I listened to this as part of my effort to read more audio books. They’re good for long walks, or car rides, but otherwise they’re so slow!

You’ve probably heard of Neil deGrasse Tyson. He’s a scientist who knows how to make his work approachable, and he’s got a sense of humor, so when I saw he had a book, with an audio book he narrated himself, I had to give it a try.

*         *          *

This book describes exactly what it says it does–a brief overview of the universe, and all the bits and pieces that make it up. Black holes and quarks, and all sorts of things in between, all broken down into small, easy to understand sections. It’s a lot of information, so I wouldn’t expect you’d remember it all, but you can certainly retain a general understanding. Of course, it isn’t designed for someone who already has an interest–and a knowledge base–it’s probably too general for that. But as an introduction that provides just enough detail to be intriguing, without bogging down, it’s spot on.


And it works quite well in this format. As he reads, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s tone captures his sense of wonder, and sense of humor, about the topic at hand — ranging from dark matter, the periodic table, planets, telescopes, and how aliens would perceive us. The world is a lot weirder than we often give it credit for, and Tyson is letting us in on the joke.

Neatly divided into chapters by subject, it’s just as easily consumed in chunks as in one gulp. (And depending on how you listen to audio books, you could listen in one sitting.) And as the title claims, it’s short and digestible enough for the layperson. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s interested in the building blocks of the stars, but doesn’t have a solid background in this, or a related field.

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

4 responses »

  1. Ed Hoornaert says:

    You had me at “Neil deGrasse Tyson.”

  2. I want to read this but there is a super long queue to borrow the audiobook and the physical book from my local library. I’ve heard really good things about it.

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