This title isn’t available with your membership

We’re working with the publisher to make it available as soon as possible. If you’d like to read it immediately, you can purchase this title individually.

Request Title
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A landmark volume in science writing by one of the great minds of our time, Stephen Hawking’s book explores such profound questions as: How did the universe begin—and what made its start possible? Does time always flow forward? Is the universe unending—or are there boundaries? Are there other dimensions in space? What will happen when it all ends?

Told in language we all can understand, A Brief History of Time plunges into the exotic realms of black holes and quarks, of antimatter and “arrows of time,” of the big bang and a bigger God—where the possibilities are wondrous and unexpected. With exciting images and profound imagination, Stephen Hawking brings us closer to the ultimate secrets at the very heart of creation.
Published: Random House Publishing Group an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on May 4, 2011
ISBN: 9780553896923
List price: $13.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for A Brief History of Time
Available as a separate purchase
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
Clear rating

Though it remains the world’s bestselling science book, A Brief History of Time has become notorious as one of the most commonly purchased but unread books. Reading it, it’s hard to see why. Hawking's prose is as smooth and accessible as Bill Bryson’s, and the ground he covers is still groundbreakingly relevant and fascinating, twenty years on. It’s hard to believe that Hawking is not only able to elucidate some of the more complexing scientific puzzles in a way that is clear, engaging, and exciting, but that he discovered and presented these notions for the first time. Perhaps when Hawking first wrote this book, the average layman understood little of some of the more advanced hypotheses and breakthroughs of physics, but it’s partly testament to the power of this, and other similarly stunning books, that these scientific ideas have become part of how we perceive our world and ourselves. No other scientist since Einstein, who, along with Newton and Galileo, is given a chapter, has had such a massive impact on the “common person” as Stephen Hawking. This book’s penetration into the mind of the reading public, whether they’ve actually read through from start to finish or not, has been the key reason for that impact.I’m almost ashamed to admit that this is the first time that I’ve read A Brief History of Time. Like Hamlet or The Odyssey it has become so iconic, that I feel as if I had already read it before I came to the actual text. I knew that it was important, and I knew, to an extent, that it would be accessible, but what I didn’t know was that it would be as funny and engaging as any book I’ve read. Hawking is charming and self-deprecating, and his prose is both clear and intimate. This latest edition is a neat, smallish size hardcover version of the 1996 version and contains a number of black and white diagrams, images, and figures. There are also chapters on wormholes and time travel, and discussion around a unified theory of physics, which didn’t appear in the original version. From the original book are chapters on such things as the nature of space and time, the expanding universe, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and its implications on how we view the world, quarks and other elementary particles, black holes (and how they also emit energy), the beginning and potential end of the universe, time and how it works (and doesn’t).In its way, A Brief History of Time is comprehensive and detailed enough to be considered a kind of bible, but at the same time, Hawking plants so many seeds that he opens the door on a welter of new notions. At no point is he ever condescending, nor does he descend into overly technical, acronym rich (linguistically poor) language. There are almost no formulas in this book. His reverence towards the great scientists who preceded him, and who support and work with, and sometimes against him is always obvious. Nor does he attempt to “dumb down” what he’s presenting. Some of the concepts are unbelievably complex. Superstring and membrane theory, with their corresponding multiverses are pretty hard to take on board, but they are presented thoughtfully, carefully, and in a way which is extremely interesting. The notion of a boundless, singularity free universe is also quite difficult to visualise. Much of what Hawking writes about in this book is still in the news, from particle accelerators to the black holes at the centre of the universe, and he addresses his concepts in a timeless way that transcends the limitations of our knowledge, moving between a poetic levity and a childlike excitement.A Brief History of Time is far more than a science book. It’s one of the renaissance books that is so seminal to the notion of who we are, and where we might be in the next fifty years, that it should be required reading for every person from high school on. If that seems like a big ask you've got the wrong idea about this book. It’s light and easy and fun, full of subtle humour and provocative notions.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Well-written and concise discussion of some nifty theoretical physics including black holes, the big bang, time, and the search for a unified theory of everything. Hawking explains complex science well (I've come away with a satisfying, if non-working*, understanding of most of the concepts he discusses), and his funky sense of humor helps make this a fun read. *By which I mean that I grasp the concepts in general terms but would have a hard time teaching them to anyone else and certainly could not draw conclusions from or otherwise use my knowledge.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I love books about the origins, workings and mysteries of the universe, and books by Stephen Hawking in particular. He makes the complex and unfathomable more accessible to the layperson using very entertaining prose.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Read all reviews

