100 books like The Direction of Time

By Hans Reichenbach,

Here are 100 books that The Direction of Time fans have personally recommended if you like The Direction of Time. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Physicist & the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate That Changed Our Understanding of Time

Marc Wittmann Author Of Altered States of Consciousness: Experiences Out of Time and Self

From my list on the frontier areas of time in psychology and physics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a research fellow at the Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health in Freiburg, Germany. I studied Psychology and Philosophy at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) and Munich (Germany) and have a Ph.D. in Medical Psychology from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Between 2004 and 2009 I was Research Fellow at the Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego. My research in the field of Cognitive Neuroscience is focused on the perception of time in ordinary and altered states of consciousness. The investigation concerning the riddle of subjective time as based on the embodied self leads me to answers of what matters most, the nature of our existence as self-conscious beings.

Marc's book list on the frontier areas of time in psychology and physics

Marc Wittmann Why did Marc love this book?

The debate on the nature of time between Henri Bergson, one of the most important philosophers at that time, and Albert Einstein, happened on April 6, 1922. Although many people believe that Einstein gained the upper hand in this showdown, comparable perhaps only with the ‘rumble in the jungle’ between Foreman and Ali in 1974, matters are more complicated. Jimena Canales has written a thriller about this clash of cultures fighting about time. She opens up a cosmos of philosophy and physics embedded in culture and shows how one hour of talk in 1922 still has relevance 100 years later for what it means to be human.

By Jimena Canales,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Physicist & the Philosopher as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On April 6, 1922, in Paris, Albert Einstein and Henri Bergson publicly debated the nature of time. Einstein considered Bergson's theory of time to be a soft, psychological notion, irreconcilable with the quantitative realities of physics. Bergson, who gained fame as a philosopher by arguing that time should not be understood exclusively through the lens of science, criticized Einstein's theory of time for being a metaphysics grafted on to science, one that ignored the intuitive aspects of time. The Physicist and the Philosopher tells the remarkable story of how this explosive debate transformed our understanding of time and drove a…


Book cover of Mindworks: Time and Conscious Experience

Craig Callender Author Of What Makes Time Special?

From my list on time for people who love physics and deep thinking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a philosopher of science who has an obsession with time. People think this interest is a case of patronymic destiny, that it’s due to my last name being Callender. But the origins of “Callender” have nothing to do with time. Instead, I’m fascinated by time because it is one of the last fundamental mysteries, right up there with consciousness. Like consciousness, time is connected to our place in the universe (our sense of freedom, identity, meaning). Yet we don’t really understand it because there remains a gulf between our experience of time and the science of time. Saint Augustine really put his finger on the problem in the fifth century when he pointed out that it is both the most familiar and unfamiliar thing.

Craig's book list on time for people who love physics and deep thinking

Craig Callender Why did Craig love this book?

When I moved to San Diego I began to get interested in time perception as well as the physics of time. My colleague Patrica Churchland kindly gave me this book to read. It’s a popular, accessible book on cognitive science and time perception. I couldn’t put it down. For sure it changed my academic path. I knew the mind plays all kinds of tricks on us, but the way it creates our inner sense of time experience still amazes me. 

By Ernst Pöppel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mindworks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discusses the nature of time, suggests a hierarchical model of human temporal experience, and proposes a new definition of consciousness


Book cover of Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point: New Directions for the Physics of Time

Craig Callender Author Of What Makes Time Special?

From my list on time for people who love physics and deep thinking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a philosopher of science who has an obsession with time. People think this interest is a case of patronymic destiny, that it’s due to my last name being Callender. But the origins of “Callender” have nothing to do with time. Instead, I’m fascinated by time because it is one of the last fundamental mysteries, right up there with consciousness. Like consciousness, time is connected to our place in the universe (our sense of freedom, identity, meaning). Yet we don’t really understand it because there remains a gulf between our experience of time and the science of time. Saint Augustine really put his finger on the problem in the fifth century when he pointed out that it is both the most familiar and unfamiliar thing.

Craig's book list on time for people who love physics and deep thinking

Craig Callender Why did Craig love this book?

