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Einstein's Dreams

Narrated by: Grover Gardner
Length: 2 hrs and 32 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
3.5 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Summary

A modern classic, Einstein's Dreams is a fictional collage of stories dreamed by Albert Einstein in 1905, when he worked in a patent office in Switzerland. As the defiant but sensitive young genius is creating his theory of relativity, a new conception of time, he imagines many possible worlds. In one, time is circular, and people are fated to repeat their triumphs and failures over and over. In another, there is a place where time stands still, visited by lovers and parents clinging to their children. In another, time is a nightingale, sometimes trapped by a bell jar.

Translated into 30 languages, Einstein's Dreams has inspired playwrights, dancers, musicians, and painters all over the world. In poetic vignettes it explores the connections between science and art, the process of creativity, and ultimately the fragility of human existence.

©1993 Alan Lightman (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A very interesting perspective on time

Makes you wonder about time and the outlook on your life when you take a step back and ponder on the short stories this book portrays. Make you ask what if. A great short listen!

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  • KC
  • 14-04-18

Exploring time - a surreal experience

This was an interesting and unusual experience that felt much like a dream itself - clever, absorb bit not always comfortable

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  • KalebEvan
  • 22-09-16

Inspirational

A story that brought about deep thoughts and new perspectives that I never would have thought of.

4 people found this helpful

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  • asher
  • 27-01-19

What is Time?

It is in every imagination and every vignette of this book. It is the thing we flow with and rebel against. It is the very thing that keeps us from understanding a loved one, a friend or foe. It is within us and beyond us.

3 people found this helpful

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  • SRoszell
  • 07-10-18

Heady, thought-provoking snippets

This rich, imaginative series of views on time and physics excites the mind. From "stickiness" to reversal, each short chapter gives the reader some abstract way to re-think or rearrange time. Who would think time could be so fluid? An easy, but powerful read.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Josh
  • 03-03-19

Mind opening but repetitive

This made me think through the aspects of what time means in our world and I enjoyed the parables and vignettes, just found them to be very repetitive. Narration on point by GG, as usual.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Starr
  • 03-03-20

Just shoot me!<br />

I read this for Book Club. Maybe someone in Book Club can tell me what it was about because I have NO idea. At least it's not too long.

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  • Becca
  • 23-02-20

One of my all-time favorites

I have the small hardcover print book, but was so concerned about "messing it up" that I purchased it again as an audiobook. My first ever audiobook purchase. Sure, it came on two cassette tapes and I didn't have my own tape player, but I was saving up my allowance to buy one and wanted to be ready to use it just as soon as I had my player in hand. (Which, in hi-tech fashion for the mid-1980s, was a dual cassette tape player and recorder, with radio, so I could actually record some of my favorite songs right from the radio - I was over the moon with joy!)

I've since lent that book out a couple times, but still protect it as best I can. It means a lot to me and was very instrumental in the way I developed my worldview, perceptions, and interests. I traveled to many countries and often found myself far more accepting of local customs and traditions than my travelmates, which I attribute in large part directly to the diverse scenarios contained in this thought-provoking book.

In short, I adore this book. I was spoiled by the cassette version of the audiobook, though. In the Audible version, I thing Mr. Harder does a wonderful job, and vaguely resembles the tone of Einstein's voice enough to be able to imagine it truly being Einstein musing over his remembered dreams. in all actuality, I think this is how it should have been all the while.

However, it's hard sometimes to hear a different voice reading something you have spent more than 30 years hearing another person read to you. The cassette version was performed by Michael York. Nowhere near Einstein's voice quality, and no effort to do character voices or anything. Just a straight reading of the book. As it was my first audiobook, I had no basis for comparison. I have close to 300 titles in my Audible library now, and actually spent a few years in the early 2000's as an audiobook technical editor myself, listening, editing out background noise, matching pitches and tones from different recording sessions, at times splicing together and inserting a missed word in the text, etc. With that in mind, I went and pulled out my cassette version of this book, only to find cassette #2 missing from the case. It's probably still in one of my cassette players, perhaps out in the garage somewhere. I have no idea what the condition of it will be if/ when it's found, and I haven't looked to see if that version is still available and in what format. So I got this Audible version, not realizing it was re-recorded by a different voice actor.

To be clear, I think Mr. Gardner does a wonderful job with this recording. The German is clear and as best I can tell (my grandmother was a German immigrant) accented/pronounced correctly and without hesitation or stumbles. The inflection is good, the pacing appropriate, and the interactions Einstein has with others (as well as those interactions within the dreams) are excellent. Had I heard this version first (or only), it would have been five stars across the board from me. Sadly, I have not been able in this first listen to overcome my expectation when I hit "play" of hearing Michael York telling me the take as he has for over 30 years now.

I will definitely be listening to this again, and I am certain I will enjoy it just as I have in this first listen. I'm sure it'll grow on me, and if I can just explain to myself that this is another storyteller reading me the same story (like if Grandpa were to read the bedtime story instead of Grandma), I have no doubt this version will join the York production at the top of my all-time favorites list.

Well done to all involved. It can be difficult to wrap one's mind around the conceptualization of time the way this book does, and to present it so clearly in the form of short stories and scenes does really bring the ideas to life. Alan Lightman is a phenomenal mind, author, and creative force.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough, no matter what format is your preference. Book, audiobook, Kindle book, whatever - get this book, listen to it slowly with breaks between scenes to really consider the variation of time just experienced, and continue on. I hope it broadens your horizons and shifts your perspectives as much as it has mine over the past few decades.

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  • Beth Miller
  • 03-11-19

Pretty Tedious

I expected this to be thought provoking. It was not. In fact, it was pretty tedious.

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  • C&4
  • 23-10-19

Just not engaging for me

Great reviews and recommendations from colleagues for this book. it just didn't resonate with me. the stories are too short and with no discussion of the meaning.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Forrest
  • 07-05-19

not my kind of book

I didn't enjoy this. If you like esoteric and quantum thoughts you might get something out of it.

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  • Roman
  • 24-01-16

Bore...

Droning repetitive hysterianically narrated story. Going into infinitesimal details of unimportant sceneries and events and emotions. Very disappointed. This covers it.

3 people found this helpful