There Are Places in the World Where Rules Are Less Important Than Kind

There Are Places in the World Where Rules Are Less Important Than Kindness

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Peta's Review 

Having been totally mesmerised by Sarah Perry’s new novel, Enlightenment, I was drawn, like Thomas Hart, to the stars, to the moon, to cosmic beauty.  Perry’s novel shows how over the course of our life, we do not stay the same. We change, as Perry says, in our religion, in our loves, our passions, indeed in so many ways. Thomas Hart begins by essentially just describing the moon to his readers, but by the end is talking quantum physics. Perry therefore felt she needed to study physics in order to understand the progress of Thomas’ growth. So she turned to Carlo Rovelli, the Italian physicist and poet. And so did I.

Carlo Rovelli has not only made a significant contribution to scientific knowledge and our understanding of space and time, but also to the way we see the world. There are Places in the World Where Rules are Less Important than Kindness, is a collection of short essays in which Rovelli reflects on atheism, black holes, psychedelic experiences, his love of poetry and philosophy, and those intellectual surprises which cause us to gasp in awe. Each essay is elegantly written and despite the often-heavy subject matter, totally accessible.  In the final essay Rovelli makes comment on the recent pandemic, stressing it was “not really anyone’s fault. It is not like war, triggered by human folly.” He ends by saying that we are not the masters of this world. We are mortal, we struggle, we make mistakes but ultimately, writes Rovelli, despite everything, life is beautiful, and trying to figure it out is half the joy. The closing lines of Enlightenment very much echo Rovelli. Perry writes: "Perhaps this is wonder, Thomas, and this is the whole of the law: you are here. You are here." I may not be as conversant in quantum physics as Thomas Hart, but I am certainly enlightened and enriched having read Rovelli.

There are Places in the World Where Rules are Less Important than Kindness is something which will stay on my bedside table. It is a book which can be picked up often, read and reread. Oh, and pick up a copy of Sarah Perry’s Enlightenment too!

Publisher's Review 

One of the most inspiring thinkers of our age transforms the way we think about the world with his reflections on science, history and humanity

One of our most beloved scientists, a fearless free spirit, Carlo Rovelli is also a masterful storyteller. In this collection of writings, the logbook of an intelligence always on the move, he follows his curiosity and invites us on a voyage through science, literature, philosophy and politics.

Written with his usual clarity and wit, these pieces, most of which were first published in Italian newspapers, range widely across time and space- from Newton's alchemy to Einstein's mistakes, from Nabokov's butterflies to Dante's cosmology, from travels in Africa to the consciousness of an octopus, from mind-altering psychedelic substances to the meaning of atheism. Charming, pithy and elegant, this book is the perfect gateway to the universe of one of the most influential physicists of our age.