The Fabric of Reality by David Deutsch
Among the most insightful and profound books I’ve ever read. Although the title (and especially the subtitle) might make it seem like this is another in an endless stream of pop-sci infotainment books on hypey topics in theoretical physics, it is most definitely not that. I found the chapter on the nature of mathematics especially enlightening.
Although I believe that in interweaving our deepest theories, Deutsch has successfully articulated our best (and most durable) understanding of the fabric of the reality…the final chapter on the Omega Point is disappointing (not only has Omega Point cosmology been thoroughly falsified in the years after this book was written, but Tipler’s responses included at the end make it clear that the concept is the creation of a deeply delusional mind). Again and again, Deutsch makes unjustified assertions regarding the Omega Point, e.g. the notion that an Omega Point will exist in only some specific subset of universes is dismissed because it would imply that the percentage of such universes would be a fundamental constant…but so what? Presumably there’s some specific subset of universes in which David Deutsch is wearing a red sweater right now…I fail to see how this logically implies that David Deutsch must wear a red sweater in all universes. This is just one example of what can charitably be described as unjustified assumptions and wishful thinking in the final chapter.
Nevertheless, the rest of the book offers such deep and worthwhile insight as to more than make up for the bizarre final chapter.