The Big Picture

By Sean Carroll,

Book cover of The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself

Book description

'Fascinating' - Brian Cox, Mail on Sunday Books of the Year

Where are we? Who are we? Do our beliefs, hopes and dreams hold any significance out there in the void? Can human purpose and meaning ever fit into a scientific worldview?

Award-winning author Sean Carroll brings his extraordinary intellect…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked The Big Picture as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This is both a popular physics and philosophy book explaining at great length physics’ answer to life, meaning, and the Universe.

I like his clear account of the fundamental laws of nature, emergent theories and levels of reality, their implications and how we can talk about the Universe from the big bang to human experience, consciousness and meaning, without resorting to any mystical agents. 

A cosmologist and particle physicist, Carroll shows us how starting from physics, everything else—including everything that matters to people, emerge through a small number of natural processes. Having paid his dues in basic physical science, Carrol provides an accessible pathway from the fundamental level of reality all the way to human values. No mystery mongering, and a Darwinian finish of course! 

From Alex's list on for getting a grip on our reality.

In The Big Picture, Carroll, a Caltech physicist, tries to make sense of life, the universe, and everything. Few thinkers are able to cast as wide a net as Carroll – and to do so as effectively as he does in this engrossing book. At the bottom of our understanding of the universe is quantum mechanics, perhaps the most astonishing theory ever devised my humankind. On top of that rests everything else, including time, space, and – somehow – conscious minds. It’s a grand story, told by one of today’s most eloquent storyteller-scientists.

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