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Extended Audio Sample The Grand Design Audiobook, by Stephen Hawking Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.00013189132155 out of 53.00013189132155 out of 53.00013189132155 out of 53.00013189132155 out of 53.00013189132155 out of 5 3.00 (15,164 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow Narrator: Steve West Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2010 ISBN: 9781415966624
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When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the nature of reality? Why are the laws of nature so finely tuned as to allow for the existence of beings like ourselves? And, finally, is the apparent “grand design” of our universe evidence of a benevolent creator who set things in motion—or does science offer another explanation?

The most fundamental questions about the origins of the universe and of life itself, once the province of philosophy, now occupy the territory where scientists, philosophers, and theologians meet—if only to disagree. In their new book, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow present the most recent scientific thinking about the mysteries of the universe, in nontechnical language marked by both brilliance and simplicity.

In The Grand Design they explain that according to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence or history, but rather that every possible history of the universe exists simultaneously. When applied to the universe as a whole, this idea calls into question the very notion of cause and effect. But the “top-down” approach to cosmology that Hawking and Mlodinow describe would say that the fact that the past takes no definite form means that we create history by observing it, rather than that history creates us. The authors further explain that we ourselves are the product of quantum fluctuations in the very early universe, and show how quantum theory predicts the “multiverse”—the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature.

Along the way Hawking and Mlodinow question the conventional concept of reality, posing a “model-dependent” theory of reality as the best we can hope to find. And they conclude with a riveting assessment of M-theory, an explanation of the laws governing us and our universe that is currently the only viable candidate for a complete “theory of everything.” If confirmed, they write, it will be the unified theory that Einstein was looking for, and the ultimate triumph of human reason.

A succinct, startling, and lavishly illustrated guide to discoveries that are altering our understanding and threatening some of our most cherished belief systems, The Grand Design is a book that will inform—and provoke—like no other.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • The authors bring together an anecdotal clarity that is something of a first for the genre. . . . Making science like this interesting is not all that hard; making it accessible is the real trick, one that The Grand Design pulls off. Time
  • In this short and sprightly book, Messrs. Hawking and Mlodinow take the reader through a whirlwind tour of fundamental physics and cosmology. The Wall Street Journal
     
  • Fascinating . . . a wealth of ideas [that] leave us with a clearer understanding of modern physics in all its invigorating complexity. Los Angeles Times
     
  • Groundbreaking. The Washington Post
  • Amazon Top 10 Book
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • A New York Times Notable Book

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeanne | 2/13/2014

    " Not a lot new in this one. I come away from this book with the question: Will our theories continue to improve? It also reminds me that all we have are theories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mandana | 2/8/2014

    " Hawking ve Mlodinow, olabildigince basitlestirilmis bir dille evren, kuantum teorisi, gorelilik kuramlari ve benzeri konulari, bilimsel gercekler ve inanclari cok da karsi karsiya getirmeden, tabiri caiz ise kibarca anlatiyorlar. Kitabin hosuma gitmeyen tek yani, okuyucunun ilgisini canli tutmak amaciyla sayfalar arasina serpistirilmis tatsiz karikaturler. Kitap biraz okuyucuyu gucendirmek, yabancilastirmak ve sikmak endiselerini tasiyor olsa da, kolay okunan ve benzer kitaplara kiyasla kolay anlasilan bir usluba sahip. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bryce Holt | 2/1/2014

    " Man, I can't believe I'm sitting here and saying to myself, "I expected more out of Stephen Hawking." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 hoAAah | 1/29/2014

    " saya pikir buku ini tidak seperti gaya tulisan hawking yang biasa saya baca, dimana opini2 yg diberikan dalam buku ini kurang frontal dan setengah2... tidak ada ilmu yang benar2 utuh memilih seperti tulisan hawking sebelumnya... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vahe Andonians | 1/29/2014

    " Great book! Summarizing using the best quote from the book - Philosophy is dead. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emmanuel Aroge | 1/22/2014

    " Good book. All concepts talked about were understandable. Most of it made sense to a non physicist like me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Pat | 1/17/2014

    " Way above my scientifically challenged head. I have no idea what to think of this book other than the general suspicion that the authors are simply replacing one faith (God) for another (materialism). Wake me up when this theory gets some legs and has been empirically tested. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tom Cummings | 1/11/2014

    " Great book as an introduction to modern work in physics. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mrspetev | 10/12/2013

    " Intriguing physical analysis of scientific theories to dispel the need for a Godlike being to explain the ultimate question of "Why are we here, and where did our universe come from?". Hawking breaks down complex cosmic quantum theories very well with simple examples. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anand | 10/3/2013

    " Instead of clarity the new science book is leading us to the vagueness and uncertainties of the complicated reality. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mohammed Alsoufi | 10/1/2013

    " it looks easy but it's not. at least for me, the ideas are clear but there are some complicated details which could be understood in a second reading but hey it's not bad to read it once for a non specialist. I still like the " A briefer history of time" more than this though they are not the same. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deborah Grady | 9/1/2013

    " While I enjoyed the book and recommend it, I don't think it was able to provide enough scientific data to support their current theories. Made dry physics and math actually readable and understandable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ducson | 5/3/2013

    " Nice layperson's introduction to quantum physics and why the universe is the way it is. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erin Duffy | 7/1/2012

    " Very interesting and easy to understand. Great explanations. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gus | 6/30/2012

    " A decent read, but I was hoping for a bit more revelation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Greg | 1/19/2012

    " Stephen Hawking is some kind of new age hippy who thinks the past doesn't exist till you measure it, and the entire universe popped into existence from nothing. pfft...science. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Juan Rocha | 12/2/2011

    " harder to read but is really nice ... love you book you teach me a lot... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cam | 11/22/2011

    " Not nearly as good as brief history of time. No surprise, given the mind-bending nature of quantum physics, i suppose, but still not particularly enjoyable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kj | 5/23/2011

    " This is surprisingly accessible. Thanks for the pictures! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tony61 | 5/9/2011

    " Lots of good physics, well-written and will make your brain hurt. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom-kenneth | 5/8/2011

    " Preferred A Brief History Of Time, but a nice update. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jason | 5/4/2011

    " Brian Greene's books are better. I still love you Stephen! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jonathan | 4/24/2011

    " The books interesting but difficult to keep up with. Theirs a lot of concepts that are over explained but overall its a good book "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Outofmyarse | 4/24/2011

    " I love Stephen Hawking books. Although I felt that 'A Brief History In Time' was better - this is almost it's equal "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anand | 4/19/2011

    " Instead of clarity the new science book is leading us to the vagueness and uncertainties of the complicated reality. "

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About the Author
Author Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking is and English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author. His ability to make science understandable and compelling was established with his first book, A Brief History of Time, which has sold nearly ten million copies all over the world. Hugely influential in his field, he has authored or participated in the creation of countless other popular science books, including The Universe in a Nutshell, A Briefer History of Time, On the Shoulders of Giants, and George’s Secret Key to the Universe. He is the current director of research at the Institute for Theoretical Cosmology at Cambridge.

About the Narrator

Steve West, the winner of ten Audiofile Earphones Awards for narration, is an actor of international standing. He is known for his appearances on London’s West End Stage in Mamma Mia!, contemporary plays, and Shakespearean classics. He has appeared in Hollywood movies and on television screens in the United States and the United Kingdom and performed for Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. His work has also been screened at the Cannes International Film Festival.