Book Review: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is a nonfiction book by author, science communicator, and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

This book initially caught my eye because of the cover. Who wouldn’t love that cover?! It’s gorgeous.

At first I had no idea it was nonfiction. When I finally read the synopsis, I was even more intrigued. This book is DeGrasse Tyson’s quick-take on astrophysics for us laypeople without PhDs. The night sky has always been fascinating for me, but I’ve found learning about it a bit inaccessible. No longer!

Here’s that cover I’m raving about:

I LOVE any kind of cover with a beautiful night sky on it (see my review of The Smell of Other People’s Houses).

And here is the synopsis of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry from Amazon:

“What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.

But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.

While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.”

Finally, here’s my review of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry!

This book is fascinating. Before I get to that, though…

First of all, it definitely lives up to its name in being for people in a hurry. It’s a small and manageable size, even in hardback. Thus, it fit easily in my purse, and I totally took it to a doctor’s appointment. Plus, something I tend to love, it has fairly short chapters.

Second, it was just so interesting. Like I said, I’ve always loved the night sky. However, books about astrophysics tend to not be accessible to, as Dava Sobel says in his blurb about the book, us “non-space cadets.” I loved being able to learn so much about astrophysics in such a short amount of time.

This book is very well written, and never gets too overwhelmingly science-y, although I did get lost a couple of times.

Other awesome stuff:

I loved the chapters in this book and the narrative structure that was chronological in terms of real-time and scientific discoveries made in astrophysics. It starts with the big bang, and moves all the way through to exoplanet discoveries and “the cosmic perspective.”

Overall, 4/5 stars.

It’s an enthralling read that can be a bit too high-level at times for those of us with less background knowledge, but still provides a fantastic understand of how our universe works and our relation to it as humans.

Happy reading!

– Paperback Patronus


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