Regular price: $17.50

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Everything you need to know about the beauty of modern physics.

In seven brief lessons, Italian theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli guides listeners with admirable clarity through the most transformative physics breakthroughs of the 20th and 21st centuries. This playful, entertaining, and mind-bending introduction to modern physics, already a major best seller in Italy, explains general relativity, quantum mechanics, elementary particles, gravity, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, and the role of humans in the strange world Rovelli describes.

This is a book about the joy of discovery. It takes listeners to the frontiers of our knowledge: to the most minute reaches of the fabric of space, back to the origins of the cosmos, and into the workings of our minds. "Here, on the edge of what we know, in contact with the ocean of the unknown, shines the mystery and the beauty of the world," Rovelli writes. "And it's breathtaking."

©2016 Carlo Rovelli (P)2016 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    339
  • 4 Stars
    153
  • 3 Stars
    72
  • 2 Stars
    15
  • 1 Stars
    10

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    257
  • 4 Stars
    137
  • 3 Stars
    76
  • 2 Stars
    27
  • 1 Stars
    21

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    315
  • 4 Stars
    126
  • 3 Stars
    56
  • 2 Stars
    16
  • 1 Stars
    6
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book for the scientifically curious

At times, the concepts in the book stretched scientific brain power that I haven't used in 20 years but it was nothing too daunting. if you've ever had a love of science, give it a try.

Oh and don't be afraid to rewind and listen to something again if you didn't catch it the first time.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Happy I found it

I'm sorry Carlo! but I had to listen extra careful because of the accent. :/

Great quick book on lessons that demonstrate the immense brain power of our science community. It took Albert nearly a decade to solve a problem even with his brain power. That blows my mind because it shows me how much more advanced he is than I. Data scientists should gather together and honor Einstein by creating an entity to compete with Watson

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Five Stars All Around.

This was my first experience with an audiobook. I have to say that I am sufficiently hooked after this reading. Even though the author has an accent, he speaks clearly and concisely, and is easy to understand. He explains complicated subjects in the same way: clearly and simply enough for someone like me, a layman relatively new to physics, to understand. I highly recommend this book.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Clear and concise

A clear & digestible summation of major physics theories spoken in layman's terms. A brief and thought-provoking refresher for those interested in the studies of physics without needing to be a professional in the field to comprehend the concepts presented.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 03-21-16

We are made of the same stardust...

"Physics opens windows through which we see far into the distance. What we see does not cease to astound us. We realize that we are full of prejudices and that our intuitive image of the world is partial, parochial, inadequate."
― Carlo Rovelli, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

At the highest level a discussion of physics doesn't just operate on a mathematical level, but a poetic and philosophical level as well. Look closely at the writings of Aristotle, Lucretius, Einstein and Feynman, and one discovers not just some code to the operation of the Universe, but love songs to that Universe, a desire to connect to and explain the beauty and transcendence of Nature and our role in this complex and amazing world.

This book reminds me of a funeral I went to for a former (obvious) client of mine. He was the first nuclear medicine physician in my state and had his PhD and MD. He was a friend and an amazing person. At my table in the church's cultural hall, after the service (but before the burial) was his son, who had his PhD in genetics, a Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist, and a theoretical physicist from UC Santa Barbara. The conversation drifted from music to politics to art to nature. It was random, beautiful, and one of those moments that happens by accident and you cherish for years to come. I am reminded of this meal when I read this book.

This book is short. It is 7 chapters (Six lesson and a conclusion) of about 10 pages each. Imagine you are having a nice, elegant, six course Italian meal with physicists past and present, poets, and philosophers outside in pricy Roman restaurant garden. It is night. It is dark. The canopy of the heavens spins above your heads. Each course brings a new topic. You discuss Einstein and the theory of relativity while eating the appetizer, you move onto Quanta as you eat the soup. The pasta is served just as the conversation turns to the architecture of the Cosmos. When the main course is served, people are already talking about Quarks and the Standard Model. The discussion gets intense. A Romaine salad is served and the host interrupts to talk about the grains of space and, since he is paying, he also talks about loop quantum gravity. Things are slowing down. It is late, the discussion jumps to probability, time, and the heat of black holes as the desert dishes are set down. Finally, as everyone is given their bitter digestifs, they move away to the table to walk in the gardens to discuss everyone's favorite subject: ourselves. Poetry and alcohol flow quickly, conversations grow hot and cold. The center cannot hold. The company departs.

21 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Hard to understand narrator

What did you like best about Seven Brief Lessons on Physics? What did you like least?

I liked the book, but it was difficult to understand the narrator, who is also the author. He has a heavy accent which made understanding technical terms and people's names problematic. This really got in the way for me to the point where I would not recommend the audio version of this book. If you want to read it, get the actual book or Kindle download.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Carlo Rovelli?

Someone with a native American accent.

Do you think Seven Brief Lessons on Physics needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

n/a

Any additional comments?

I get it that authors want to narrate their own book, but they should realize that, while they may be good writers, they probably aren't the best choice as a narrator. In this case, Rovelli's accent was a huge ongoing distraction. I've had other cases where the author didn't have an accent but it was still a bad choice. There are thousands of graduates from film, acting and theater schools who have learned how to speak clearly, with the right pace and emotion... book companies should use them. It doesn't make any more sense for an author to read his book than it does for a playwright to play the lead in his play. And if a book is aimed at an American audience, the reader should have an American accent, IMHO.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Accent to thick

Accent of the reader makes it difficult to understand. Content is good and with a new reader the book would be really good

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The poetics of science

I have listened to this book a number of times, not only for the inspiration of the content and the imagination-triggering descriptions but as much for the shear poetry of Rovelli's thick Italian accent. Obviously, his Italian to English translator is to be commended for helping shape Carlo's thoughts into concise yet poetic English, but - and I'm obviously in the minority here amongst my ever-biased and oft-ignorant fellow citizens - his narration is a thing of pure beauty, so much paralleling the insights into his explanations of human-discovered/uncovered understandings of our universe that so transcend our little lives that, if they don't leave us in awe and reverence, we're still back in the unaware-Ape stage of semi-human existence.

For anyone who reveals in science and art, the thoughts, writing, and delightful narration here feel as deep and rich as the insights of the Bard.

His final chapter on humanity in light of our fantastic discoveries about our universe in the last century is sober and thoughtful. Maybe my favorite takeaway from the book is the contrast of our forebears tracking antelope via their tracks (science) with the stories they told the night before of the antelope deity (myth) and, while the two are often conflated, they are distinct, yet influence each other in sparking the imagination and driving us to rigorously seek out coherent understandings of our universe, our world, and our lives.

A side note: for those whose hearing makes it hard to decipher other's accents, I acknowledge your desire for narration in your own accent. For all others who are off-put by Rovelli's accent, please A) get over yourselves and B) evolve. I know that's harsh, but holy cow people, can we try not to be the most embarrassingly ignorant world country?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Why ??

Would you try another book from Carlo Rovelli and/or Carlo Rovelli?

I would not. Why would anyone choose to read a book, whose subject is by nature, difficult for the masses and not choose a native English speaker to read? Carlo's accent is too strong for me.

Any additional comments?

I re-listened to the first lesson three times before I finally understood each word. Too much work, I'm returning it.

11 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful and clear description of modern physics.

Rovelli's descriptions of modern physics are clear, compelling, beautiful and thought provoking. They will change the way you see the world around you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful