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

August 14, 2022

Details from Audible:

Publisher's Summary

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 digestible chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day. While waiting for your morning coffee to brew, or while waiting for the bus, the train, or the 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.

©2017 Neil DeGrasse Tyson (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook


Initial Thoughts:

I'm not a scientist, I thought that was worth pointing out right away. I've always loved science fiction and as I get older I can appreciate/marvel/have an interest in science, technology, and new discoveries. I know who Neil deGrasse Tyson is of course (brilliant person!) and the length (short at just over 3 hours) and rating of this book convinced me to give it a try. And of course, I'm doing the Libby thing so I find myself listening to books that I wouldn't normally listen to, which is a good thing!

Main Points:

I'll get the negative out of the way (as there isn't much), while Dr. Tyson does his best to use terms for the laymen, there are lots of times where his scientific explanations are quite technical and I got lost. I think the point of the book is to get people excited/interested in science and all of the amazing discoveries that have been made and are yet to come. 

I think the other major goal of this book is to show how important it is to not get caught up in all of the human bullshit/issues/problems that surround us (not making light of more serious issues) but ultimately focus hard on solving them and letting us achieve our full potential of space exploration and colonization. We were never meant to just stay on Earth and if books like this can inspire scientists/engineers/businesspeople/dreamers to get us into space sooner, then I'm all for it! In terms of production, he has a nice voice and does a good job narrating. I always like to hear an author read their own work.

Final Thoughts:

In the last chapter, Tyson gives his reflections on the state of the world and he recognizes that until we can solve many of our problems (like lack of food for millions of people or threats of violence to millions more), focusing on science and space exploration will be a struggle and perhaps remain out of our grasp for years to come. The book does have some fun moments when he references Star Trek and talks about a scientific argument he had with someone at a coffee shop over whipped cream (spoiler alert, he won). I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who is curious about Astronomy, science, space, and the universe. It is a hopeful book that helps you imagine how amazing the universe is and how exciting it will be to explore and know. 7.5 out of 10 from me. For a change, I can say this is appropriate for children, though I would still say just due to the complex nature of the material ages 12+.