One of TIME’s Ten Best Nonfiction Books of the Decade
"Meet the new Stephen Hawking . . . The Order of Time is a dazzling book." --The Sunday Times
From the bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, comes a concise, elegant exploration of time.
Why do we remember the past and not the future? What does it mean for time to "flow"? Do we exist in time or does time exist in us? In lyric, accessible prose, Carlo Rovelli invites us to consider questions about the nature of time that continue to puzzle physicists and philosophers alike.
For most readers this is unfamiliar terrain. We all experience time, but the more scientists learn about it, the more mysterious it remains. We think of it as uniform and universal, moving steadily from past to future, measured by clocks. Rovelli tears down these assumptions one by one, revealing a strange universe where at the most fundamental level time disappears. He explains how the theory of quantum gravity attempts to understand and give meaning to the resulting extreme landscape of this timeless world. Weaving together ideas from philosophy, science and literature, he suggests that our perception of the flow of time depends on our perspective, better understood starting from the structure of our brain and emotions than from the physical universe.
Already a bestseller in Italy, and written with the poetic vitality that made Seven Brief Lessons on Physics so appealing, The Order of Time offers a profoundly intelligent, culturally rich, novel appreciation of the mysteries of time.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Honey and Dark Chocolate
I could, I think listen to Me. Cumberbatch read from a phone book (should any still exist!); that he reads this marvelous book for me (us?) is wonderful, marvelous! Handel allusion intended.
Tapering into abstraction
The book starts off great, with good, intuitive and well explained concepts, however, it tapers into philosophical and poetic commentary about 1/3 into the book. The concepts are hard to accept there is no doubt, but on top of that there is an overburden of pretension that is hard to ignore or see through. In my opinion, if they had stuck to deciphering and delineating highly complex concepts in regards to time with less flowery language and imagery, I think this book would be more digestible. By the way, Mr Cumberbatch does a great job with the content, it just gets too abstract for the ordinary person. FYI, I'm a mechanical engineer with a math minor and a higher than average interest in relativity. I'm used to being befuddled by very abstract/non-intuitive topics and that provides a lot of the fun. In this case, I basically tuned out the last 2/3 of the book.
The order of time
Worth reading, but I listened on my iPod while riding my bike, and if your mind wanders for a few seconds it's hard to catch up. The concepts can be complex. Also, when explaining time Mr. Rovelli seems opposed to using thought experiments. Einstein used them to explain relativity, Mr. Rovelli would have done all of us a favor if he had used more of them.
Even when he used his illustration of decks of cards and their entropy he breezed through it far too fast.