Earth Science

Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World

Why an awareness of Earth's temporal rhythms is critical to our planetary survival


Feb 11, 2020
5.5 x 8.5 in.
12 b/w illus.
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Few of us have any conception of the enormous timescales of our planet’s long history, and this narrow perspective underlies many of the environmental problems we are creating. The lifespan of Earth can seem unfathomable compared to the brevity of human existence, but this view of time denies our deep roots in Earth’s history—and the magnitude of our effects on the planet. Timefulness reveals how knowing the rhythms of Earth’s deep past and conceiving of time as a geologist does can give us the perspective we need for a more sustainable future. Featuring illustrations by Haley Hagerman, this compelling book offers a new way of thinking about our place in time, showing how our everyday lives are shaped by processes that vastly predate us, and how our actions today will in turn have consequences that will outlast us by generations.

This edition includes discussion questions for reading groups.

Book club discussion questions

Marcia Bjornerud: Grandmothers of Geoscience

Q&A with Marcia Bjornerud

Awards and Recognition

  • Shortlisted for the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, Phi Beta Kappa Society
  • Finalist for the 2019 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Science & Technology
  • Winner of the 2019 PROSE Award in Popular Science & Popular Mathematics, Association of American Publishers
  • Longlisted for the 2019 PEN/E.O. Wilson Prize for Literary Science Writing Award, PEN American Center
  • One of EcoLit Books' Best Environmental Books of 2018
  • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year