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Relativity: The Special and General Theory [New Edition with Readable Equations] [Kindle Edition]

Albert Einstein , Robert W. Lawson
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $5.95
Kindle Price: $0.99
You Save: $4.96 (83%)

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Book Description

This book was originally written in German by Albert Einstein in 1916 and later translated to English by Robert W. Lawson in 1920. In Einstein's own words, "The present book is intended, as far as possible, to give an exact insight into the theory of Relativity to those readers who, from a general scientific and philosophical point of view, are interested in the theory, but who are not conversant with the mathematical apparatus of theoretical physics."

This new Kindle edition contains all figures and formulas in the original paper edition. In particular, the equations have been carefully typeset with proper scaling, and they are more readable on Kindle. Indeed, in the words of a reader, "a book on Relativity without readable equations makes the book not even worth a penny."

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

How better to learn the Special Theory of Relativity and the General Theory of Relativity than directly from their creator, Albert Einstein himself? In Relativity: The Special and the General Theory, Einstein describes the theories that made him famous, illuminating his case with numerous examples and a smattering of math (nothing more complex than high-school algebra). Einstein's book is not casual reading, but for those who appreciate his work without diving into the arcana of theoretical physics, Relativity will prove a stimulating read.

From Scientific American

"The present book is intended," Einstein wrote in 1916, "as far as possible, to give an exact insight into the theory of Relativity to those readers who, from a general scientific and philosophical point of view, are interested in the theory, but who are not conversant with the mathematical apparatus of theoretical physics.... In the interest of clearness, it appeared to me inevitable that I should repeat myself frequently, without paying the slightest attention to the elegance of the presentation. I adhered scrupulously to the precept of that brilliant theoretical physicist L. Boltzmann, according to whom matters of elegance ought to be left to the tailor and to the cobbler." But it is elegant, in part because of the 1920 translation, by Robert W. Lawson, a British physicist who had polished his German while a prisoner of war in Austria. The introduction, by science writer Nigel Calder, guides the reader through the work section by section, even giving advice on which sections to skip, or at least not to worry about, if you can't "accompany Einstein through the forest of tricky ideas contained in this slim volume." Okay, this book isn't easy--again, in the master's elegant words, it "lays no small claims on the patience and on the power of abstraction of the reader"--but it is well worth the try.

