Carl Sagan’s Cosmos

Hands down one of the most influential books for me in the past 5-6 years! Carl Sagan’s Cosmos is an absolute diamond in the sand. I cannot rave about it enough, honestly. There also happens to be a show Cosmos with a more revamped version released in recent years. The edition that I read had a foreword by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. At the time that I first read Cosmos, I was not that familiar with DeGrasse Tyson’s work. But, when I’m able to get one of his books, it will definitely be reviewed here too. He happens to be the host of the newer Cosmos show.

Knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart; intelligence is not information alone but also judgement, the manner in which information is coordinated and used.

I think I’ve mentioned this book so many times in conversations with other people that I could have sworn I already had a review drafted. Let me just say that Carl Sagan had a very interesting life story. He had very humble beginnings and truly believed in the power of literature to shape young minds and inspire them to achieve their goals. He spends a lot of time in this book weaving clear scientific explanations for phenomena in the universe while simultaneously giving a broad education on other fields that impact it: literature, anthropology, history, geography and geology, and on and on. But, it doesn’t really get boring. He delivers so much information in a very easy and affable tone.

“National boundaries are not evident when we view the Earth from space. Fanatical ethnic or religious or national chauvinisms are a little difficult to maintain when we see our planet as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars.

Aside from reminding us that the light of the sun is technically the product of an active nuclear fusion occurring, Sagan does more that delight us with his scientific knowledge. He tries his best to keep us humble as a species, reader by reader, book by book. He does the math and puts it this way: we are worth no more than $3.00 (plus tax) in chemicals. The human body is simply the right combination of a handful of chemicals. And, in the vast expanse of the universe, we really only have one home: Earth. Knowing that we are alone and the nearest planet that could sustain life – or us really – is millions if not billions of light years away should make us think twice about not caring for our planet.

I believe our future depends on how well we know this cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.

To wax lyrical and romantic, Carl Sagan does what some of the most brilliant literature minds only wish they could do. Move over Jane Austin and Danielle Steel! He takes us to the stars and keeps us grounded here on Earth all in one book. There is an eloquence to his voice. It’s evident to me why Cosmos is one of the best-selling science books of all time all around the world. He has some of the most elegant and graceful writing that I’ve ever read, a very quotable man. Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, to add a final note, even inspired some of my own writings in Remembrance of a Lover Lost for which I gave him a mention.

“We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.”


Work Cited

Sagan, Carl. Cosmos. Ballantine Books, 2013.


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