PositiveThe Wall Street JournalMr. Mlodinow’s memoir genuinely has something to add, insights that are not to be found elsewhere ... Mr. Mlodinow has produced a vivid and compelling account of Hawking’s character, its many strengths and its occasional deep flaws ... Mr. Mlodinow is very good on the small details of Hawking’s condition ... Its glimpses of Hawking’s personal life are poignant and interesting, but I suspect this book will be read chiefly for its insights into Hawking as a scientist. Mr. Mlodinow understands very well, and can explain very clearly, the twists and turns of Hawking’s physics as it developed from his doctoral thesis to the breakthroughs of his mature years ... The great merit of this book is to convey so vividly the dance, the spirit and the prison.
MixedThe New Statesman (UK)In this interesting, if challenging, biography, Clare Carlisle...has sought to convey Kierkegaard’s profundity and depth, and to do justice to the picture of him as a \'really religious\' man ... It is an ambitious aim, and it is not surprising that she has not entirely achieved it. Indeed, I think it is possible that it is not achievable. A good biography can indeed convey the inner life of its subject, but not through inwardness ... Carlisle’s book is structured in a way that takes a lot of getting used to. I had to read it twice before I could find my bearings ... It is a fault of this book that Carlisle seems unaware that the person she presents as providing deep solutions to the problems of life would just as naturally be viewed as insufferably self-absorbed, as obsessed with his own sufferings as he is indifferent to those of others.
RaveThe New Statesman AmericaWonderfully readable ... It is, just about, possible to recommend this book as an introduction to Nietzsche’s philosophy ... but its real strengths lie in the quality of its writing and the way it deals with Nietzsche’s relations with the remarkably few people with whom he was close. Other writers have tried to get inside Nietzsche’s mind, but in using her empathic imagination to understand Nietzsche’s relations with his mother, his sister, his friends, his publisher, and even his landlords, Prideaux is able to offer us a valuable new perspective, one in which he emerges as a unique and endlessly fascinating person, but nevertheless a person to whom we can relate.
MixedWall Street Journal\"The physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson is an interesting man, and, at the age of 94, he no doubt has a fascinating story to tell about his long and productive life. This book, however, does not contain that story—at least, not all of it and not in the form that many of us would have wished ... Overall, there is much in the letters collected here to enjoy; Mr. Dyson writes wonderfully well. But I am surely not alone in wishing that a man so brilliant, who has lived such an interesting life, had, at the end of his days, endeavored to write a proper autobiography. As Wittgenstein once observed, \'Raisins might be the best thing about a cake; but a bag of raisins is not better than a cake.\'\