Top positive review
An Essential Read
Reviewed in the United States on February 18, 2020
It is not typical for me to purchase the latest science book. But the New York Times review (“…a love letter to the ephemeral cosmic moment when everything is possible…”) caught my attention. Now, having been unable to put the book down, I can say it is thoroughly thrilling and not to be missed. There is a great deal of science covered, but I would not even categorize this as a science book. Greene has come forward with a deeply felt (and deeply moving) meditation on the human condition and has placed this meditation within the ultimate cosmic setting—the development of the universe starting at the big bang and reaching all the way out to timescales of the extremely far future. Developing two overarching themes in which evolution tends to create order while entropy tends to degrade it, the book explores the origin of life, the mysteries of consciousness, the puzzles of free will, the nature of religious experience, the prevalence of creative expression, and inevitable disintegration of everything. Heavy stuff for sure, but Greene’s lyrical writing lightens the load, and his interjection of personal moments adds a human quality that transforms the journey into personal reflection that, at one and the same moment, has a universal appeal. The concepts are not watered down so various sections require focused attention, but Greene holds your hand the whole way, acting as a generous guide to some of the most heady of ideas. I will be thinking about these ideas for a long time to come.