original Edition Of Hawking's Book!, Aug. 1 2003
By 
Barron Laycock "Labradorman" (Temple, New Hampshire United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Brief History of Time (Paperback)
For those of us curious enough to actually open the covers of this remarkable exposition of very sophisticated scientific concepts laid simpler and comprehensible in Professor Stephen Hawking's disarmingly straightforward style, this original version of the now updated text is indeed a veritable treasure trove of layman's explanations for some wondrous scientific phenomena. Hawking, who is still a Lecturer in Physics at Cambridge University despite an progressively debilitating neuro-muscular disease, has a rather unique capability to eschew anything other than the bare minimum of all the otherwise stupefying scientific mumbo-jumbo as he explains various aspects of the expanding universe as black holes, the nature of time, the so-called "big bang", and of course, gravity itself.
Hawking addresses the fundamental nature of physics as he proceeds to sift through these fascinating and long enduring mysteries of the universe. As a result, then, his somewhat rhetorical questions are presented for the single purpose of elucidating some interesting, provocative, and fairly indisputable answers to the nearly timeless ponderings we all seem to harbor about this wider world we all inhabit. Still one's consciousness seems to struggle in vain to consider the sheer scale of such conceptual configurations, with concepts that appear to be so immense and so dislocated to anything within our common experience while absorbed in our ordinary day-to- day time-space continuum as to give any among us a reeling and recurring case of vertigo. Of course, such a realization merely serves to magnify the sheer scope of the author's accomplishment in conceptualizing and executing such an approachable and accessible text, one that so vividly describes the origins and nature of our universe. This is a marvelous book, and one I can heartily recommend. Enjoy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Skating the Edge of the Incomprehensible, June 14 2004
By 
Lukas Jackson (Los Angeles, California United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Brief History of Time (Paperback)
My science background is virtually nil, but I found this book to be an interesting and relatively easy read in light of the difficult subject matter. For anyone who has pondered how it all started, how it will all end, or such ideas as whether the universe has a boundary, this book offers a fascinating discussion of our current understanding of these matters.
Hawking first explores how our view of the universe has changed since ancient times, then explains the revolutionary theories of relativity and quantum mechanics. Einstein developed the idea that space-time is "curved" and exists in four dimensions with his theory of relativity. Quantum mechanics was especially interesting-- the idea that matter can be viewed as either a wave or a particle, that matter and forces consist of the same particles with different "spin," or that all forces might be different incarnations of the same absolute force, was especially interesting.
Hawking also explores the most cutting-edge issues in astrophysics. He shows how the universe can be considered like the earth, with time beginning at the North Pole and ending at the "big crunch" at the South Pole. The question of "what happened before the big bang" thus becomes immaterial, as space-time was infinitely curved and "time" as we know it did not exist. He also suggests that space-time may be curved and therefore "finite without a boundary," a fascinating idea that I found difficult to visualize. Hawking asks what role a Creator might have if the universe is a "closed system" like this.
This book packs an enormous amount of information into few pages, but it is not as difficult a read as your average physics textbook. I highly recommend it to anyone concerned with the eternal issues confronting humankind.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Poor Book, July 28 2002
This review is from: A Brief History of Time (Paperback)
This is a poor book. Stephen Hawking knows his stuff, but he is very bad at conveying that information to others. He doesn't go into enough detail to allow the user to understand the physics behind the subject and consequently the book has a very "so-there", "Because it just is!!" quality to it. For example, Early in the book he states that time moves slower close to the gravitational field of a large object, like the earth. He doesn't go into any detail, or explain this. I know that it it because gravity and acceleration are the same, and as einstien showed, going faster causes time to move slower. But if I wasn't familiar with relativity I wouldn't have understood this, and wouldn't have felt that I had learned anything.
I hit problems at chapter 6, "Black Holes" because I know very little about them, and thus didn't feel like could follow the chapter. The book has a reputation of being one in which people can't get past the first few chapters. Well I think this is why.
A better example of a good way to learn a subject is through the books of Richard Dawkins. Upon reading his books I always come away with an excellant understanding of the topic. It's a shame that this book wasn't in a similar style.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History of Time, Jan. 25 2010
This review is from: A Brief History of Time (Paperback)
Like some other reviewers, it took a few tries spaced a few years apart to finally get through it. If you try this book keep in mind that it's targetted to give someone with little more than highschool math and physics a gereral understanding of some pretty complex topics; relativity, quantum mechanics, black holes, etc. This book actually does a pretty good job off doing that. For some it will fly over their head, others will want more detail, but Hawking has sold millions of copies of this book because the level of detail and complexeity of discussions are about right.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, elegant, concise!, Oct. 14 2003
By 
Giant Panda (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Brief History of Time (Paperback)
This perhaps the masterpiece of all science books aimed at general readers. I highly recommend everyone reads it at some point of their lives. Stephen hawking is one of the most brilliant scientists of our time, and in this book he demonstrates how he is equally one of the best science writers. At first I was so intimidated by the reputation of Hawking as a leading physicist I dared not open the book, expecting to find bulky equations and unintelligible discussions of exotica. I couldn't have been further from the truth.
"A Brief History of Time" defies the majority of science books in how easily it is accessible to the general readers. Instead of equations, one finds very simple diagrams beautifully explaining some of the strangest physical phenomena: space-time, relativity, black holes, the Big Bang. It is all in here, and a glossary is provided to remind readers of the meaning of some of the more exotic terms. Best of all, Hawking himself has played major roles in discovering and understanding some of those phenomena, so this book is an autobiography of sorts from one of the people who actually founded modern cosmology.
One of the best things about this book is its brevity, making it possible for one to finish this book in an amount of time such that one remembers the beginning and does not lose sight of the big picture throughout. This is a major advantage over some of the other books like the thick "Black Holes" book by Kip Thorne. What this book lacks, though, is a bibliography to direct interested readers to other books on the topic. Perhaps this is a product of this book being a pioneer - very few other introductory books on science existed when it first appeared.
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A Brief History of Time
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (Paperback - Sept. 1 1998)
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