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Summary

Penguin presents the audio edition of The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli. The best-selling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics takes us on an enchanting journey to discover the meaning of time. 

Time is a mystery that does not cease to puzzle us. Philosophers, artists and poets have long explored its meaning while scientists have found that its structure is different from the simple intuition we have of it. From Boltzmann to quantum theory, from Einstein to loop quantum gravity, our understanding of time has been undergoing radical transformations. Time flows at different speeds in different places, the past and the future differ far less than we might think and the very notion of the present evaporates in the vast universe. 

With his extraordinary charm and sense of wonder, bringing together science, philosophy and art, Carlo Rovelli unravels this mystery, inviting us to imagine a world where time is in us and we are not in time. 

©2018 Carlo Rovelli (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd

Critic reviews

"A global superstar...Rovelli is making the grammar of the universe accessible to a new generation." (Channel 4 News)

"Benedict Cumberbatch's warm, resonant voice makes him a very fine narrator." (The Times)

"Cumberbatch possesses a deep and rich voice and reads the text in a precise but unhurried manner, with the result that we feel as if we are getting an exposition by an erudite but gentle teacher." (The New York Times)

What members say

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Beautifully written and beautifully read.

Popular physics books can often by dry or full of technical language, but with Rovelli you get such wonderfully lyrical writing, drawing references from art and literature, and the wider cultural life, to illustrate the points he is making. A joy to read, or listen to, especially when read by Benedict Cumberbatch. A brief but profound book, that examines the physics and the philosophy of time. What is time? Does it even exist? What does the concept of now mean? This builds on Rovelli's earlier works, and is, I think, his best yet. Highly recommended.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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A brilliant pairing of author and narrator

Magnificently read by Benedict Cumberbatch. It's an experience I'll never forget, lyrically written but accessible. A must listen!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Literally the best thing I ever read.

Amazing. Profound. Illuminating. Beautiful. Moving. Measured. Passionate. Thoughtful. Mind-expanding. Mind-blowing. Astonishing. Graceful. Vast. Relatable. Perfect.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Tell me doctor, where are we going this time?

It’s has been some time, naturally from my own relative perspective that a book has so profoundly blown my mind to absolute smithereens. This book will take me a few reads to fully comprehend, but if you want to learn more about what time is, and what it is not then this work is for you. It’s poetic and beautiful and to have it read by Mr Cumberbatch is just ambrosia to the ears.

I will read this again, and again perhaps now or in the past; in the future or somewhere in between. Who knows?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A deeper understanding of time

Easily understandable physics but just as easily lost in philosophy. Cumberbatch could make a phone directory sound engaging. The physics of time is fascinating and well-explained. I personally disagree with Rovelli's philosophical perspective on time - which he describes clearly - and so a lot of the poetic musings in the latter part of the book are of less interest to me than the marvels of time dilation and black holes. It is, however a fascinating book and over all too quickly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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At last a book about time I can relate to

This book blew my mind. Brilliantly written, brilliantly read. I cannot usually read or listen to books on complex concepts due to my lack of concentration coupled with their dry delivery. This book is different and one I have been waiting for. To cider.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Expanding

Excellence helped by the frequent use of the rewind button. Well worth every second. Thanks

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Pretty heavy stuff

It isn't the easiest of books to digest as an audiobook -- it requires both a basic understanding of physics and the ability to understand complicated subject matter as it is being read aloud. Cumberbatch delivers, and there are lovely moments in Rovelli's book, but be sure you know what you're getting into.

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Very poetic

I liked this book mostly because it confirmed to me much of what I understood and suspected about time and the nature of reality. It was reassuring to have many of my own ideas supported by a scientist involved directly at the forefront of research. My only criticism is that the book was perhaps trying too hard to be poetic, but then again maybe that was in the delivery. I listened to audiobook version. Certainly worth a read/listen.

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Masterful and personal

This is partly a book about physics, partly consciousness, partly about being human and or limitations.

Rovelli spends a considerable amount of time discussing what physics has to say about time, before returning to the question of why we perceive time in the way that we do when the evidence is so strong that this is an illusion.

On the way he delves into philosophy, history, music, and literature and throughout cumberbatch's narration bring a resonance and erudition which make the journey an absolute joy.

As a physicist, there are points where the argument seems a little thin - the low entropy state of the early universe is dealt with as a dictation in a wider universe. Really just a statement of the anthropic principle, which is a little off hand. These are minor quibbles, though. The real point is the journey and the synthesis, which is masterly.

Thoroughly enjoyed this. I recommend it to anyone in a meditative frame of mind.

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  • Linn
  • 13-06-18

Mundane linguistic insights coupled with a good description of our current understanding of the universe.

Mundane linguistic insights coupled with a good description of our current understanding of the universe. Many great references, poems and a timeline of our understanding of time in relation to thermodynamics. Field theory is a little glossed over. The worst part is the recurrence of the linguistic discussion, you can tell the author has a great frustration with the sort of questions people ask, but the faculties to help re-evaluate them are limited to repetition.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-06-18

Beautiful

Takes all of us on an adventure and explores the deep enigmatic mysteries of our reality.