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Summary

'This witty book reveals the humbling vastness of our ignorance about the universe, along with charming insights into what we actually do understand.' (Carlo Rovelli, author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and Reality Is Not What It Seems)

Many books explain what we know about the universe. This one, from the hugely popular PhD Comics (50 million readers since 2008), tackles all the weird stuff we haven't figured out yet.

In our small corner of the universe, we know how some matter behaves most of the time and what even less of it looks like, and we have some good guesses about where it all came from. But we really have no clue what's going on.

In fact we don't know what about 95 percent of the universe is made of. So what happens when a cartoonist and a physicist walk into this strange, mostly unknown universe? Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson gleefully explore the biggest unknowns, why these things are still mysteries, and what a lot of smart people are doing to figure out the answers (or at least ask the right questions). While they're at it, they helpfully demystify many complicated things we do know about, from quarks and neutrinos to gravitational waves and exploding black holes.

With equal doses of humour and delight, they invite us to see the universe as a vast expanse of mostly uncharted territory that's still ours to explore. This is a book for fans of Brian Cox and What If.

©2017 Daniel Whiteson (P)2017 Penguin Random House Audio

What listeners say about We Have No Idea

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A good book let down by an inappropriate reading

I very much enjoyed the content of the book, and I think I would have enjoyed the humour had it been delivered well. Sadly, it wasn’t. This is even more sad when considering that the narrator is one of the book’s authors, but that ownership of the text did not translate into an engaging performance with better comedic delivery and more clear scientific excitement.

I would have loved to hear this performed by someone lik e.g. Dara O’Brian, preferably without the completely unnecessary and rather grating sound effects.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Childish puns and awful sound effects

The puns are so frequent that they make this unbearable to listen to. The sound effects are awful and add nothing. The content is not engaging. The are better books on the subject.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A 'must listen' title

Engaging, passionate narration that makes complex concepts accessible to everyone. Who would have thought that a book which answers significantly less questions than it asks could be so fascinating and entertaining? Garth Marenghi take note! Lose the awful sound effects and it's five stars across the board.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Ruined by silly and pointless sound effects

Generally okay as far as the material and narrator goes. Unfortunately, the book conveyed the feeling that I was being spoken down to. I've read many similar titles that have successfully managed to convey complex ideas without making me feel that the author had little faith in my intelligence and needed to humour me with dumb sound effects and dodgy jokes. I may be being unfair and I may simply be at odds with the style of these particular authors but for me this book missed the mark.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Fun science!

I actually listened to this a few weeks ago now, so don't remember loads of details . A fun listen and I'm sure I learned (or was reminded of) loads of cool stuff.
The authors tried hard to give the audiobook a distinct feel, lots of sound effects etc., presumably to compensate for the lack of the cartoons to be found in the printed edition. To be honest I found these occasionally a bit jarring but I appreciated the effort.
Overall I think one can never learn too much Physics, so a recommended listen.

3 people found this helpful

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Just awesome ride through the history of science.

it's all about asking the right questions, probing and testing the Universe around us. I hope this journey never ends.

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great read even with the lackluster wit.

love the content, not so much the wit which they did pull of so well.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Not funny.

Who is this aimed at? A four year old curious about dark matter?
Good when it gets serious, making it even more annoying when you have to listen to a fart joke or an obnoxious sound effect. Who wants to hear a crying baby or eating noise halfway through a book?
The jokes are terrible. Not cheesy, not tongue in cheek, not so bad they're good, just bad. I love stupid jokes. These are not jokes. It's just saying "llama" a lot. It's genuinely hard to get through this otherwise well- and accessibly-written book.
The authors should stick to their strengths, and if they want jokes they need to add someone to the team who knows what they're doing.

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Great book, definitely worth listening

More puns than I expected but surprisingly it made it easier to remember and understand the message. Also, I learned more by learning what we don’t know than the details of what we know. Overall was a great book.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Hugely informative and entertaining

This is a great book that makes complex matters understandable for ordinary people. Highly recommended