Author: Carl Sagan
Category: Non-fiction, Science
10-Word Summary: We can understand the Universe only if we study it.
Cosmos is a book about the Universe. It aims to help us understand the vast and complex world we live in. In this book, Sagan tells us about the way the Universe appeared and evolved, how the human species evolved and what we may achieve in the future.
I think that Sagan wrote a wonderful book that covers many topics in an interesting way. In this book we learn about the stars in the sky, the cells in our bodies and the data in our brains. He manages to share so much without making us feel overwhelmed. I think that everyone should read this book and ponder on our common history and our responsibility to protect life on Earth and, maybe, to take it to other places in the Universe.
What I like about Cosmos
1. It is a book about the Universe
Few authors dared to attempt to write a book about the Universe. And even fewer succeeded in this task. Well, I think that Carl Sagan did a brilliant job! This books tells us a few things about all major things that exist in our world: from atoms to galaxies and everything in between.
I also think that anyone who reads this book will probably see the world in a different light afterwards – from a unified and universal perspective. And in a world that is more and more divided by traditions and orders that only exist in our minds, we need to learn how to look at things from a cosmic point of view more than ever.
2. It is multi-disciplinary
I was amazed by how well Sagan managed to draw on many fields to write a book that makes sense. He talks about topics from astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, history, religion, politics and economy. And even though he references so many fields of knowledge, he manages to write a book that can be understood by anyone.
3. It made me realize how amazing our Universe is
Reading this book left me speechless a few times. It made me marvel at how our Universe works and it reminded me that real life can be stranger than fiction. For example, did you know that: Gravity can affect even light? Or that gravity affects time? If you put a precise clock on an airplane, the time on that clock will be different than the time on a clock that is on the ground. These are just a few examples of the phenomena that left me puzzled.
I loved reading this book because it opened my eyes to how wonderful the Universe is and it made me fall in love with it all over again!
4. The way Carl Sagan used to think
Sometimes I read a book and I fall in love with the way the author thinks. This happened with Cosmos too. While I was reading it, I realized that Carl Sagan was a deep thinker – the type that seems to be in a league of his own. He had the mind of a true scientist who was in search of the truth. He did not want to let dogma cloud his judgement and he knew that sometimes the truth does not correspond with our beliefs or expectations.
As I am also passionate about thinking accurately and discovering the truth, I was very happy to read Sagan’s book. I am so glad he wrote books and passed his knowledge on to us. I honestly wish he would still be alive today. I wonder what he would say about the way humanity evolved in the last two decades.
What I don’t like about Cosmos
1. It’s hard to assimilate the information in the book
As I already said, Cosmos is a book that references a lot of information from different fields. While reading it, I got the feeling that I was learning many new things. It definitely helps that the book was written in simple language.
But, to be honest, I feel like I haven’t actually learned a lot. I would have a hard time sharing a cohesive story about anything in the book. The only thing I remember are some random facts.
I wonder why I feel like I have learned little from this book. And I think it could be because there was too much information to assimilate after only reading it once. Another possibility is that the book was so well-written and easy to understand that it gave me the illusion of knowledge. But, as we all know, it is far easier to understand something you are reading than it is to be able to reproduce and explain it yourself.
However, even if you read this book and fail to remember anything from it, it is still worth reading. There is a chance that this book will have a positive impact on the way you think about yourself, on the hope you feel about the future or on your curiosity about the Universe.
Cosmos by Carl Sagan is one of those books that everyone should read. It is a crash course of cosmic history that has the power to change your personal philosophy. It will make you cherish life much more. It will make you dream of the moment we will set out to colonize the Universe. And it will make you appreciate your own life more.
I also recommend watching the new series Cosmos with Neil de Grasse Tyson. It is partly based on this book and on the first TV series Cosmos with Carl Sagan. However, even though the content of the book and the series overlap, they are not identical. So even if you watch the series, I also recommend reading Sagan’s book.
Have you read Cosmos? If you have, what did you think about it?