How the World Became Obsessed With Time

Simon Garfield

We have brought this cauldron of rush upon ourselves. Time seems faster because we have made it so
Timekeepers (Paperback ISBN 9781782113218) book cover

Available as Paperback, Hardback, eBook

An entertaining and authoritative exploration of how and why time has come to rule our lives from the bestselling author of Just My Type



Not so long ago we timed our lives by the movement of the sun. These days our time arrives atomically and insistently, and our lives are propelled by the notion that we will never have enough of the one thing we crave the most. How have we come to be dominated by something so arbitrary?

The compelling stories in this book explore our obsessions with time. An Englishman arrives back from Calcutta but refuses to adjust his watch. Beethoven has his symphonic wishes ignored. A moment of war is frozen forever. The timetable arrives by steam train. A woman designs a ten-hour clock and reinvents the calendar. Roger Bannister becomes stuck in the same four minutes forever. A British watchmaker competes with mighty Switzerland. And a prince attempts to stop time in its tracks.

Timekeepers is a vivid exploration of the ways we have perceived, contained and saved time over the last 250 years, narrated in the highly inventive and entertaining style that bestselling author Simon Garfield is fast making his own. As managing time becomes the greatest challenge we face in our lives, this multi-layered history helps us tackle it in a sparkling new light.

“Digressive, gossipy, thoughtful and thoroughly entertaining … Simon Garfield is an exuberant truffle-hound of the recondite and delightful factoid”
the Sunday Times

See more reviews

“Thoroughly enjoyable and illuminating … Stuffed with fascinating material”

“A sort of museum between hard covers. Timekeepers is as good as pop history gets”
sunday Express

“Time well spent … Simon Garfield has made his name as an author who can spin fascinating narratives out of subjects that seem, on the face of it, narrow to the point of being dull”
financial Times

“Scholarly but jokey, with a magpie’s appetite for glittering trivia, Garfield is as eager to amuse as to inform, and achieves both”

Simon Garfield

Simon Garfield is the author of seventeen acclaimed books of non-fiction including A Notable Woman (as editor), To the Letter, On the Map, Just My Type and Mauve. His study of AIDS in Britain, The End of Innocence, won the Somerset Maugham prize. www.simongarfield.com