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A witty, engrossing journey through the science, culture, concept and nature of time, the latest from German science journalist Klein (The Science of Happiness), is a treatise on temporality brimming with insight. Exploring the extensive research on time perception-from Michel Siffre subjecting himself to months alone in a pitch-dark cave to the burrowing behavior of single-celled euglena-Klein amasses hard evidence, amusing anecdotes and unlikely consequences of the enormous disparity between time as we perceive it (inner time) and time as we conceptualize it (i.e., clock time). For example, an investigation into the slippery idea of "the present" indicates that "The Now is an Illusion," synthesized by the mind from disparate, often nonsimultaneous sensory elements: "The brain can delay the present by up to a half-second" in order to compensate for the relative speed of, say, sound over sight. Klein's suggestions for slowing down arise seamlessly throughout the book from the biological and physical data (well documented in chapter notes and a thorough bibliography), and the epilogue pares them down to six individual steps. Sure to give readers fresh perspective on their everyday lives, Klein's concepts are well illustrated in copious examples from literature and popular culture, and Frisch's fluid, flawless translation makes his text as captivating as it is enlightening. (Nov.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
The author of the best-selling Science of Happinessnow tackles time, approaching the topic from many angles: physiology of circadian rhythms, psychology of memory and perception of time, and physics of relativistic time. His epilog then moves toward self-help by applying the points made in the book to propose some tips for time management. Despite the breadth with which Klein addresses the subject, there is still depth to his discussions, which are well supported by cited research. There is a substantial body of work on time management and commentary on the increasing speed at which we live, but this title is unique in addressing questions such as how we perceive time and why we often feel we don't have enough of it. Recommended for all general science collections.
Posted August 16, 2009
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