Book Review: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Overall Impressions

I'm not an astrophysicist, and I'm also not especially in any type of hurry - but that doesn't mean I have the time on my hands to put in the sort of study that such a topic deserves. I'm also a man of science and appreciate that there's so much out there that I just don't know, but that we have people dedicating their lives to uncovering parts of it.

I can't say after reading this book that I could pass any sort of classes on the material. It's really just a big collection of facts that the author (presumably) finds interesting and assumes that others will too - and I have to say he was right. The book is just stuffed full of interesting things about the universe that would be hard to believe coming from anyone but a PhD in astrophysics, but I firmly believe that NDT would not lie about any of this - and he's quick to point out when we don't know something or when things were wrong in the past - so I'm going to take it all as fact.

I enjoyed it - and it was a very fast read.

The Good

It's short and to the point. I read it over the span of a few evenings before bed. There's really not much wasted material.

It sort of has the feel of a bunch of independent essays that they just smashed together into a book, but it worked. Take for example the chapter where he just kinda walks through a bunch of the periodic table of elements and runs off neat things about them. Where did that come from? But it didn't matter - because the whole book is that way and it's fine.

The Bad

I'm going to look for a few things to note here... well, the very last few pages were really not great and I could have done without them. It was almost like NDT felt that he needed to make some sort of moral point. More than anything, it didn't fit in.

I'm not saying to skip the last chapter - it's short and you got to the end so just wrap it up. But don't let it get in the way of the rest of the book.

Final Thoughts

I know NDT got into some trouble lately for some things he allegedly did to some unwilling ladies, and maybe it's not cool to say anything positive about him now - but he didn't do anything bad to me and I haven't heard of any sort of trial were he was found guilty - but even if he had if I liked this book, whether or not the author was guilty of sexual assault or not wouldn't change the content of the book.

Case in point: I really enjoyed reading Battlefield Earth and at the time I had no idea it was written by the founder of the Scientology religion. That guy's nuts... But I liked his book!

I dunno, maybe I'm missing something there. Is it wrong to judge things like this in a vacuum?

Anyways, 4 out of 5. It was really pretty good. Maybe I'll even re-read it in 10 years. For now, on the shelf it goes and maybe someone will see it someday and I can tell them about it fondly.