I enjoyed reading this book. My only disappointment was that it wasn't longer and more in depth. Once I picked up this book, I couldn't put it down. That's usually a feeling I have more commonly with fiction. This may be partly because of I am personally fascinated by the universe, cosmology and physics, but more I think it is because of Hawking's excellent writing style. I love the way he inserts a subtle humor into his writing, not just in this book but in his previous ones also.
I realized this turned out to be an interesting pick when right at the beginning of the book the author's write that philosophy is dead. What do you make of that? I disagree in general, but I think the statement has some accuracy in describing why more laymen are interested in theoretical physics and science than philosophy in that the former is providing them with answers and especially more concrete answers than philosophy even for traditionally philosophical questions. Ironically, I think the author's disprove via demonstration their own assertion of the death of philosophy by being in part philosophical when writing their book. Indeed, I think philosophy takes what we learn from science and then expands on it -- contemplates it -- in ways science cannot.
What do you think of model-dependent realism as described by the authors? I think it is very useful for understanding the use and inherent limitations of science, thus creating the perfect philosophical framework in which to discuss and learn about the discoveries of science.
For those new to the ideas of either special relativity and quantum mechanics and the counter-intuitive facts they demonstrate such as time dilation (e.g. that you could theoretically go out on a spaceship at near the speed of light, come back to Earth and find everyone you knew died of old age while you have only aged a few years) and superposition, respectively, what do you think of that? This isn't my first time learning about these things, but I enjoyed the author's excellent explanations that make them easier to understand not only in terms of what the theories say but what the experiments showed and why they lead to the predictions of these theories. I am not expert, but I have a lot of skepticism about the uncertainty principle and the effect of observation in quantum mechanics--because I think think in public these are spun with specific interpretations of quantum mechanics as opposed to just the science itself. I wish the author's would have given more detail to explain the details of this, particularly since the authors seemed certain these were evidence of literal superposition and randomness rather than more traditional effects of interactive measurement.
What do you think of the author's comments on M-Theory? I think M-Thoery has a lot farther to go before it can be the so-called theory of everything, i.e. the theory that unites general relativity with quantum mechanics, than what the authors let on. I can see in terms of book-writing it may have been wiser to leave off on a optimistic note or perhaps there is some other reason for such optimism, but I would have preferred a fairer critique of M-Theory with emphasis not only on its pros and potential but on its cons and current failings.