There are plenty of science books to explain the origins of the universe. However, Barrow’s work is the best for the layman. Barrow’s prose is plain English. His explanations of very sophisticated concepts are clear and accessible.
For example, Barrows calmly points out the difference between the universe — everything that is — and the visible universe, that finite realm where there has been enough time for light to reach us.
While no degree in physics (or any other science) is required, a general understanding of basic laws, e.g. speed of light, absolute zero, will help. This is one book to have at hand to handle some of the more mind-bending theories of the universe, not only its origins but where it may all be going. (4/5 stars)