Review of “Brief Answers to the Big Questions” by Stephen Hawking

Title: Korta svar på stora frågor (Brief Answers to the Big Questions)
Author: Stephen Hawking
Genre: Science, Nonfiction
Length: 6 hours 31 minutes
Published: 2019, Mondial Förlag
My Grade: 5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Stephen Hawking was recognized as one of the greatest minds of our time and a figure of inspiration after defying his ALS diagnosis at age twenty-one. He is known for both his breakthroughs in theoretical physics as well as his ability to make complex concepts accessible for all, and was beloved for his mischievous sense of humor. At the time of his death, Hawking was working on a final project: a book compiling his answers to the “big” questions that he was so often posed–questions that ranged beyond his academic field.

Within these pages, he provides his personal views on our biggest challenges as a human race, and where we, as a planet, are heading next. Each section will be introduced by a leading thinker offering his or her own insight into Professor Hawking’s contribution to our understanding.

 

MY REVIEW

  • Is there a God?
  • How did it all begin?
  • What is inside a black hole?
  • Can we predict the future?
  • Is time travel possible?
  • Will we survive on Earth?
  • Is there other intelligent life in the universe?
  • Should we colonize space?
  • Will artificial intelligence outsmart us?
  • How do we shape the future?

Ten questions. Ten big questions that Hawking answers really well. Many things are still theories, but I wouldn’t be surprised if those theories are to be proved in the somewhat near future. He talks about our biggest challenges, for example an asteroid collision to which we have no defense, but also about the potential annihilation through nuclear war and how AI might affect our future in many different ways. He also writes about some parts of his life. And the foreword by Eddie Redmayne (he played young Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, the biography about him) was very touching.

I’ve never read anything by Hawkings before and I’m surprised I haven’t. I guess I’ve always thought of him as a bit intimidating as he was one of the world’s smartest people. Maybe I was thinking that I wouldn’t understand anything at all. But I was wrong. Brief Answers to the Big Questions was a very easy read, or more like a very easy listen. He used words that every day people like myself could easily understand, he gave the whole picture on so many important and interesting things and I felt that I learned a lot. It might have been easier for me to understand since I listened to it in Swedish, but I honestly doubt it.

He’s funny in his writing and I could feel his positivity through his words. Optimist through and through and I’m not sure I agree with him on all his beliefs for the future. But I sure hope he is right in believing in everything good that potentially could happen.

It’s sad to think that he is no longer with us. But I’m so glad that he outlived his doctor’s predictions of only having a few years left when he was diagnosed at the age of 21. It’s incredible that he lived to be 76!

I’ve read a few books on astrophysics now. And this was the best of them. It contained more than just science. I definitely recommend everyone to read it, we all need know more things! Five out of five, easily.

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