August 6, 2008

A Brief History of Time (Illustrated)

Filed under: Book Reviews, Ideas — Robert John Ed @ 2:37 pm

It’s taken me about three weeks to read The Illustrated A Brief History of Time.  It is not a particularly long book, so I credit the extended amount of time to the robust content.  Here’s what’s cool about this book:  it has by far the most intriguing ideas that any person can ever think about.  And that’s saying something.  Then again, different folks, different strokes.

I have a tendency to look at things holistically.  The forest seems to catch my attention more than the trees.  Not sure when this thinking process started, but it couldn’t have been until I got to college.  The little things, the attention to detail are still there, but my mindset tends to focus on the long term and sustainable attributes of systems and less on the short term break downs.  It can create problems in the work place.  Many people are much more concentrated on the here and the now, and interjecting long term projections can be distressful.  Where was I?  Ah, the universe.

The universe boggles my mind because of holistic reasoning.  It’s beyond human comprehension at this point.  With almost all things, I like to look at them in total and analyze the sum of parts as well as finite time lines and output (as with the universe).  Unfortunately, the universe is beyond calculable when surmising the sum of its parts.  That is a problem for me.  Thinking in terms of the size of our universe and in terms of metaphysics is very distressing because of my anal retentive yearning to understand everything and why it works.  Sad.

It was written by Stephen Hawking, who is famous as physicist and author of those ideas surrounding the practice.  Hawking has a way of writing in layman’s terms that allow for an average reader (me) to understand extremely difficult subject matter.  That is a treat.  Although I know this is a book that must be read time and time again in order to really soak up all the information.  It’s not a difficult read, but it is a difficult book to fully comprehend.  I’d say as of right now I probably got about 75% of the information displayed…and for a total n00b physics person, that ain’t all bad.

This kind of book isn’t for everybody.  A lot of people just don’t care too much about our origins, metaphysics, the size and order of the universe, what time is (hint: it is MUCH more complicated than I’d thought), the theory of relativity, major philosophers and thinkers who brought us to where we stand intellectually, black holes, time travel and our final destinations.  Some people just don’t.  I do.  I get bored easily with the mundane goings on here.  So examining the world and it’s place in our universe is fun.

You know if you like that stuff.  If you do, it’s a great book to read.  It’s a book that I’ll probably read multiple times in my life, and will consult much more.  It might serve the same utility for you.



  1. I like turtles. Just kidding.

    Hawking is possibly the coolest person ever to live, and this book was great. Though I actually just listed to the audio book… and it was the shortened and dumbed down BRIEFER History of Time… whatever. Point is, I want to travel forward in time super-badly, and this book gives me hope toward realizing that far fetched dream.

    Comment by Brian Haugen — August 12, 2008 @ 4:09 am

  2. Hope is all we have. Hang on tight.

    Comment by Robert John Ed — August 12, 2008 @ 11:21 am

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