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Why Does the World Exist?: One Man's Quest for the Big Answer

Why Does the World Exist?: One Man's Quest for the Big Answer

Paperback

By (author) Jim Holt

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  • Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 129mm x 198mm x 20mm | 269g
  • Publication date: 13 June 2013
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1846682452
  • ISBN 13: 9781846682452
  • Sales rank: 46,542

Product description

'Why is there a world rather than nothing at all?' remains the most curious and most enduring of all metaphysical mysteries. Moving away from the narrower paths of Christopher Hitchens, Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking, the celebrated essayist Jim Holt now enters this fascinating debate with his broad, lively and deeply informed narrative that traces all our efforts to grasp the origins of the universe. With sly humour and a highly original personal approach Holt takes on the role of cosmological detective. Suggesting that we might have been too narrow in limiting our suspects to God and the Big Bang, he tracks down, among others, an eccentric Oxford philosopher, a Nobel Laureate physicist, a French Buddhist monk, and John Updike just before he died, to pursue this cosmic puzzle from every angle. As he pieces together a solution - while offering useful insights into time, consciousness, and eternity - he sheds fascinating new light on the meaning of existence. A New York Times bestseller on first publication, this new paperback edition provides a much-needed new take on history's greatest conundrum, in the vein of previous bestsellers like Michael Brooks' 13 Things that Don't Make Sense.

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Author information

Jim Holt is a prominent essayist and critic on philosophy, mathematics, and science. He is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review, New York Review of Books and Prospect magazine. He lives in New York City. He is the author of Stop Me If You've Heard This [9781846681097] also published by Profile.

Review quote

Why Does The Word Exist? is more fun than a book this serious has any right to be. Holt has written a metaphysical page-turner and a triumph of intellectual liveliness. -- Rebecca Goldstein, author of 36 Arguments for the Existence of God There is no more entertaining, sure-footed, and witty guide to the big questions that we must all ponder than Jim Holt. Join him Daily Beast Praise for Stop Me If You've Heard This: 'Sweet, witty and intelligent ... I only wish that, unlike a good joke, it was longer. -- William Leith Guardian If Jim Holt's deft and consuming "Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story" has anything to tell us, it's that such a comment is less about literary riffing than deep philosophy. LA Times Holt brings both complexity and clarity to his subject ... it does what real science writing should: It helps us feel the fullness of the problem. Vulture There is no more entertaining, sure-footed, and witty guide to the big questions that we must all ponder than Jim Holt. Join him. The Daily Beast It's philosophy of a high level, pursued in an unusual and personal manner, and it's a pleasure to follow along with the author as he tells a fascinating and thought-provoking story. -- Peter Woit, Department of Mathamatics, Columbia Humorous yet deeply profound New Scientist There's no denying the pleasures to be had from tagging along as Holt soars away into the heavens of our cosmic enigmas ... a wonderful book Daily Express An elegant and witty writer...I can imagine few more enjoyable ways of thinking than to read this book -- Sarah Bakewell, author of How to Live What is special about Why Does the World Exist? is that Holt and the experts he talks to apply humour, good sense and a dose of incredulity and wonder to the problem Independent An eclectic mix of theology, cutting-edge science (of the cosmological and particle-physics variety) and extremely abstract philosophising, rendered (mostly) accessible by Mr Holt's facility with analogies and clear, witty language Economist