One of my bookish resolutions for the last year was to read more non-fiction books, and since I’m a science girl, I mainly thought of authors like Isaac Asimov or Stephen Hawking, who have done a great job by explaining science concepts to the general public. I saw this autobiography of the latter on Netgalley and I thought that it would be a great chance to get to know him better.
In My brief History, Hawking tells us the story of his life from the very beginning, since he was a little boy, and ends up explaining briefly – everything in this book is brief – how he came to the conclusions and equations of the physics of the Universe. He also talks about his books and his illness, which I thought he suffered from when he was a kid, but in fact it was developed when he was twenty-something, and how his personal life was affected since then, but curiously not his professional life.
What I liked most is how he explains the way scientists work and science is carried out. People like to imagine a crazy old man who spends his entire life alone in a laboratory until something is discovered, more or less by chance; but reality is quite different. Hawking says something in the book like “I had an eureka moment and then I spent X years working with these colleagues until we got to know the theory of the black holes”, so everybody can notice thanks to this book that you actually need to work very hard, and usually with a group of people, and also that science doesn’t happen by chance; sometimes that eureka moment came just by asking yourself the right question.
I recommend this book to those who are interested in science and how it is developed, as well as to the readers who want to know more about Stephen Hawking, of course. The book is very short; he could have talked longer about his work and his illness, but it’s a summary and he actually covers all the aspects of his life that we are curious about.
PS: I don’t want to rate non-fiction books, for the moment.