Ever since I’ve started traveling more for my new job, I’ve gotten back into audiobooks. (I liked them in college because of the long drives to and from school.) Long audiobooks stress me out because of library due dates, so this short four-discer read by a celebrity was perfect for a quick round trip through North Texas.
In The Order of Time, theoretical physicist/brainiac Carlo Rovelli poetically and accessibily skims the surface of our understanding(s) of time. He includes a wide but shallow overview of theories and understandings throughout time, as well as some information about quantum fields that helps explain more current ideas. Not everything he explains is widely accepted, yet, and he is quick to point out which of his ideas are just that – his ideas. Intellectual humility is a nice thing to find in academic types.
I think Rovelli is a good teacher – he is able to distill complex ideas into something understandable for the layperson. I don’t have a STEM mind, but Rovelli is able to explain difficult concepts in a way I (mostly) understood. More important for me, though, is that Rovelli is able to articulate the beauty and art within the concept of time, and how it informs our understanding of our lives and relationships. His musings on death and distance were profoundly comforting for me, and he dropped frequent gems of wisdom (“It isn’t absence which causes sorrow, but affection and love.”).
As alluded to in the title of this review, the audiobook is read by Benedict Cumberbatch. It’s great to have Sherlock Holmes/Dr. Strange read smart things to you while driving through wide open spaces.
A fun mindblower of short non-fic.