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Brief Answers to the Big Questions

Narrated by: Ben Whishaw
Length: 4 hrs and 51 mins
5 out of 5 stars (110 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Number-one New York Times best seller

The world-famous cosmologist and author of A Brief History of Time leaves us with his final thoughts on the biggest questions facing humankind.

"Hawking’s parting gift to humanity...a book every thinking person worried about humanity’s future should read." (NPR)

Named one of the best books of the year by The Guardian and Wired

Stephen Hawking was the most renowned scientist since Einstein, known both for his groundbreaking work in physics and cosmology and for his mischievous sense of humor. He educated millions of readers about the origins of the universe and the nature of black holes, and inspired millions more by defying a terrifying early prognosis of ALS, which originally gave him only two years to live. In later life he could communicate only by using a few facial muscles, but he continued to advance his field and serve as a revered voice on social and humanitarian issues.

Hawking not only unraveled some of the universe's greatest mysteries but also believed science plays a critical role in fixing problems here on Earth. Now, as we face immense challenges on our planet - including climate change, the threat of nuclear war, and the development of artificial intelligence - he turns his attention to the most urgent issues facing us. Will humanity survive? Should we colonize space? Does God exist?

These are just a few of the questions Hawking addresses in this wide-ranging, passionately argued final book from one of the greatest minds in history. Featuring a foreword by Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar playing Stephen Hawking, an introduction by Nobel Laureate Kip Thorne, and an afterword from Hawking's daughter, Lucy, Brief Answers to the Big Questions is a brilliant last message to the world.

Praise for Brief Answers to the Big Questions:

"[Hawking is] a symbol of the soaring power of the human mind." (The Washington Post)

"Hawking's final message to readers...is a hopeful one." (CNN)

"Brisk, lucid peeks into the future of science and of humanity." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Hawking pulls no punches on subjects like machines taking over, the biggest threat to Earth, and the possibilities of intelligent life in space." (Quartz)

"Effortlessly instructive, absorbing, up to the minute and - where it matters - witty." (The Guardian

"This beautiful little book is a fitting last twinkle from a new star in the firmament above." (The Telegraph

©2018 Stephen Hawking (P)2018 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"This beautiful little book is a fitting last twinkle from a new star in the firmament above.” (The Telegraph)

"It’s a book every thinking person worried about humanity’s future should read. . . . Hawking’s parting gift to humanity.” (NPR)  

“[Hawking is] a symbol of the soaring power of the human mind.” (The Washington Post)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Simply amazing

An unbelievable journey through time, space, and the mind that seemed to grasp both like no other. Hawking’s humour made me laugh, Lucy made me cry, and above all else, this book made me think. I could not help reflect on what is to come for humanity, and what my place in humanity is after having the universe explained by one of the greatest minds to ever grace the lucky little rock we all call home.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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We will not be the same without him.

Our world is better to have had him, greatful to have shared him, and lost now without him.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Brave Genius

Such great stories, and told in an accessible way by one of the great minds of our time.
My only complaint was that some of it was repetitive, but overall a wonderful book and we'll worth my time.

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Excellent Book

Like this title much more than "A Brief History of Time". Definitely on my list od books to listen to again.

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This book is fantastic.

I really enjoyed Stephen's insight on the big questions and also the introduction by Kip Thorne and the conclusion by Lucy Hawkins!

It was a truly remarkable book!

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brilliant man

everyone should read to get a glimpse of these science topics. he is really good at putting it in basic terms for non science experts to understand. can be quite detailed but ends with inspiring thoughts and scary predictions

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Not the greatest narrator

Narrator has an agitated tone. Most of the content too Star Treky for me, but no doubt Stephen was an intelligent human.

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The perfect audio book doesn't exi..

This is the perfect audio book.
Eloquently written chapters followed by the clever answers spoken my Hawking himself, this book is a masterpiece. Listening to it, I couldn't take my headphones out. The narrator was captivating, and the afterword at the end had me nearly in tears. I have recommended it to everyone that I've spoken to since. Breathtaking.

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Outstanding man, outstanding story.

I've never listened to so much wisdom and knowledge in my life. I'm feeling fascinated, inspired, frightened, and encouraged. Every human should listen to this... hopefully much earlier in life than myself. I'm 35. Much to do!!

