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The Order of Time

Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch
Narrated by: Benedict Cumberbatch
Length: 4 hrs and 18 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (667 ratings)

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Summary

Winner of the Specsavers Audiobook of the Year 2018. 

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 listeners say about The Order of Time

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Brilliant!

Like being sat down in a button back leather armchair and having chocolate poured into your ears until your mind is blown.

19 people found this helpful

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Well worth listening to

As someone with next to no previous knowledge on the subject, some parts where tricky to get my head around (and some for chunks I didn't manage it at all). Other sections, particularly the first few chapters, were very illuminating and really changed my perception of time. The final chapter is beautifully written and quite philosophical, I teared up a few times, which I wasn't expecting. The narration is excellent and really brought the text to life. I think I'm going to give it a second listen...

5 people found this helpful

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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.

10 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this 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?

7 people found this helpful

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An interesting book that made me think differently

I like reading about science, but sometimes I get the same facts in a different way. This offered me something different. The concept of entropy defined in terms of order, but the concept of orderliness defined relative to a particular viewpoint. This means that there can be no absolute definition of orderliness and so the direction of time is a local concept. It was well written and interesting, in a very accessible way.

1 person found this helpful

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elegant

really enjoyed the simple and elequent phrasing and could listen to it again. Highly recommended

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narrator great but Volume is too low! sort it out.

narrator great but... Volume is too low! struggle to listen at full volume. sort it out.

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant

An artful combination of science, philosophy and classics. You know when someone talks passionately about an interesting subject and you get so drawn in that you almost have an out of body experience? This book is that, with added physics. Cumberbatch reads it extremely well too.

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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.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-09-18

Amazing book! Very deep and interesting.

I think Benedict Cumberbatch should read every audiobook! His voice is lovely! The book is amazing. It really makes you wonder.

2 people found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Daniel J
  • 27-04-20

One of the few science books makes you emotional

This book does not only describe the current understanding of time and its relation to reality, but also sparks an emotional and objective meaning to life. Benedict Cumberbatch's narration made this book shine.

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  • James R. Modrall
  • 14-01-20

Extraordinary

I confess that i was sceptical that such a short, popular science treatment could shed much light on such a complex subject. I was wrong. Rovelli writes beautifully and the breadth of his culture is amazing. His departure point is his day job as a theoretical physicist, but he jumps effortlessly between the ancient history of science (Anaximander is a favorite), philosophy, religious texts (Christian, Buddhist and Hindu), literature (Shakespeare, Proust .. . ) and music (from Bach to the Grateful Dead). Truly extraordinary. And of course how can you beat Benedict Cumberbatch as a reader?

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  • GratefulDeadShows
  • 13-01-20

good writer

Rovelli is definitely one of the more talented of writers among physicists who write popular books. He also accomplishes a treatise on time more successfully than other efforts I have read.

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  • SYL
  • 17-08-19

It's time see IT clearly

Very clear, yet very subtle explanation of what we are made of through the lens of time. The poetic and at the end of it, a very moving, melodic, melancholical, memorable reminder about our potentials and limitations of what we consider as ourself bound by our memories, our body and what we sense as TIME. I listened to it at least two or three times, just wishing for further insight. I wish Carlo Rovelli would have read it himself as I heard his first book in his heavy Italian accent with a charm. Although, this does not take away the marvelous delivery by the narrator. One of the most impactful book I have listened to in last few months.

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  • Andre
  • 03-07-19

Overdramatized

The sound is as its a bestime story, certainly a disservice to an interrsting read.

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  • kirathi2042
  • 22-04-19

What a joy

I always wonder what is “Time”? This book provide an explanation based on previous scientific knowledge and I enjoy reading it. The voice of Benedict Cumberbatch is just like a massage to my ears. What else can I say?

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  • Dennis Amankwah
  • 02-04-19

Lovely Book about Time and its Order

Now I understand that time is far more complex than we think it to be. For long I've held the sense that we always living in the past; every action happens in the past, that the only thing ever in the present is the thoughts we originate. It's really a nice book and I enjoyed listening to it

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-07-18

Enjoyable, intriguiging read on time.

Loved the performance of Benedict Cumberbatch. Warm voice and nice rhythm. Refreshing combination of physics and poetry. Not a technical book, rather a nice and thought-provoking read with interesting views and theories on time.