Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Order of Time” as Want to Read:
The Order of Time
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Order of Time

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  9,559 ratings  ·  1,282 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published May 8th 2018 by Riverhead Books (first published May 2017)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Order of Time, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,559 ratings  ·  1,282 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Order of Time
Brian Clegg
There's good news and bad news. The good news is that The Order of Time does what A Brief History of Time seemed to promise but didn't cover: it attempts to explore what time itself is. The bad news is that Carlo Rovelli does this in such a flowery and hand-waving fashion that, though the reader may get a brief feeling that they understand what he's writing about, any understanding rapidly disappears like the scent of a passing flower (the style is catching).

It doesn't help either that the book
Manuel Antão
Dec 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Time is in Reality's Blurring: "The Order of Time" by Carlo Rovelli

In some ways, Rovelli's writing is as influenced by Calvino as it is by Einstein or Feynman - this is not simply writing in the tradition of explicating or popularising scientific inquiry; but rather writing which seeks to open new spaces of possibility for thinking through the very endeavour of the writing itself. There does seem to be an appetite for knowledge out
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Take two. Time has swallowed my review. My first one anyway.

I wish I could take back the time, do it over, but entropy hit GR (or at least my internet connection) and something less than the total heat-death of the universe made me realign my perceptions of reality and time.

Oh, wait. That was this book!

Half historical science, some equations, the theoretical underpinnings of quantum loop theory, the role of entropy and heat in the determination of what makes TIME, and half philosophy and what
Brendan Monroe
It rules over each and every one of us, but is there any greater mystery in life than time? What even is time?

Carlo Rovelli sets out to explain just that question in his latest book, "The Order of Time". Rovelli's explanation of time isn't always clear - there were many moments where I lost the thread - but it is beautiful. For a theoretical physicist, Rovelli is wonderfully poetic. It certainly helps that the audiobook is narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, whose deeply rich voice lends Rovelli's
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time has always been an enigma – with philosophers and even scientists calling it an illusion. And, Carlo Rovelli tells us that it is increasingly appearing to be so. A topic which without doubt captures your attention & is very intellectually stimulating. It would have been an exceptional book, but in parts struggles between being a book for everybody vs being a book of serious science. I have observed many science books do run into this issue – and it is quite obviously a difficult balance ...more
Alice Lippart
My brain hurts and I love it.
Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, 2018-reads
I suspect that these Carlo Rovelli books are popular because they are short and imaginative! The first half of The Order of Time was clear and thought-provoking. But the second half went a little off the rails and I'm not sure it all even made sense. (His science is sound, I assume, but what about his metaphysical speculations ?) My mind kept wandering as I was lulled by Benedict Cumberbatch's voice (which reminded me of Neil Gaiman's hypnotic audiobook narrations). I amused myself by imagining ...more
Time is an Illusion, says physicist Carlo Rovelli

Physicists calling time an illusion is not a new idea. Julian Barbour, in his 1999 book argued for the same hypothesis. Contrary to this idea, physicist Lee Smolin proposed that time is real. He suggested that laws of physics are not fixed in the universe but evolve over time. The principle argument in support of his theory is that mathematical models provide an abstraction of reality and ignore time dimension. Carlo Rovelli observes that since
Jenny (Reading Envy)
My first read of #scienceseptember (2019) was a bit of a mind blowing experience, with physics meeting philosophy for a discussion of time. I barely grasped the concepts that were already dumbed down for a layperson - the absence of a "present," how time and entropy relate, equations without time, etc. But I did meet my goal of reading more than just nature stuff for the theme!