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Book

Great work by a great mind. I disagree with his understanding of religion and it’s articulation in the book as the logical conclusion. But Mr. Hawking gave us so much knowledge that I will be indebted to his services to humanity.

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  • Kim & Tim
  • 2018-10-19

My heart - and mind - are both shattered.

One does not expect a book about physics to make one cry. and who else since Einstein could make one dare to think that they have understood something so complex but explained so clearly.
A world without Stephen Hawking is a much darker world indeed. But we are very fortunate that he has put so much of himself and his brilliant mind into writing for us.
You're with Einstein, Borlaug, Curie, Sagan, and Feynman now... which is to say, in the ground.

24 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • La Traviata
  • 2018-10-16

A wonderful, wonderful listening experience

Here's the thing. This is the first day this book is released, and I am right now half way listening on speakers. And I can't help listening. No, I never understood relativity theory and I don't think in this life I'm gonna be able to comprehend even the basics of it. But THIS book is none of those.

This book is so human to me, it's about those formidable nature's laws but it speaks to us so personally. Prof. Hawking, as usual, made his dry jokes about his grades, his thought of beginning of the universe and behind all that was his sharpness of curiosity and questioning. I laughed out when he said 'Okay so if god created the universe, then what was he doing before that? Creating hells for people who ask such questions?'.

Now, imagine a proud father teaches his daughter to walk for the first time. He wouldn't throw the mechanics calculations on her , would he (even though it's thanks to a balance on the result of those calculations that she could actually walk)?Instead, he just demonstrates the right way of walking and tells her where she could go, what she would see, and help her until she uses her legs to firstly stumble forward. Patiently he waits, until in the end she masters it. This is the pace in this book. Slow, loving and you could even feel proudness and gratitude. Professor Hawking took his time and made lucid explanation when he answered the eternally intriguing questions. You could picture him smiling, quoting from a vast list of great scientists to philosophers, and even Hamlet.

And it's not the clear but mechanical voice to lead us into one of the most beautiful minds in our age. This time, voicing him it was the soft-spoken, extremely graceful and loving Ben Whishaw, in whose voice would probably drown an Agentinosaurus. Someone please kidnap Whishaw and make him read all physics and mathematical textbooks. Please. I coud not think of a better choice for this. Listening to him feels like Prof. Stephen Hawking is still with us. So alive, so tender.

Hats off for everyone who made this book happen.

34 of 35 people found this review helpful

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  • R. Garbacz
  • 2018-10-17

A wonderful farewell to Mr Hawking

Not very heavy in complex scientific concepts, more an overview of what we know and what lies ahead. A refreshing, sober yet optimistic ethical guide to the future. A bright spark of Mr Hawking keeps shining through his legacy.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • lattetown
  • 2018-10-23

What a remarkable and insightful man

Three short hours of thoughts I find myself replaying over and over again. Stephen Harkins life was probably the most nobel in the history of science. We may never see anyone like him again.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Sarah Hayley
  • 2018-10-19

WHAT A LEGACY

This book will be read by our descendants for centuries or millennia to come. A beautiful summary of some of the enormous achievements in human understanding, the nature of reality, and the challenges that face our future. Everyone should read (or listen to) this book!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Clint Smith
  • 2018-10-18

A great listen

The questions are great, the answers are fascinating. loved that Hawking's voice was used at the end of each chapter.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Miguel A. Herrera
  • 2019-01-23

awesome, great perspective about how small we are

well narrated, fantastic perspective on how small we are but yet we hold the keys to our own future - humanity's future that is!. Clear and concise (brief) answers to science's biggest questions.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • DC
  • 2018-10-20

Delightful, insightful and inspirational!

What amazing contributions Stephen Hawking has given to humanity. Truly an honor to know you!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-08-09

Must Read

It's truly amazing how much brain power Stephen had. I'm very glad to have gained his perspective of the world through this book. I binged read/listened in one day.

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  • The OC Cyclist
  • 2019-08-08

fantastic

Candid answers to extremely complex questions. I love the simplicity and honesty in Mr. Hawking's answers to the big questions of our modern times. This book is truly a marvel that should be part of everyone's standard reading list. It offers a healthy dose of reason and optimism in an increasingly and alarmingly unreasonable world. Thank you.