"I can imagine few more enjoyable ways of thinking than to read this book."
—Sarah Bakewell, New York Times Book Review, front-page review
Tackling the "darkest question in all of philosophy" with "raffish erudition" (Dwight Garner, The New York Times), author Jim Holt explores the greatest metaphysical mystery of all: why is there something rather than nothing? This runaway best seller, which has captured the imagination of critics and the public alike, traces our latest efforts to grasp the origins of the universe. Holt adopts the role of cosmological detective, traveling the globe to interview a host of celebrated scientists, philosophers, and writers, "testing the contentions of one against the theories of the other" (Jeremy Bernstein, Wall Street Journal). As he interrogates his list of ontological culprits, the brilliant yet slyly humorous Holt contends that we might have been too narrow in limiting our suspects to God versus the Big Bang. This "deft and consuming" (David Ulin, Los Angeles Times) narrative humanizes the profound questions of meaning and existence it confronts.
Customer ReviewsSee All
More history-of-philosophy than science.
I rarely quit mid-book, but I got through only chapter 6 (of 15). The author is eloquent, but I expected modern science and found the history of philosophy was a very, very detailed bunch of arguments with little resolution. The first chapter alluded tantalizingly to work by Andrei Linde about possible origins of the universe, but didn’t follow up in the chapters I read.
The audiobook reader is articulate and has a pleasant voice, but his pronunciation needs work. He pronounces “Leibniz” in two ways and both can’t be right. Ditto “Schopenhauer”. Some words also get mangled — I think the E in “spontaneously” has an “ee” sound, not an “ay” sound, though I haven’t checked the OED on that.
Weird, wild and wonderful
This book messes with your mind--the concepts do, I mean. Well researched and read excellently.