While Neil DeGrasse Tyson may have written this book for people in a hurry, it’s not meant to be read in a hurry. In fact, I read it twice in a row, because I thought I read it too fast the first time to get a good grasp.
That said, this book doesn’t disappoint as a quick introduction into the field of astrophysics. You won’t be able to go out and get a job as an astrophysicist after reading it, but you will know some of the history and the science behind it.
Tyson writes in a fun and easy to understand way, making science seem much less intimidating that it’s otherwise presented. And, authors always earn brownie points from me when they throw in appropriate but snarky comments, so the book is extra good because of those.
Tyson presents basically a consice history of the field of astrophysics, using the framework to explain how science has reached its conclusions for various things, such as the Big Bang, dark matter and dark energy. He also explains how these things interact with gravity to influence stars, planets, galaxies, and possibly even our universe itself. In this book you’ll also find plenty of particles, elements, various kinds of light waves and some references to aliens (but nothing outlandish, this isn’t science fiction).
I’ll admit, a few times as I was reading, I came across passages that I felt could have used some better transitions And information that, though interesting, didn’t quite seem to belong where it was, but sometimes that is personal preference.
On the whole, Tyson’s book, I believe, does what he wanted it to, per his introduction: give you a basic understanding of the field, and leave you hungry for more.
So whether you’re in school, out of school, busy or bored, if you’ve ever looked up at the sky and wondered, this book is for you.