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Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson is exactly what it sounds like, a book summarizing the extremely difficult concepts of astrophysics for anyone to read. With my knowledge obtained from high school science courses I was able to follow along well as Tyson does a good job breaking down the hard concepts. The writing is concise, easy to understand and charismatic. I found the book to be interesting and I would recommend it to anyone who finds science interesting or anyone who loves to learn. I would give Astrophysics for People in a Hurry four out of five stars.
@Nessie of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board
I'm not in much of a hurry, and I have a very limited science background, so I wasn't sure if this would be the book for me. How wrong I was. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry helped expand my knowledge beyond our galaxy and into the universe (or universes) beyond. The author takes you to the end of time -- or is it the beginning? There is also the possibility that there really is no time at all; it's just a human construct to get the flight schedules on time. So it makes sense sometimes to not be in a hurry -- unless a bear is chasing you. The big bang theory is explained, as are the possible big bang theories to come. My writing is confusing because I'm a novice at astrophysics. But trust me, Neil DeGrasse Tyson will give you all the expertise you need in this universe, as well as the duplicate you in a parallel dimension. Happy space travels!
This nonfiction book for middle grade children was really pitch perfect. There was enough science to make it interesting and informative but it did not overwhelm. It was also funny without being too silly. Highly recommend.
The book has the classic Neil DeGrasse Tyson signature all over it! It's literally what the name says, in that it's not too technical, but is neither shallow. Tells the story succinctly, sometimes not very precisely, but with enough zest to keep the reader captivated and enough fidelity to never give her an inaccurate picture.
The first problem I had with that book is that it's not really well organized. The chapters don't follow any pattern. For example, consecutive chapters in the book talk about dark matter, periodic table of elements, why things have the tendency to be spherical, and then light. And thus, when you begin a chapter, you'd wonder how did the previous chapter link to this!
That said, the book is full of eye-popping information about practically all streams of astrophysics. From the concept of Iridium paperweights to the real story of Tuscan municipality installing low pollution Sodium lamps, from the explanation about why most things in the night sky are spherical yet Milky Way is round but flat to poking into dark matter and dark energy to perfect depth that's neither too technical nor too cursory, the book is teeming with magnificent pieces of information. The chapter "The Cosmos on the Table" is particularly intriguing because of the way the author explains an astrophysicist's perspective of the Periodic Table. I don't think I can ever look at the Periodic Table the same way I was taught in school.
The book is also funny, and in a nerdy way, It quotes Bible at times, the chapter names are quirky, and the joke about astronomers try to find a solution by considering a 'spherical cow' is specifically witty.
For a very "equation" oriented person like me, there were a few places where I found the explanations and comments sort of lacking exactness. For example, in one of the chapters, the author says, "On thirteen mile long Phobos, a 150-pound person would weigh a mere four ounces", and I almost thought I should send an errata to make it 'a person that weighs 150 pound on Earth'.
In conclusion, the book is a great read for anyone interested in astrophysics. It doesn't get scholarly, but then, you should have guessed that from the title.
For anyone with a basic understanding of science this book is a great place to begin a deeper dive into astrophysics.
This is a gateway into the formidable and beautiful world of physics. Although coming into this read having a rudimentary knowledge of physics/chemistry is helpful to grasp the concepts discussed in this book, it can absolutely be read by anyone. Neil DeGrasse Tyson clearly knew how to write a book about physics for those who aren't conversant in it. Even with this book being relatively small, I am walking away with what seems to be a plethora of information. Great read and would recommend for people getting into science or anyone who wants to make conversation about the cosmos.
I've seen De Grasse Tyson on tv before and always found him a bit of a blow hard. Funny at times but basically just spews scientific facts showing off his vast knowledge but to little end. I got the book thinking that perhaps his writing would have more of a point to it but alas it seemed like more of the same. A lot of facts and he does have a good way of explaining things in layman terms. However, most of it seemed disorganized and rambling. The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra was much better read for me personally.
This doesn't quite reach the level of pop-science for me. It's a quick read (I read the first 115 pages or so in one sitting). However, I was probably only understanding about half of what I was reading. I found myself understanding the broad strokes of what NDT was trying to convey, but not the details.
I agree with an reviewer who said: "I suppose it isn't easy summarizing astrophysics in 200 short pages but this could have been better. He frequently does not explain certain concepts and ideas." I found there were too many concepts mentioned in a single sentence without any further explanation before NDT quickly moved on to another topic.
It was quite easy, entertaining and fast to read, considering the subject's complexity. The topic of dark matter/energy and the last chapter where he discusses some "grand scale" comparisons really got me thinking.