Reviews

Though it remains the world’s bestselling science book, A Brief History of Time has become notorious as one of the most commonly purchased but unread books. Reading it, it’s hard to see why. Hawking's prose is as smooth and accessible as Bill Bryson’s, and the ground he covers is still groundbreakingly relevant and fascinating, twenty years on. It’s hard to believe that Hawking is not only able to elucidate some of the more complexing scientific puzzles in a way that is clear, engaging, and exciting, but that he discovered and presented these notions for the first time. Perhaps when Hawking first wrote this book, the average layman understood little of some of the more advanced hypotheses and breakthroughs of physics, but it’s partly testament to the power of this, and other similarly stunning books, that these scientific ideas have become part of how we perceive our world and ourselves. No other scientist since Einstein, who, along with Newton and Galileo, is given a chapter, has had such a massive impact on the “common person” as Stephen Hawking. This book’s penetration into the mind of the reading public, whether they’ve actually read through from start to finish or not, has been the key reason for that impact.I’m almost ashamed to admit that this is the first time that I’ve read A Brief History of Time. Like Hamlet or The Odyssey it has become so iconic, that I feel as if I had already read it before I came to the actual text. I knew that it was important, and I knew, to an extent, that it would be accessible, but what I didn’t know was that it would be as funny and engaging as any book I’ve read. Hawking is charming and self-deprecating, and his prose is both clear and intimate. This latest edition is a neat, smallish size hardcover version of the 1996 version and contains a number of black and white diagrams, images, and figures. There are also chapters on wormholes and time travel, and discussion around a unified theory of physics, which didn’t appear in the original version. From the original book are chapters on such things as the nature of space and time, the expanding universe, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and its implications on how we view the world, quarks and other elementary particles, black holes (and how they also emit energy), the beginning and potential end of the universe, time and how it works (and doesn’t).In its way, A Brief History of Time is comprehensive and detailed enough to be considered a kind of bible, but at the same time, Hawking plants so many seeds that he opens the door on a welter of new notions. At no point is he ever condescending, nor does he descend into overly technical, acronym rich (linguistically poor) language. There are almost no formulas in this book. His reverence towards the great scientists who preceded him, and who support and work with, and sometimes against him is always obvious. Nor does he attempt to “dumb down” what he’s presenting. Some of the concepts are unbelievably complex. Superstring and membrane theory, with their corresponding multiverses are pretty hard to take on board, but they are presented thoughtfully, carefully, and in a way which is extremely interesting. The notion of a boundless, singularity free universe is also quite difficult to visualise. Much of what Hawking writes about in this book is still in the news, from particle accelerators to the black holes at the centre of the universe, and he addresses his concepts in a timeless way that transcends the limitations of our knowledge, moving between a poetic levity and a childlike excitement.A Brief History of Time is far more than a science book. It’s one of the renaissance books that is so seminal to the notion of who we are, and where we might be in the next fifty years, that it should be required reading for every person from high school on. If that seems like a big ask you've got the wrong idea about this book. It’s light and easy and fun, full of subtle humour and provocative notions.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Well-written and concise discussion of some nifty theoretical physics including black holes, the big bang, time, and the search for a unified theory of everything. Hawking explains complex science well (I've come away with a satisfying, if non-working*, understanding of most of the concepts he discusses), and his funky sense of humor helps make this a fun read. *By which I mean that I grasp the concepts in general terms but would have a hard time teaching them to anyone else and certainly could not draw conclusions from or otherwise use my knowledge.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I love books about the origins, workings and mysteries of the universe, and books by Stephen Hawking in particular. He makes the complex and unfathomable more accessible to the layperson using very entertaining prose.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I term it "Hawking's Disease." It has nothing to do with motor neurones, and everything to do with the man himself."Hawking's Disease" is simple to explain: it is the phenomenon of a great cultural shift in favour of a person because of the hardships he has overcome, rather than for any particular piece of work done for the benefit of humanity.In this context, the disease connects very neatly to the book - owned by many, read by few. It is an okay treatise as far as these things go, but I have read better, and I have read more accessible tomes. The hype is greater than the book could ever satisfy.If you want to get into Physics, this is fine but take heed, and do not be sucked in. String theory, the topic with which Hawking concludes, is becoming more and more discredited. There are other sources of information better than this - keep looking and you'll find treasure.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Very interesting book from one of the most incredible minds of our time. On several sections, I found it dificult to understand, specialy on sections with deep explanations, likely due to my ignorance on the subject. I enjoyed the chapters about Black Holes, Origin and Fate of the Universe and the Conclusion.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Just a little dated, but he's an entertaining writer.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Load more
scribd