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From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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From Publishers Weekly
Carroll explains the scientific studies of time in an accessible text for the lay reader, but one that proves prohibitively confusing for the lay listener. Sentences are stuffed with important, sometimes esoteric information that takes going over several times, making the listening choppy. And those prone to occasionally tune out for a sentence here or there will find it nearly impossible to follow. Erik Synnestvedt also hinders the production; though he reads in a clear and easy-to-follow voice, he never establishes a significant pattern of emphasis to guide listeners through the more technical and nuanced prose. His soft and rhythmic voice is slightly soporific and does little in helping the listener concentrate. A Dutton hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 2). (Feb.)
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"Carroll employs an easygoing, colloquial style of explanation to explore challenging issues of cosmology." ---Library Journal
Top customer reviews
Content-wise, he does a phenomenal job of summarizing and relating the history of theories of time and their real-world application. It gets dense towards the end, and very mathematical. As someone who is not very mathematically minded, it was tough and I had to reread some chapters. Carroll's passion, candor, and eccentric prose kept me through it. He really holds your hand though the more difficult concepts and the book culminates with some truly fascinating modern theories on time, the universe, and (seemingly) everything in between. This really helped me with writing my novel on time, and I'm very thankful to Carroll for laying out the science for me to make my book that much more believable.
My only note of criticism is to take it reeeaallly slow with some of the more advanced subjects. Students of physics will likely be fine, but there's some dense reading in store for science enthusiasts without degrees. I had a friend and colleague purchase the audiobook. He liked the reader, but it's a science book being read out loud. His suggestion was to have your finger close to the Rewind button ;)
A note to Sean: Keep up the excellent work. If you're reading this, I would happily purchase other books for you and support your academic endeavors. Great stuff and thank you for all your effort.
Towards the end of my reading the book, I happened upon an article titled "Universe Has Finite Lifespan, Higgs Boson Calculations Suggest". While reading the article, the crucial concepts mentioned were familiar to me from the book, and I understood what they were talking about and where these ideas come from. It was both a personal triumph and a seal of approval for the quality of the book. I did not waste my time reading this.
The book takes a tour through modern theories and speculations by starting with a few fundamental questions "what is time and why is it moving forward" and "why did the universe start in a very low entropy configuration". Hunting the answers for these questions is the purpose of the book, and the author makes sure you're not lost in increasingly complex explanations along the way.
It's not an easy read, though, even if it does present super complex subjects in laymen's terms. I bought this book for a two-week vacation, and even though I read all the time, it took me 4 more days of reading after the vacation to finish it. The content requires a fair amount of concentration without stop, and the book is rather long.
I did have a few gripes while reading.
The author explains that the universe had a very low entropy configuration in the big bang, but from his description of entropy, it seemed like it actually had high entropy. I was plagued with this question early on and got the answer only about 75% into the book.
The author keeps implying that the next paragraph or chapter will have an answer to the questions that he asks, but they never come. Only towards the end of the book did I feel that I wasn't being made to follow along with a promise that I could never reach.
Finally, expect some lame humor. Most of the times these are charming, geeky jokes that aren't funny but you appreciate the author's trying, but a few of them were flat out annoying. For example, the author says that a "loaf of raisin bread rising in the oven, with each galaxy represented by one of the raisins, is a terrible analogy of the universe". Why? Because: Raisin bread has an edge, it's inside an oven and it smells yummy, unlike the universe.
I nearly stopped reading the book after this, as it came early on in the book and I was worried most of the book would be like this (it's not). It tells me NOTHING about why the analogy is bad. Everything other than the universe has an edge, so every analogy will fail at that, and the two others are obviously ridiculous. I still don't know whether it really is a terrible analogy or not, because the author had to crack another one.
If you know to expect this kind of humor when reading the book, I'm sure it'd irritate you much less than it did me.