Mlodinow makes it clear that while Hawking did not like public god-bashing, he did privately believe that a deity was a “redundant” hypothesis.
In the public mind Hawking was admired for the fearless way he tackled the essential questions — even when they lay just beyond the horizon of what physics could contemplate. The section on belief, which closes the book, is fascinating. Disappointingly, it is one of the only ones in which I felt I really knew the mind of Hawking. For all the anecdotes and conversations, and all the excellent biographical and scientific summaries, Hawking the man feels elusive. Mlodinow clearly knew and liked him, but I finished the book unsure of whether or not I did. For all that, though, this is a compelling read.