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Publisher's Summary

A concise, elegant exploration of time from the author of the international best seller, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics.
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 listeners, this is unfamiliar terrain. We all experience time, but the more scientists learn about it, the more mysterious it appears. 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 best seller 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.
©2018 Carlo Rovelli (P)2018 Penguin Audio
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Critic Reviews

"[Benedict Cumberbatch's] velvety bass voice is a delight to listen to - comforting and companionable, with perfect cadences to signal when the difficult concepts he's speaking about need extra attention (or a 30-second skip-back to hear again). The result is a performance that feels like a conversation with Professor Rovelli himself steadily guiding you as he dismantles all notions of time and helps you rebuild your understanding of it." (AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Raymond on 05-15-18

Brain Workout With A Great Narrator

You better have your thinking cap on, cause this one will make you do just that... although, not in a bad way. If you aren't at least somewhat familiar with the language of quantum mechanics, or theoretical physics, this may be a tough listen. I listened to the entire book while driving from my home in Utah to Denver, sometimes rewinding to catch key concepts.
Benedict Cumberbatch is phenomenal, bringing the passion of the author to the narration with ease. I plan to find more books with Cumberbatch as the narrator; ad well, I plan to listen to others by Rovelli.

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20 of 20 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Mike on 05-11-18

Rovelli is a Genius

If you've never read Rovelli, read this book. If you have read Rovelli and are wondering if you'll learn anything new from this book, you will indeed.

Rovelli fairly destroys the very popular conception of a 4D block universe, which imagines that outside of our own existence, the universe exists as an unchanging monolith of all space and time. He does this by driving home the fact that there is no present, no universal now for all observers (where observers are not just consciousnesses). Rovelli's assertion that there is no present is not new to this book, but it does come alive here. If all of reality is truly interactions interacting locally, how can there possibly be a universal now? There can not.

What is absolutely new here is Rovelli's genius explanation for why entropy was universally lower in the past. If you've read any of Sean Carroll's books, you know this is the real question when asking "why does time seem to flow forward" (where time here is equivalent to Rovelli's thermal time - since at base there is no time). Physicists generally agree that the arrow of time is fully explained by the fact that entropy was low in the past. But not even the mighty Dr Carroll attempts to explain this. Rovelli's answer is dazzling. You must read the book for the full explanation, but Rovelli's metaphor to an unshuffled deck of cards hits home. What does it *really* mean that the deck is unshuffled? :-)

As usual, Rovelli packs into one short book what will surely take generations to fully unpack. Perhaps I'll not be around when our children and their children fully flesh this out. But what an immensely enjoyable thing to be here "now" ;-p

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35 of 36 people found this review helpful

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