Price is a philosopher and this book, along with Paul Horwich’s Asymmetries in Time and David Albert’s Time and Chance, are heirs of Reichenbach’s masterpiece. I select Price’s book here because it is more accessible than Horwich’s or Albert’s books. It is packed with fun and deep stuff: criticism of Hawking’s cosmology, exploration of the electromagnetic arrow of time, and serious discussion of wild ideas like causation going backward in time.

By Huw Price,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

`splendidly provocative ... enjoy it as a feast for the imagination.'
John Gribbin, Sunday Times

Why is the future so different from the past? Why does the past affect the future and not the other way round? The universe began with the Big Bang - will it end with a 'Big Crunch'? This exciting book presents an innovative and controversial view of time and contemporary physics. Price urges physicists, philosophers, and anyone who has ever pondered the paradoxes of time to look at the world from a fresh perspective and he throws fascinating new light on some of the great…


Book cover of Time Machines: Time Travel in Physics, Metaphysics, and Science Fiction

Craig Callender Author Of What Makes Time Special?

From my list on time for people who love physics and deep thinking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a philosopher of science who has an obsession with time. People think this interest is a case of patronymic destiny, that it’s due to my last name being Callender. But the origins of “Callender” have nothing to do with time. Instead, I’m fascinated by time because it is one of the last fundamental mysteries, right up there with consciousness. Like consciousness, time is connected to our place in the universe (our sense of freedom, identity, meaning). Yet we don’t really understand it because there remains a gulf between our experience of time and the science of time. Saint Augustine really put his finger on the problem in the fifth century when he pointed out that it is both the most familiar and unfamiliar thing.

Craig's book list on time for people who love physics and deep thinking

Craig Callender Why did Craig love this book?

I’ve never met Nahin but I recognize in him a kindred spirit of someone similarly obsessed with time. If you want to know about time travel, here it is in all its glory. The “tech notes” at the end show that this is a labor of love. Not only will you encounter some of the most fascinating physics (in the works of Godel, Novikov, Thorne, Tipler, and dozens more), but you’ll also learn about early science fiction, the threat of fatalism, the history of the idea that time is the fourth dimension, and more.

By Paul J. Nahin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Time Machines as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book explores the idea of time travel from the first account in English literature to the latest theories of physicists such as Kip Thorne and Igor Novikov. This very readable work covers a variety of topics including: the history of time travel in fiction; the fundamental scientific concepts of time, spacetime, and the fourth dimension; the speculations of Einstein, Richard Feynman, Kurt Goedel, and others; time travel paradoxes, and much more.


Book cover of Einstein for Everyone

Marc Lange Author Of An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics: Locality, Fields, Energy, and Mass

From my list on the philosophy of physics.

Why am I passionate about this?

My undergraduate physics textbook asked, “What is an electric field? Is it something real, or is it merely a name for a factor in an equation which has to be multiplied by something else to give the numerical value of the force we measure in an experiment?” Here, I thought, is a good question! But the textbook said that since electromagnetic theory “works, it doesn’t make any difference" what an electric field is! Then it said, "That is not a frivolous answer, but a serious one.” I felt ashamed. But my physics teacher helpfully suggested that I “speak to the philosophers.” I am very pleased that I decided to become one!

Marc's book list on the philosophy of physics

Marc Lange Why did Marc love this book?

This book has it all. It describes Einstein’s own fascinating path to both the special and the general theories of relativity. It explains why relativity theory involved such revolutionary steps and yet remains continuous with 19th-century physics. It examines (and, in some cases, debunks!) the philosophical morals (about spacetime and about the logic of scientific reasoning) that have sometimes been drawn from relativity theory. And it looks closely at the reasons for Einstein’s critical attitude toward quantum mechanics. Norton is not only one of the world’s leading Einstein experts, but also a superb writer and teacher.

