I just finished A Briefer History of Time, by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow. It’s a 2005 revisit of the famous A Brief History of Time. In it, Hawking briefly explains things like black holes, quantum physics, string theory, and the origin of the universe, in terms anyone could understand. And I do mean anyone.
I can understand how a book written in 1988 could need an update, but I’m not entirely sure why it needed to be made more accessible. Over 9 million people bought the first book, so clearly the public thought it was accessible enough.
I never read the original (I’ve been meaning to forever, but I just never got around to it); as such, I’m not sure exactly how simplistic it presented things, but I really hope it wasn’t nearly as bad as this one. I’ve never been a big fan of the lie-to-children approach to education past middle school, and that’s exactly the approach the book takes.
Yes, relativity and quantum physics are difficult subjects, and small steps are required to explain them to laypersons, but ye gods, there is such a thing as too much.
Having said that, it’s a great introductory book to physics for children in 7th or 8th grade, but I was really disappointed by the fact that Hawking doesn’t even hint at some of the controversies that made him infamous, such as the black hole information paradox.
Still, even as an adult, if it’s been a few decades since you’ve had Physics, and you’ve forgotten all about Einstein, and you want to relearn but aren’t willing to think at all, it should be a pretty good read. I’d still recommend the original, though.