Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

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Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
AuthorNeil deGrasse Tyson
CountryUnited States
PublisherW. W. Norton & Company
Publication date
May 2, 2017
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
Preceded byWelcome to the Universe 
Followed byAccessory to War 

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is a 2017 popular science book by Neil deGrasse Tyson, centering around a number of basic questions about the universe. Published on May 2, 2017, by W. W. Norton & Company, the book is a collection of Tyson's essays that appeared in Natural History magazine at various times from 1997 to 2007.[1]


Neil deGrasse Tyson's Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is a popular introduction to the main concepts and issues of modern astrophysics. The author explains the origin and structure of the Universe, the force of gravity, light, dark matter and dark energy, about our place in the Cosmos and how we try to understand its laws. The book is written in a simple and lively language, using vivid analogies. It is intended for a wide range of readers who want to get a general idea of astrophysics without complex formulas and details. The book consists of 12 short chapters, based on essays published in Natural History magazine.[2]


The book debuted at #1 on The New York Times Non-Fiction Best Seller list when it first appeared in May, 2017. It sold 48,416 copies in its first week, making it the second-most-purchased overall in the U.S. for that week (behind the children's fiction novel The Dark Prophecy).[3] A year later, it remained in the top five and had sold in excess of one million copies.[4]


In Kirkus Reviews, the reviewer praised Tyson's "down-to-earth wit" and stated that the book "shows once again [Tyson's] masterly skills at explaining complex scientific concepts in a lucid, readable fashion."[5]

The book's accessible language is noted in a review in BBC Sky at Night magazine. The reviewer suggests that the reader who spends their time on Tyson's work, will have a good understanding of "every part of our known Universe, how it came to be and what still keeps physicists up at night".[2]

Tyson was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album.[6]


  1. ^ Adams, Allen (May 10, 2017). "'Astrophysics for People in a Hurry'". The Maine Edge. Retrieved 16 May 2017. The book's chapters were adapted from the "Universe" series of essays that appeared in Natural History magazine at various times from 1997 to 2007.
  2. ^ a b Shaw, Niamh (2017). "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry". BBC Sky at Night (145): 103.
  3. ^ O'Brien, Kiera (May 17, 2017). "Children's Charts: May 1 - May 7". The Bookseller. pp. 14–15. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  4. ^ Hayden Planetarium (2018). "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry". INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS SINCE 1923. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
  5. ^ "ASTROPHYSICS FOR PEOPLE IN A HURRY". Kirkus Reviews. March 7, 2017. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  6. ^ Rodman, Sarah (November 28, 2017). "Carrie Fisher nets Grammy nod in spoken-word category, faces off with Springsteen and Bernie Sanders". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 28, 2017.