Over the last few decades, A Brief History of Time has gained notoriety as a pop science book that everyone bought but could not get through due to it being completely impenetrable. Theoretical physics was hella trendy in the early 1990s, like C&C Music Factory.
I found an old copy for $6 at a used book store in Kyoto as I was fleeing catastrophe in Tokyo, so I decided to see if I was smart enough these days to actually understand Hawking. Good news is that the book is gentle at first. But without warning, Hawking's prose suddenly starts flailing between dumbed-down metaphors for theoretical physics and the most obscure fragments from a PhD thesis. Hawking will string you along with easy-peasy discussions of black holes and entropy. And the next sentence, he'll write, "If the laws of science are unchanged by the combination of operations C and P, and also by the combination of C, P, and T, they must also be unchanged under the operation T alone." And then he ends the same paragraph, "If it were, crockery manufacturers would go out of business." This book is a goddamn roller-coaster ride.
I compromised on my goals and stopped reading before the last chapter on worm holes. But I did enjoy the book as an introduction to why we know what we do about the nature of the universe. The best part is that we predicted a lot of what make up the cool illustrations in astronomy books — black holes, neutron stars, etc. — through mathematical formulas. If deduction actually works somewhere, I'm happy it's with the laws of the universe.