This collection of thoughts and essays by the late Stephen Hawking looks like it’s been put together after his dead. As to show one last time what kind of genius he has been. Even if that was the case, there is no shame in that because his ideas have been wondrous and highly influencing. He’s arguably the best theoretical scientist of our time. However he was already working on this book, collecting his thoughts and essays about the Big Questions and it has been carefully wrapped up after his passing in March 2018. His unexpected passing however have given this book even more power.
What we get is a private look inside his life. We read about his family, his time in university and the struggle with his illness. He also speaks about the doors that have been opened. And although he doesn’t say it, his pure determination has made him stand out in more ways than just his remarkable mind and gave him parts in series such as Star Trek – The Next Generation and The Simpsons. All these aspects are mentioned during his essays which give them a personal touch. Also his sense of humor shines through and I admit to have had a loud chuckle when reading through this work. He isn’t just a physics genius but knows what goes on in the rest of the world and is not afraid to speak his mind about them.
This book, it essentially being a theoretical physics book (in the popular science category), is surprisingly easy to read. You may want to avoid skipping parts or you may lose the plot. This book gave me the ultimate description of a black hole and I will not shy away of using it when I’d ever get in the position where I want to explain what makes a black hole. He is famed for his work on black holes but the book also tackles AI, time travel and aliens. And he explains how he got to his ideas, and how other things just aren’t possible. He doesn’t force you to agree with him but then, it’s hard not to with the explanations he gives. Also, his essays are highly scientific.
As these are all collected essays and other small publications, some topics are mentioned more than once and the one anecdote will appear twice as well. This isn’t annoying or anything. The subjects don’t feel disconnected from each other either, even though they are written separate from each other. It’s a whole and that’s quite an accomplishment.
If theoretical physics is your thing, you need to read this book. But even if it’s not and you’re just curious about the world, you will enjoy this book as well. I recommend this for everyone who has the ability to think. I’d nearly go as far by saying that this is essential reading. Stephen Hawking contributed greatly to science and has inspired many in his life. His legacy will live on forever, his contribution to Earth and the Universe and especially to Black Holes are in-erasable. What a mind and we must be grateful he defied all odds and lived for as long as he did. But no one is more grateful for that than Stephen Hawking himself and if anything, it’s that what shines through the entire book. An absolute must-read.