Editors of Scientific American


Product Details

  • File Size: 395 KB
  • Print Length: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing; 3 edition (February 23, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004M8S53U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,087 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
126 of 130 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
There is no doubt that Albert Einstein has been one of the most brilliant minds of the past century. His major contribution to science was the special and the general theory of relativity, which gave a new dimension to that we call today "Modern Physics". Many people feel frustrated because when they try to understand relativity, they find some authors that expound in their books a complex arrangement of equations referring to the mathematical part of the theory, namely, the books are accessible for people with certain levels of knowledge (that is the case of engineers, physicists, mathematicians, among others). Nevertheless, perceiving and anticipating this situation, Albert Einstein wrote this book (more than fifty years ago) whit the purpose of exposing the special and the general theory of relativity in such a way that anyone can understand it. I this sense, I think, Einstein succeeded because despite the shortness of the book, the same covers the most important aspects of relativity in a clear and concise form. Moreover, the book has appendixes where the author makes reference to some interesting subjects like the problem of space and relativity, the experimental confirmation of the theory, to name a few. If you have decided to learn something about relativity, and you do not have vast knowledge in physics and mathematics, I sincerely recommend you this book. On the other hand, if you were a reader looking for more technical information (mathematical foundation of general relativity), I would choose the book "Gravitation" written by Misner, Wheeler y Thorne. This text represents an encyclopedia about general relativity.
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187 of 198 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Best Way to Discredit Any Work November 2, 2010
Verified Purchase
Before buying have read reviews. There are 49 out of 86 five star ones. So opted to buy to get a chance to touch the work of a genius. It never happened though. The book begins with text references to Fig. 1, Fig 2, Fig. 3, etc. No such diagrams.....Nada, just empty spaces... As a matter of fact, not a single drawing in the book! I mean, the book is reprinted with NO crucial accompanying the text drawings. Probably, the latter were in a separate file which they didn't copyright to make it cheaper, anyway it rendered the book useless. I would've sentenced the editor to a jail time.
Ah...here it is: Publisher: General Books LLC (August 19, 2009) ISBN-10: 0217982360 ISBN-13: 978-0217982368
"We recreated the book from the original using Optical Character Recognition to keep the cost of the book as low as possible. Therefore could you please forgive...etc. "
What they're apologizing here for is that they have committed a fraud. And "Look Inside" browser feacher shows you another book edition!
In hindsight, I suspect most 5-4 star reviews are fictitious...OR... they combined all reviews from different publications into one file. Buyer be aware!
Joseph Zacharow.
Update: Yep, Amazon throws DIFFERENT reviews of the same book under DIFFERENT publications (Einstein, Relativity), and DIFFERENT publications of DIFFERENT books of the SAME author (Albert Einstein, Relativity - The Special and The General Theory) in ONE big deceitful pile.
Thank you Amazon!
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88 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The words of the Master December 24, 2001
Format:Paperback
This is the introduction to relativity written by Einstein. It is NOT the book which contains the original works, which is a very difficult book (just think that Planck had to ask for several clarifications before he understood Einstein's breakthrough paper). Here the great scientist set to himself the goal of explaining to the educated, but not specialized, man.
Einstein was, of course, very deep. When he talked about any topic in physics, chances are that he went deeper than anyone else who thought about the same theme, for a comparable time span. Now, imagine relativity. When he wrote this book he had thought about this matter for several decades. Nobody reached this depth, then and afterwards. The fruits of his thought, like black-holes, are being proved true now, after so much time!
So, the difference between this book and all other introductory books on relativity is proportional to the difference between Einstein himself and the other authors. You don't have to believe me: just read the excerpts! You'll not remain indifferent to the majesty of his ideas. Put yourself in the right mood: Einstein was a very simple man who was, in writing this book, sincerely interested in explaining his creation to you. Follow his path, read attentively, and, above all, think!
The reward will be great.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mastermind at work June 20, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The reviewer of April 13 from Moscow, Idaho says this is not the book to read unless you already understand the theory. Maybe fair enough. It was written when Einstein had achieved youthful fame, though, not in his dotage, if he had such a thing. It may be a little more difficult for the translation, but not much. Contrary to some reviewers, it is not that easy to follow, and if it seems like an easy read, you probably haven't understood it. There are many books written since where it is probably easier to learn about special relativity, to say nothing of the basic ideas of general relativity. But once you have started to get the hang of things, this book is a masterpiece of exposition! It allows one to follow Einstein's actual thought process in arriving at these theories -- pretty much by a process of pure thought -- more or less in the steps he probably took himself. There is not a word in the exposition that was not carefully thought out. So, learn the theory somewhere else and then read this book -- you'll understand the theory better for reading Einstein's book -- or read this book first, keep going back to it 'til it starts to make sense, and maybe consult some other, more "user-friendly" textbook at the same time. Einstein claims his book allows a lay reader with only high school math to understand relativity. To which a friend of mine replied "Yeah, if you have an IQ of 800". To which I say, have patience, keep thinking about it and going back to it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great book
Published 1 day ago by DANNY BLACK
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
The book contains the base of the Theory but nearly nothing of their construction.
Published 4 days ago by Lefebvre
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It is very good
Published 10 days ago by Robert R. Openshaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Listening to Enstein speak from his book
Great book words of wisdom from the man himself
Published 22 days ago by Whisky Warrior
2.0 out of 5 stars Still don't get it
I was so hopeful that this book, written supposedly for the average person, would educate me about Relativity. I couldn't understand any of it, and I have PhD in a science! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mark A. Biernbaum
3.0 out of 5 stars Struggled toward the end
Although the basic concepts of relativity and space-time are nicely illustrated in the early parts of the essay, I personally struggled toward the end as he delves into more... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jonathan D. Geisler
5.0 out of 5 stars What Albert Thought, with few regrets at all
This man could have had no idea what he was about to set in motion, only that he wanted to share all he believed to be true. Read more
Published 1 month ago by man in the hat
5.0 out of 5 stars EINSTEIN'S OWN EXPLANATION OF HIS THEORIES
Other books that Einstein wrote of co-wrote that address relativity are The Meaning of Relativity, The Principle of Relativity, Sidelights on Relativity, and The Evolution of... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Steven H. Propp
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should learn this!!!
Einstein is cosmically more intelligent, then I will ever be relatively close to. Yet dancing with that greatness improved on my own life.
Published 1 month ago by Phillip Porter
1.0 out of 5 stars Missing pages
On a really dense and complicated book such as this one, a single paragraph missing could make it really hard do understand. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Henrique B. De Moura
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