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Brief Answers to the Big Questions

Length: 4 hrs and 52 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (1,727 ratings)

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Summary

Read by Ben Whishaw and Garrick Hagon, with an afterword read by Lucy Hawking.  

The world-famous cosmologist and number one best-selling author of A Brief History of Time leaves us with his final thoughts on the universe's biggest questions in this brilliant posthumous work.

How did the universe begin? Will humanity survive on Earth? Is there intelligent life beyond our solar system? Could artificial intelligence ever outsmart us?

Throughout his extraordinary career, Stephen Hawking expanded our understanding of the universe and unravelled some of its greatest mysteries. But even as his theoretical work on black holes, imaginary time and multiple histories took his mind to the furthest reaches of space, Hawking always believed that science could also be used to fix the problems on our planet.

And now, as we face potentially catastrophic changes here on Earth - from climate change to dwindling natural resources to the threat of artificial superintelligence - Stephen Hawking turns his attention to the most urgent issues for humankind.

Wide-ranging, intellectually stimulating, passionately argued and infused with his characteristic humour, Brief Answers to the Big Questions, the final book from one of the greatest minds in history, is a personal view on the challenges we face as a human race and where we, as a planet, are heading next.

©2018 Stephen Hawking (P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

What listeners say about Brief Answers to the Big Questions

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Science for the masses

I won't pretend I understood the content in this Audiobook, I'm a truck driver not a scientist, but I did feel as though I got the gist of what was being presented; and Mr Hawkins' way of discussing the God v Science debate is particularly comforting and helped me to realign my own beliefs. Mr Hawkins' optomism is contagious, combined with his humour, you may find this book uplifting as well as educational. A throughly recommended goodread/listen.

17 people found this helpful

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Look up to the stars, not down at your feet.

Stephen Hawking was such a wonderful populariser of physics and cosmology, with a knack for explaining the most complicated science in such a way that even a layman like myself could begin to understand it. He was also a voice of reason in a world that often seems lacking in that quality. This book covers a variety of questions Hawking has been asked, or addressed over the years - is there a God? What came before the big bang? Might AI develop a will of its own and become a threat to mankind? How did life begin? His answers are at once both challenging and informative. At just under five hours this is quite brief, but also fantastically enjoyable - I listened to the whole thing in a single day. I especially enjoyed the brief sections in Professor Hawking's own familiar, assisted, voice. Ben Whishaw was also excellent reading the main text. "Remember to look up at the stars not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder what makes the universe exist. Be curious". - Stephen Hawking (1942 - 2018)

16 people found this helpful

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Awesome

Awesome and inspiring! Loved listening to the opinions and thoughts of a great mind. A must listen!

7 people found this helpful

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One to read before you die

An incredible book by an incredible man, Stephen Hawking goes out with an incredible read. Complex issues told in an easy way. An amazing look into the forecast for the future.

5 people found this helpful

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Missed opportunity, but great content.

The negatives first: Content—there is a fair degree of repetition both of concepts discussed in other books by Hawking and within this book itself. It’s probably unavoidable for an understanding of where Professor Hawking was taking us but the internal repetitions are an editing issue. Not sufficient to detract from the overall whole. Performances—to each their own, but the narrator’s voice and diction was irritating. He sounds, to my ear, nervous or unsure of what he is saying. Contrast that with Michael York’s excellent narration on ‘The Theory of Everything’. But there are tantalising sections where Professor Hawking’s voice is heard (the digitised voice he so confidently owned). I would far rather have listened to the whole book hearing his words in his voice. A missed opportunity... The positives: A fascinating insight into the wide ranging thoughts of one of the greatest minds of human history. Hawking is both self-deprecating in his humour and brilliant in his ability to take the great complexities of modern physics and make them digestible. His opinion on our current problems and the future rather precarious path laid before us as a species is both insightful and wise. His words of caution to be ignored at our peril.

4 people found this helpful

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A beautiful book written by one most beautiful mind

I never read a book of Stephen Hawking before as I thought that his theories might be quite difficult to understand by a person without scientific background. Surprisingly he made everything clear, interesting and touching to read. It’s a book about physics, and about life; Stephen Hawking’s intelligent, optimistic, brave life, and what he expected human beings would enjoy. Beautifully read by Ben Whishaw with a clean and tender voice. Worth listening for everyone, interested or not in Theoretical Physics. The book will make one feel that life is a bonus.

8 people found this helpful

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Wonderful. Profound. Human

Yes, Stephen Hawking certainly made a contribution and brings perspective to our human challenges. Wonderful, thought provoking and generous

2 people found this helpful

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What to say?

There is really no reason why you shouldn’t get this audible book, it is a beautiful last piece of work. The world is a lesser place without Stephen Hawking. Just get the book.

4 people found this helpful

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Holiday read

My first audio book and I found it an enjoyable experience. I got through it a lot quicker than I would have a paper copy. Mr Hawkings is such an inspirational man and like those living in the lifetime of Einstein I feel privileged to have been alive while he was among us. Great read.

1 person found this helpful

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Byte size introductions to massive topics

An easy and entertaining introduction various contemporary scientific topics that can stimulate listeners to explore further into their topics elsewhere.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Kunde
  • 08-05-19

Loved it. It's inspiring. Follows current beliefs.

Loved it. I thinks this is a must read for adolescents and anyone who aspires some common good sense.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Son of Thor's whimper
  • 29-03-19

Last helping hand

Over the years Stephen Hawkings books have accompanies me on travels or as in this case on long walks. The subject matters were invariably difficult and at times daunting. In this book its the same, but more so. The bigest questions possible and still more than worthwhile. It is impressive to hear how well thought through and clearly stated Prof. Hawkings manages to argue and develop his answers to the questions. The relative brevity in answering the questions, in about half an hour a question, suggests a long preparation in making the case simply, and it makes the book digestible also for an average reader. A realy enjoyable and worthwhile listening and with a sad note, this being the last helping hand Stephen Hawking could give. It is a big help.

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  • Felipe Gordillo Corvalán
  • 07-12-18

interesting but not deep enough

it goes through many ideas without to deep in any... that felt odd, I wish it was longer...

2 people found this helpful

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  • Daniele
  • 31-07-20

Good book covering a lot of topics

Many theories presented are just repetitions on things already written by SH in previous books. Good audible

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  • Anna Vasyuk
  • 25-05-20

Marathoned in one sitting

I'm just really glad I get to be alive at this particular time when I get to learn about the universe from Hawking and people like him. I love this stuff, and this book is written accessibly enough that even I don't have trouble understanding the material (which I would in a school setting). It's inspirational, calming, and existential crisis-worthy at the same time. Wonderful all around.

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  • Aleksandra
  • 23-05-20

An amazing book. Worth every minute of listening

It takes genius to explain a complicated subject in such a simple way. I didn't even know it will spark so much interest in me in cosmology and our universe. Totally recommend 👌

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-02-20

Good teaser but not enough depth for me

It''s a nicely written book but really just a teaser. Great if this is the first book about scientific topics you are reading but otherwise it doesn't provide enough meet on the bone.

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  • John Zoetebier
  • 28-11-19

Very interesting and sometimes emotional book

Loved to hear the opinions of one of the brightest minds of our times. The historical context of some theories is interesting as well.

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  • Santiago Tacoronte
  • 17-06-19

interesting and pragmatic view of life questiond

I liked how the author aboard some of the most deep questions in our existence with a very prag matic and scientific view

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  • Bertrand Gongne
  • 29-05-19

Warm and hopefull

Great book by great man, full of optimism and hunger of knowledge. Will be missed by many. Thank you!