Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story by Jim Holt

Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story

By Jim Holt

  • Release Date: 2012-07-16
  • Genre: Philosophy
Score: 3.5
From 148 Ratings
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The Washington Post Notable Non-Fiction of 2013

“I can imagine few more enjoyable ways of thinking than to read this book.”—Sarah Bakewell, New York Times Book Review, front-page review
Tackling the “darkest question in all of philosophy” with “raffish erudition” (Dwight Garner, New York Times), author Jim Holt explores the greatest metaphysical mystery of all: why is there something rather than nothing? This runaway bestseller, which has captured the imagination of critics and the public alike, traces our latest efforts to grasp the origins of the universe. Holt adopts the role of cosmological detective, traveling the globe to interview a host of celebrated scientists, philosophers, and writers, “testing the contentions of one against the theories of the other” (Jeremy Bernstein, Wall Street Journal). As he interrogates his list of ontological culprits, the brilliant yet slyly humorous Holt contends that we might have been too narrow in limiting our suspects to God versus the Big Bang. This “deft and consuming” (David Ulin, Los Angeles Times) narrative humanizes the profound questions of meaning and existence it confronts.


  • Engaging and enigmatic

    By One Suitcase
    A fascinating investigation into the question of 'Why is there something instead of nothing?' Mr. Holt consults with the leading theorists, physicists and philosophers today and draws upon historical theories to create a compelling detective story.
  • Probably one of the best books on the question.

    By PeteWp61
    Holt tours the beliefs and claims of leading philosophers on the points of existence over non and adds quite a bit of his own. It reads effortlessly, delves fearlessly and sidesteps the pretensions that can be a pitfall in conveying the profundity of these matters. It never bogs and through it all Holts very human reflections bring about a much needed clarity of home-perspective.