"In order to exit from a black hole, you would need to move toward the present rather than toward the future!...This is
Terry Pearce
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is without a doubt the best science book I've ever read. Possibly the best book I've ever read. It takes something (Time) that is ultra-important to us all and really tough to think about, and, in graceful language and thoughtful structure, explains first how everything we think we know about it on a day to day basis is wrong, and then how we can think about it in a way that is profound and useful. Along the way, he ties it in with the deepest core of what it is to be a human being, alive, ...more
Camelia Rose
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, science
This is probably the hardest book I've listened. The concise yet poetic language and Benedict Cumberbatch's deeply affective voice keep me going. It is 4 hours 20 minutes long. I listened twice, doing my best to "get" as much as I can.

The first part of the book describes well-established aspects of time in physics that have been repetitively proved by carefully conducted experiments--gravitational time dilation and relative velocity time dilation, i.e. time passes slower nearer to a mass,
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
One star lost. Either I am simply in a bitter mood tonight, or the last thirty-seven minutes of this audiobook were depressing and existentially soul-crushing. Everything vanishes. Time is suffering. We suffer because we can't hold onto things. This is not physics?! Physics isn't supposed to be depressing; that's philosophy. I do wish he had perhaps confined himself to loop quantum gravity. I might as well next read Buddha's teachings tonight. Desire is suffering. Then Schopenhauer. Will is ...more
Huyen Chip
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Mind-blowing. So beautifully written. Entropy makes the world go round. Time exists within us. I can't see the world the same way again.
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
“This is time for us: a multilayered, complex concept with multiple, distinct properties deriving from various different approximations.” Page 198.

The Public Library only allowed me 7 days to read this book with no renewals. So Time was a problem from the beginning. Nevertheless, I plowed through and finishing tonight, I ended up buying the Kindle Version.

There is much to contemplate and digest in this book. A reread at some point in Time is in order. Reading this work, you will encounter
Ed Erwin
The parts summarizing relativity and QM and their implications relative to the concept of time are very well done. When he comes to describing the sort of thing he himself works on, loop quantum gravity, it gets too vague and hand-wavey to make much sense.

PS: This website refused to allow me to put a start date later than the date finished which proves that there is an order of time.
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent narration by Benedict Cumberbatch. The universe is events. Good to think about this mind bending stuff now and then.
Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

First book of the year - yippee!
I was looking for a book about the philosophy of time, but found this one instead which is more of a physics book about the contemporary state of science on the subject. Despite not being exactly what I was looking for, Rovelli does a great job of laying out the present state of knowledge about what "time" really is in the universe and how it functions. Contrary to our limited perception, time is a far more relative and ephemeral phenomenon than we like to imagine. It is also better described as ...more
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The nature of time is one of the greatest open mysteries of the universe. How time actually works? Do humans exist in time or time exists in humans? How time passes? There are many questions related to a complex subject as time to ask, and answers are few. Carlo Rovelli, an Italian theoretical physicist, who spent a lifetime studying this subject, tries to reveal mysteries of time and he brings the reader closer to possible answers regarding time.

Among other very interesting things, there’s an
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, read_2018
All I can say is that this book is delightful and amazing. I'll need to return to it again and again so I can keep absorbing what Rovelli has to share.
Abu Hayat Khan
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
I’m not a fan of supercars, but what I know is that Italy doesn’t make the most powerful sports car, yet they have the sexiest car imaginable by a human mind. there is something very special about Italian culture of art. and I can feel the same artisan in every chapter of this book. this book is about a dry but interesting aspect of the universe called "time". unlike other popular books in this subject matter, Italian art turned the whole physics discussion into a poetry. I think I can listen to ...more
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book did a number on my brain. And I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed Rovelli’s previous Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, so I should have been ready, but no. Then again this was a different beast. Physics are in general not entirely my bag, it’s a sort of thing to force feed to the mind to maintain a well balanced active diet, but usually I do ok. This one managed to repeatedly get away from me, sentences were read and reared, ideas pondered and contemplated. And yet…for all that reading, ...more
Loring Wirbel
Carlo Rovelli is staring right down the center of avenues I find fascinating, attempting a detailed description of what Ted Chiang explored in his short story that became the film Arrival starring Amy Adams. If we are beings living in four dimensions, why do we perceive the fourth as a sequential arrow moving in only one direction? And, as Amy's character learns as the fate of her daughter becomes clear, is a wider perception of time a sort of forbidden fruit from Eden's apple tree? Rovelli ...more
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
I’ve been looking for a that book tries to explain what time is. This book does that. I found the attempt entertaining but not very convincing, or even clearly stated.
Roveli is not trying to sum up the various scientific theories but to present his own ideas, first as a physicist and then as a philosopher.
Lots of metaphors and musings:
“The difference between things and events is that things persist in time; events have a limited duration. A stone is a prototypical ‘thing’: we can ask
Jun 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
this book fails as wannabe poetry, it fails as explanation of quantum loop gravity, it fails as an extended essay, it fails as memoir, it fails as philosophy, it fails as history, it fails at everything it resembles and then some. jesus fucking christ i hate this author and this further piece of evidence in the fucking full-to-the-brim cosmic shitstadium of the same that white male physicists are the goddamn worst.

