Book review: Simly Einstein: Relativity demystified

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Posted on 27 Aug 2011
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If repetition is the key to learning, you will learn a lot from this book. It keeps on repeating the most important aspects which in a way is good, since you will not forget them. The book itself gives a global view on Einstein’s special and general relativity theorems in a very simple and comprehensible way. There is little math involved, except for the last appendix of the book and still that is high school math that makes sense to everybody. So can a book about relativity do without math?

To be honest, the hardest thing about general relativity isn’t really the math (OK, so I’m lying), but the way of relative thinking, something that this book keeps focusing on. The reading itself is very easy and it scales from the easy chapters to the more difficult ones with easy. Wolfson explains why certain ways of thinking can be correct (enough) in a Newtonian world, but are incorrect in general relativity and how in the early 1900’s, Einstein and others have struggled with the exceptions that gravity gave.

Instead of finding excuses and exceptions for everything that didn’t obey the rules, Einstein truly started from scratch and gave the world a new insight that worked everywhere and for everything (also, that is still not completely true of course :) ). The book itself answers lots of theoretical questions that Einstein had to deal with: what would you see when you run with the speed of light next to a beam of light? Is Mercury special, or, maybe not so much after all. And maybe even most important questions: can we ever go faster than the speed of light and what is gravity?


If you want to start reading up on general relativity, this book is a very good start: simple, to the point, and it gives you exactly the way of thinking to move forward to the more complex books. But then again, you might not like it, since everything, including my review is relative :) The repetition of certain aspects can become annoying from time to time, especially when you get them after the second time, but luckily there aren’t that many of them inside the book.


Name Simply Einstein: Relativity demystified
Author Richard Wolfson
ISBN 978-0-393-32507-2
Link Amazon