I don't agree with the comments here. This book is overrated. I suppose it isn't easy summarizing astrophysics in 200 short pages but this could have been better. He frequently does not explain certain concepts and ideas. I expected more from a 'science popularizer'. Also, the author's arrogance comes through from time time. Hawkings is much better. If this book was swallowed up by a black hole, the rest of the universe would be fine.
Thoroughly enjoyable and educational...I actually read it in one sitting. I wish this had been available to read before taking Astronomy in university...many years ago. It makes an excellent introduction to our universe and all of the mysteries it holds. Really helped to simplify some otherwise difficult concepts. Has made me want to learn even more!
I'm an idiot when it comes to math and science, these are subjects I've always struggled with. With that in mind, this book was an absolute pleasure to read! Neil Degrasse Tyson has a fantastic way of breaking dense, heavy content down beyond layman's terms into an engaging, whimsical, often times even humorous journey. I highly recommend this work if you're at all curious about our universe, and I fully intend on buying this book!
Illustrious and engaging without a single image, with expanses of time condensed into mere sentences. Leave it to Neil DeGrasse Tyson to bring the universe to your fingertips!
I was hoping this would be a readable introduction to some aspects of science I don't know much about. But there was immediately a fair amount of terminology used that required at least a little knowledge of science . So I was lost from the start, and stopped reading a short way into the book. Reminded me of how I always had trouble with science and math back in college and in earlier schooling. I felt that same frustration I had then.
I have a lot of respect for scientists and their work and valuable contributions to our world. I just have an extremely difficult time understanding much of it for myself. So if you're like me, you've been warned about this book. Try something more elemental instead.
I was really worried about whether I could get through this one without getting frustrated by dense, confusing content. But, actually, I really enjoyed it and learned a lot of interesting concepts that will help me understand the new discoveries that are often reported in the news. This isn’t narrative non-fiction, but there are a lot of “in other words” which helped hit home the key ideas. I will definitely come back and reread this to continue to absorb more.
A real eye-opener to the universe, providing a good understanding of some mind-bogging concepts, all in a quick-read format. This book makes an incredibly dense and complex field of science very accessible to the average reader. I found it quite easy to read as someone with only a basic education in physics (think high school level). The tone is conversational, making what might otherwise be an intimidating subject quite easy to get immersed in. Tyson does a good job at explaining concepts without using too much jargon.
I had to work at reading /listening to the CD audio of this book but it was worth it. Although I only understood about a third of what I read/heard, I came away knowing a whole lot more about astrophysics than I did before and feeling amazed at how this knowledge applies to what I see around me on a daily basis here on earth! Tyson is a genius who is somehow able to explain astrophysical concepts in an entertaining way, using lay terminology and inserting comical asides that made me laugh out loud! Highly recommended, even for those like me who don't have a 'head for science'.
I had to work at reading /listening to the CD audio of this book but it was worth it. Although I only understood about a third of what I read/heard, I came away knowing a whole lot more about astrophysics than I did before and feeling amazed at how this knowledge applies to what I see around me on a daily basis here on earth! Highly recommended, even for those like me who don't have a 'head for science'.
A quick enjoyable read. I was probably not the target audience (already knew most of the content; PhD in the physical sciences will do that) but the writing style was very light and clear so I have no doubt that a scientific background is completely unnecessary to follow this book.
I would highly recommend it to any layperson with an interest in space. Thanks to my husband who gave it to me for Christmas!
Often dense and complicated, the conversational tone struck by Tyson makes this short collection a delight to read even if I didn’t fully understand all the concepts.
It's a good book I reconmend it! (plz don't judge spelling..) (i'm bad at spelling)
I read this one because one of my oldest and most intellectual friends recommended it. I never did understand math, and it fascinates me that people like Newton, Einstein, and Hawking can not only think up this stuff in their heads but come up with ways to measure the phenomena and support their theories. If they keep digging, they might or might not find that God particle, but at least I now know a pulsar from a black hole. I even liked some of his nerdy jokes. I wasn’t bothered by the slight lack of coherence that one expects from a collection of essays, as opposed to a book-length treatment of the subject. Tyson fulfilled the promise in his title: an interesting glimpse for those of us who can’t or won’t spend the time it would take to really know workings for the universe.
As an engineer, I use applied math and science, to earn a living. Astrophysics is rather foreign to me, as it is more theoretical, so there is a lot in this book that was a little beyond my comprehension. When the book discusses the big bang, well the dimensions of space and time are just fairly beyond anything experienced by humans. But when it came to concepts like the center of gravity making heavenly bodies spherical rather than triangular or cubical, I could understand completely. This is just a great book for beginners, but don't expect to understand everything.