Book cover of Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness

Mitch Horowitz Author Of Daydream Believer: Unlocking the Ultimate Power of Your Mind

From my list on the extra-physical potentials of the mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a PEN Award-winning historian of alternative spirituality and a writer-in-residence at the New York Public Library. I track the impact and substance of supernatural beliefs—a source of fascination since my Queens, NY, boyhood—in books including Occult America, The Miracle Club, and Uncertain Places. I often say that if you do not write your own history, it gets written for you—usually by people who may not care about or even understand the values that emanate from your work. Given my personal dedication to the spiritual search, I call myself a believing historian (which most historians of religion actually are). I labor to explore the lives, ideas, and practices behind esoteric spirituality.

Mitch's book list on the extra-physical potentials of the mind

Mitch Horowitz Why did Mitch love this book?

The most controversial aspect of nearly a century of research in quantum mechanics is how the perspective of an observer, either sentient or mechanical, determines reality on the subatomic scale. What does this say—if anything—about life in our above-ground, macro world? With zero sensationalism and great rigor, not to mention witty and accessible writing, physicists Rosenblum and Kuttner sort out questions of particle mechanics, quantum theory, and consciousness in a manner that is understandable to the layperson yet faithful to the findings of this most confounding of the hard sciences. 

By Bruce Rosenblum, Fred Kuttner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Quantum Enigma as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In trying to understand the atom, physicists built quantum mechanics, the most successful theory in science and the basis of one-third of our economy. They found, to their embarrassment, that with their theory, physics encounters consciousness. Authors Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner explain all this in non-technical terms with help from some fanciful stories and anecdotes about the theory's developers. They present the quantum mystery honestly, emphasizing what is and what is not speculation. Quantum Enigma's description of the experimental quantum facts, and the quantum theory explaining them, is undisputed. Interpreting what it all means, however, is heatedly controversial. But…


Book cover of What Makes Time Special?

Adrian Bardon Author Of A Brief History of the Philosophy of Time

From my list on time and our perception of time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of philosophy at Wake Forest University, with a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. I teach courses in the philosophy of space and time, the history of philosophy, and the philosophy of science. In addition to several authored and edited books on the philosophy of time, I have published many scholarly articles on time, perception, knowledge, and the history of the philosophy of time. I have always been attracted to the philosophy of time because time is quite simply at the root of everything: through the study of time we confront and illuminate the deepest possible questions both as to the nature of the physical world and as to the nature of human existence.

Adrian's book list on time and our perception of time

Adrian Bardon Why did Adrian love this book?

Our best physical understanding of the universe has no place for the passage of time as a distinct dynamical process. What time it is ‘now’ is no more a fundamental aspect of the universe than what place is ‘here’. This strikes many as counter-intuitive or impossible. Philosopher Craig Callender takes the reader on a very thorough examination of modern physical theories of time in search of an explanation as to why the time of physics seems to diverge from the time of human experience. He argues that, due to the way the laws of physics are constituted, time is just the dimension that allows for the most informative explanations for physical phenomena.

By Craig Callender,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Makes Time Special? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As we navigate through life we instinctively model time as having a flowing present that divides a fixed past from open future. This model develops in childhood and is deeply saturated within our language, thought and behavior, affecting our conceptions of the universe, freedom and the self. Yet as central as it is to our lives, physics seems to have no room for this flowing present. What Makes Time Special? demonstrates this claim in detail and then turns
to two novel positive tasks. First, by looking at the world "sideways" - in the spatial directions - it shows that physics…


Book cover of Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime

William Egginton Author Of The Rigor of Angels: Borges, Heisenberg, Kant, and the Ultimate Nature of Reality

From my list on the ultimate nature of reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of humanities at Johns Hopkins and have spent my career thinking, teaching, and writing about the relations between literature, philosophy, and science. Many years ago I started out thinking I would be a scientist, but then got pulled into literature and philosophy. Still, that original passion never left me. As I studied and read the great authors and thinkers from Classical Antiquity through the Middle Ages to the modern era, the big, fundamental questions of our place in the universe and the ultimate nature of reality seemed as pertinent to poets and philosophers as it is to physicists and cosmologists. 

William's book list on the ultimate nature of reality

William Egginton Why did William love this book?

Sean Carroll has a special knack for explaining complicated stuff, and there a few things more complicated than comparing and contrasting the various competing interpretations of quantum mechanics.

