100 books like What Makes Time Special?

By Craig Callender,

Here are 100 books that What Makes Time Special? fans have personally recommended if you like What Makes Time Special?. 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 Order of Time

Isabel Hoving Author Of The Dream Merchant

From my list on showing that our world is a wildly different place.

Why am I passionate about this?

My favorite books all show me that reality is much, much richer and stranger than it seems. And that is exactly what makes me write myself. Already as a child, I wanted the world to be different. I longed for the other, richer realities that were, I felt, just around the corner. So I started to travel, to Senegal and beyond, and learn about other people’s life experiences. When I became a researcher of world literature, it truly came home to me how one-sided my view of the world was. Ouch. Fortunately, there is a wealth of stories out there to tell us about everything we have been blind to. 

Isabel's book list on showing that our world is a wildly different place

Isabel Hoving Why did Isabel love this book?

Carlos Rovelli’s The Order of Time is not at all a fantasy book—it is science—but nevertheless the most inspiring, life changing fantasy I’ve ever read. If I look around me with scientist Rovelli’s eyes, I too see that “the world is made up of networks of kisses, not of stones.” Beautiful, weird, and scientifically accurate. True fantasy! 

By Carlo Rovelli,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Order of Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE #1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

One of TIME's Ten Best Nonfiction Books of the Decade

'Captivating, fascinating, profoundly beautiful. . . Rovelli is a wonderfully humane, gentle and witty guide for he is as much philosopher and poet as he is a scientist' John Banville

'We are time. We are this space, this clearing opened by the traces of memory inside the connections between our neurons. We are memory. We are nostalgia. We are longing for a future that will not come'

Time is a mystery that does not cease to puzzle us. Philosophers, artists and poets have long explored…


Book cover of Felt Time: The Science of How We Experience Time

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?

What is our ‘sense of time’, and why does it vary so much depending on circumstances and our state of mind? Cognitive psychologist Marc Wittmann explores the relationship between consciousness and the sense of being an embodied agent persisting through time. Drawing on cognitive science and neuroscience, he investigates the many factors that affect our experience of time, such as occupation, impulsivity, and mindfulness.

By Marc Wittmann, Marc Wittmann, Erik Butler (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An expert explores the riddle of subjective time, from why time speeds up as we grow older to the connection between time and consciousness.

We have widely varying perceptions of time. Children have trouble waiting for anything. (“Are we there yet?”) Boredom is often connected to our sense of time passing (or not passing). As people grow older, time seems to speed up, the years flitting by without a pause. How does our sense of time come about? In Felt Time, Marc Wittmann explores the riddle of subjective time, explaining our perception of time—whether moment by moment, or in terms…


Book cover of How Physics Makes Us Free

John T. Maier Author Of Options and Agency

From my list on defending the reality of free will.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a philosopher and psychotherapist, with a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Princeton. From the beginning of my work in philosophy, I have been interested in the nature of agency: what is it to be an agent, and how is agency even possible in the first place? These questions naturally drew me to the metaphysics of free will, as well as related topics in the logic and semantics of agentive modality (that is, the kind of possibility and necessity that is characteristic of agents). Much of my recent work has been on more clinical issues, especially on understanding addiction. I continue to be fascinated by fundamental topics in metaphysics, and especially the question of free will.

John's book list on defending the reality of free will

John T. Maier Why did John love this book?

Ismael is one of our leading philosophers of physics, and of fundamental questions more generally.

This book is a comprehensive exploration of the intersection of physics and free will, with the surprising moral signaled by her title. Properly understood, contemporary physics, even if it is deterministic, does not threaten free will. On the contrary, it helps to explain how free beings like us are possible in the first place.

By J.T. Ismael,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How Physics Makes Us Free as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1687 Isaac Newton ushered in a new scientific era in which laws of nature could be used to predict the movements of matter with almost perfect precision. Newton's physics also posed a profound challenge to our self-understanding, however, for the very same laws that keep airplanes in the air and rivers flowing downhill tell us that it is in principle possible to predict what each of us will do every second of our entire lives, given the early conditions of the
universe.

Can it really be that even while you toss and turn late at night in the throes…


Book cover of Relativity Visualized

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?

Relativity Visualized is simply the secret weapon for understanding Einstein’s theory of relativity. Professor of physics Lewis Carroll Epstein uses brilliant, accessible visualizations (and no equations!) to help any reader to a good conceptual grasp of special and general relativity. If you want relativity without the math, this is the one.

By Lewis Carroll Epstein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The latest book in the brilliant, bestselling Sharpe series brings Sharpe to Portugal, and reunites him with Harper.

It is 1809 and Lieutenant Sharpe, who belongs to a small British army that has a precarious foothold in Portugal, is sent to look for Kate Savage, the daughter of an English wine shipper. But before he can discover the missing girl, the French onslaught on Portugal begins and the city of Oporto falls.

