Book Chats: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Today on Book Chats we’ll be discussing Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. The book in essence is exactly what the title proclaims. Each chapter covers a different aspect of astrophysics in an incredibly condensed and simplified way in order to make the information easily digestible for the average person. There is a qualification to who the “average person” is of course. Even though the information is broken down into relatively basic terms, in order to really follow long you will need to still have some recollection of the information you would (should) have learned in your high school science classes. I say that as someone who had incredibly great science teachers in high school at a school with high standards for our science courses, so I can’t speak to how those with a lesser quality education would be able to follow along.

Astrophysics is such a vast field of study that I find it quite ballsy for anyone to even think of tackling making it digestible for non-scientists. DeGrasse Tyson’s writing style makes you feel like you’re being talked to about the universe instead of talked at. He’s witty, integrating humor as a means to make you comfortable within these pages densely packed with scientific concepts.

The book works backwards from the formation of the universe, creation of critical elements, suns, galaxies, planets. You’re given just enough information about each topic to feel competent if the topic arrises during trivia, just enough of a taste to keep you from being overwhelmed. DeGrasse Tyson ends the book by bringing us back to Earth and taking a look at where we as humans fit into the huge picture of the universe.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was a super quick read; it would be great for the beach or a plane ride. I think the information is presented in a way that is accessible to most of the general population, though realistically you won’t be purchasing the book unless you have a interest in science anyway. If you are someone that finds the unknown anxiety inducing, I would probably avoid the book, but otherwise I found it to be a fun read.