Carroll has a horse in this race—the many worlds interpretation—and he’s not shy about making his case, which is in part why the book is so entertaining. A spirited polemicist, Carroll knows his chosen theory has many detractors, but he’s more than ready to debate. As a bonus his writing is as personable and witty as his explanations are clear.

By Sean Carroll,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Something Deeply Hidden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the Royal Society Winton Prize winner

'An authoritative and beautifully written account of the quest to understand quantum theory and the origin of space and time.' Professor Brian Cox

Quantum physics is not mystifying. The implications are mind-bending, and not yet fully understood, but this revolutionary theory is truly illuminating. It stands as the best explanation of the fundamental nature of our world.

Spanning the history of quantum discoveries, from Einstein and Bohr to the present day, Something Deeply Hidden is the essential guide to the most intriguing subject in science. Acclaimed physicist and writer Sean Carroll debunks the…


Book cover of The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality

Yael Lin Author Of The Intersubjectivity of Time: Levinas and Infinite Responsibility

From my list on time and its impact on human existence.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have time, save time, spend time, waste time, write, and teach time. I am fascinated with the question of time both as a cosmological phenomenon and as an aspect that is inseparable from our existence. I channeled this fascination into a PhD dissertation, books, and articles examining the relationship between time and human existence. But like Saint Augustine, I am still baffled by the question of time and like him: "If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it …, I do not know."

Yael's book list on time and its impact on human existence

Yael Lin Why did Yael love this book?

The question "what is time" troubles not only physicists and philosophers, but also captivates every human. The Fabric of the Cosmos offers a lucid examination of time (and space) that is accessible to the layperson. The book focuses on the notion of time from a cosmological perspective and explores questions from the realm of physics and philosophy. This book offered me ways to address questions that perplex me, such as: relative time and absolute time; whether time flows; whether time has a direction; the relation between quantum mechanics and time.

By Brian Greene,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fabric of the Cosmos as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Brian Greene, one of the world’s leading physicists and author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Elegant Universe, comes a grand tour of the universe that makes us look at reality in a completely different way.

Space and time form the very fabric of the cosmos. Yet they remain among the most mysterious of concepts. Is space an entity? Why does time have a direction? Could the universe exist without space and time? Can we travel to the past? Greene has set himself a daunting task: to explain non-intuitive, mathematical concepts like String Theory, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, and…


Book cover of How to Love the Universe: A Scientist's Odes to the Hidden Beauty Behind the Visible World

Paco Calvo Author Of Planta Sapiens: The New Science of Plant Intelligence

From my list on we, humans, are not that special.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm just a curious person. I have always been fascinated by literally everything. Everything is jaw-dropping: whether it's lying under a dark sky and marveling at the fact that what you see is the past (the time it takes for light from distant stars to reach your retina) or that your feelings for loved ones boil down to biochemistry, or thinking that intelligence is everywhere—from bacteria to plants and fungi, to Homo sapiens. As a university professor, I only understood later in life that I needed to leave that “ivory tower,” listen to non-academics, and read popular books that, in their apparent simplicity, can reach further and deeper.

Paco's book list on we, humans, are not that special

Paco Calvo Why did Paco love this book?

I savored this book sip by sip, wishing that each chapter would have lasted a little longer, a little longer. I felt a “healthy envy” for anyone lucky enough to have had a teacher like Klein in high school.

It’s impossible not to fall in love with the cosmos while reading his work. His ability to explain complex scientific concepts in an accessible and poetic manner is admirable.

Each chapter has given me an unforgettable early morning coffee, revealing at a pace the magic that science holds in every corner.

By Stefan Klein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Love the Universe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An eye-opening celebration of the marvels of space, time, the cosmos, and more

How to Love the Universe is a new kind of science writing by an author truly enamored of the world around him. In ten short chapters of lyrical prose―each one an ode to a breathtaking realm of discovery―Stefan Klein uses everyday objects and events as a springboard to meditate on the beauty of the underlying science.

Klein sees in a single rose the sublime interdependence of all life; a day of stormy weather points to the world’s unpredictability; a marble conjures the birth of the cosmos. As…


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