Sharpe is stranded behind enemy lines, but he has Patrick Harper, he has his riflemen and he has the assistance of a young, idealistic Portuguese officer. Together, they…


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 The Direction 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?

Most academics have played the game David Lodge calls “Humiliations” in his novel Changing Places: you have to list books that you should have read but didn’t, the more scandalous the better. For a while, Reichenbach’s book was my go-to. I was writing my PhD on the direction of time but hadn’t read Reichenbach. Because it was old I figured I indirectly knew everything in it. Holy moly was I wrong! Not only is The Direction of Time the first serious blend of good philosophy and physics tackling the direction of time — plus a great example of the type of philosophy I deeply value — but it is still packed with insights. No question, I should have read it earlier in my life.  

By Hans Reichenbach,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ever a source of philosophical conjecture and debate, the concept of time represents the beating heart of physics. This final work by the distinguished physicist Hans Reichenbach represents the culmination and integration of a lifetime's philosophical contributions and inquiries into the analysis of time. The result is an outstanding overview of such qualitative, or topological, attributes of time as order and direction.
Beginning with a discussion of the emotive significance of time, Reichenbach turns to an examination of the time order of mechanics, the time direction of thermodynamics and microstatistics, the time direction of macrostatistics, and the time of quantum…


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 No Beauties or Monsters

Candice Marley Conner Author Of The Existence of Bea Pearl

From my list on YA mysteries to channel your inner Nancy Drew.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up reading Nancy Drew books creekside in an Alabama swamp and developed a deep adoration of mysteries with atmospheric, creepy settings. I love the idea of strong female protagonists who take matters into their own hands and don’t sit idly by, so not only do I read books that have them as main characters, but I write them too. In addition to writing, I’m lucky enough to be a kidlit haint at a haunted indie bookshop, so reading and recommending the books I enjoy is literally my job!

Candice's book list on YA mysteries to channel your inner Nancy Drew

Candice Marley Conner Why did Candice love this book?

Read this if you devour mysteries served with a side of science fiction. The main character, Rylie, moves back to Twentynine Palms in her grandfather’s old house in the Mojave Desert. Weird things are happening. Then Rylie finds out that her childhood best friend’s sister disappeared and her grandfather may be involved. Rylie keeps losing time. Who is the bad guy?? Nobody knows. Is it the grandfather? The guy on the news? The government Rylie’s mom works for? Her new stepbrother who may be too helpful? Her childhood bestie? Rylie herself? I couldn’t put this one down!

By Tara Goedjen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Beauties or Monsters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

“A desert full of mystery. A girl who sees things she shouldn’t. Desperate to unlock the secrets of Twentynine Palms, I raced through this book!” —Erin A. Craig, New York Times bestselling author of House of Salt and Sorrows
 
For fans of Stranger Things and Veronica Mars comes a new YA mystery about a girl whose desperate search for her missing friend unearths dark secrets, preternatural threats, and a truth that could ultimately tear her family, friends, and town apart.

Welcome to Twentynine Palms, where nothing is what it seems.
 

Rylie hasn't been back to the military base in Twentynine…


Book cover of Time Out of Joint

Jesse Karp Author Of Those That Wake

From my list on a world under secret control.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the 1970s, still in contention for America’s most paranoid decade (thanks, Watergate). Practically everything I watched, listened to or read (right down to my beloved superhero comics) was asking, what’s hiding behind the world around you? I don’t think of myself as a paranoid guy – I don’t, for instance, believe in a real life Deep State – but these are the sorts of stories that resonate for me. Taken less literally, they do ask worthwhile and still disturbingly relevant questions: what is beneath the world you know and see every day? What is right in front of you, both good and bad, that you aren’t seeing?

Jesse's book list on a world under secret control

Jesse Karp Why did Jesse love this book?

Suburbanite Ragle Gumm is overcome with a sense of urgency to play a bizarre newspaper game every day. He’s so good at it, he makes a living from its cash prizes. But lately, his world seems to be fraying around him. Things he sees and knows are suddenly...not. And if you can’t trust the very ground you’re standing on, what’s left? This takes the whole “maybe my world isn’t what I think it is” idea about as far as it can go, and it was just about the first story to ever do that. The best, most satisfying book I ever read about a banal, mundane world that turns out to be anything but.

By Philip K. Dick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ragle Gumm is an ordinary man leading an ordinary life, except that he makes his living by entering a newspaper contest every day - and winning, every day.

But he gradually begins to suspect that his life - indeed his whole world - is an illusion, constructed around him for the express purpose of keeping him docile and happy. But if that is the case, what is his real world like, and what is he actually doing every day when he thinks he is guessing 'Where Will The Little Green Man Be Next?'


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