oh and thank the lord i didn't decide to have the right honorable b. cumberbatch
Jun 30, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a total snooze fest, some parts were interesting and clear enough for a lay person to understand, but most of it was just unintelligible to me and quickly lost my interest.

It’s far too technical and it’s not explained simply enough for someone like me who knows nothing about theoretical physics. So sadly I couldn’t really enjoy this book and I really wanted it to blow my mind. Such a shame.
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how much more I've gained on the details of some of the theories but just to sit with the ideas of relative time and states of entropy will blow your mind.
Natasha at Book Baristas
so so so good
Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: black
Like a lot of young nerds, I had a period of fascination with advanced physics. Never enough to actually become all that good at it, mind you. I just about wrapped my brain around the wave-particle duality, in order to get my degree in Electrical Engineering. I took one course on Relativity. I found it all to be fascinating, and also really, really hard. There were other people, for whom it was equally fascinating, but more like "fun" than "hard". I was not one of those people.

The primary
Allison Hiltz
Originally reviewed at The Book Wheel.

Consider the following: time passes faster in the mountains than it does at sea level. If this sentence confounds you but piques your interest, then I can already tell you that you want to read The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli, which answers questions such as what is time? Is there a universal time? What does it mean to live in the present? Does the present exist?

Turns out, these are simple questions with no easy answers because time is complicated. I don
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • What Is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics
  • Brief Answers to the Big Questions
  • Your Brain Is a Time Machine: The Neuroscience and Physics of Time
  • Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind
  • 21 Lessons for the 21st Century
  • Quantum Space: Loop Quantum Gravity and the Search for the Structure of Space, Time, and the Universe
  • Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime
  • Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray
  • The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes
  • Rzeczywistosc nie jest tym, czym sie wydaje
  • The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality and Our Destiny Beyond Earth
  • Einstein's Unfinished Revolution: The Search for What Lies Beyond the Quantum
  • How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence
  • The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World
  • The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life
  • Through Two Doors at Once: The Elegant Experiment That Captures the Enigma of Our Quantum Reality
  • When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought
  • The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming
See similar books…
Carlo Rovelli is an Italian theoretical physicist and writer who has worked in Italy and the USA, and currently works in France. His work is mainly in the field of quantum gravity, where he is among the founders of the loop quantum gravity theory. He has also worked in the history and philosophy of science. He collaborates regularly with several Italian newspapers, in particular the cultural ...more
“This is time for us. Memory. A nostalgia. The pain of absence. But it isn't absence that causes sorrow. It is affection and love. Without affection, without love, such absences would cause us no pain.
For this reason, even the pain caused by absence is in the end something good and even beautiful. Because it feeds on that which gives meaning to life.”
“It is like the point where the rainbow touches the forest. We think that we can see it—but if we go to look for it, it isn’t there.” 12 likes
More quotes…