Book: The Quantum Rules: How the Laws of Physics Explain Love, Success, and Everyday Life

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Next: Chapter 1 A Quantum of Happiness

INTRODUCTION

Ask your friends, “What are your thoughts on life?” “How do you explain human behavior?” “Why are relationships so hard?” or questions of that sort, and you’re sure to get all kinds of answers, some obvious, some funny, some wild and whimsical, but I bet none of them would involve the laws of quantum physics. After all, what could quantum physics possibly tell us about our lives or the people around us? A great deal, actually, as this book will show. In quantum physics, we can find answers and justifications for almost every aspect of our lives, from the fundamentally profound—such as why life is so full of compromises—to the utterly mundane—like why it always takes effort to keep things tidy. As we seek out those hidden quantum connections and parallels, we will come up with often surprising and sometimes amusing insights into our life experiences. The universality of the themes considered here means that this book is truly intended for all literate practitioners of this thing we call life. Therefore, to make sure that no one is left out, I deliberately avoid math and dense logic with the firm belief that they are not necessary to communicate the essence of great ideas, even in quantum physics.

Two realms, which have always been considered antipodal and absolutely un-relatable, come together in this book: the realm of everyday life (personal, social, relational, and financial) and the realm of the fundamental laws of physics. Therefore, you can read this either as a book about life that offers a completely different and novel perspective or as a brand new kind of popular science book where the abstract concepts of quantum physics are framed in terms to which we can all relate.

Although the book is intended for a broad audience, physicists will also find much of interest here. As far as I know, this is the only serious attempt ever at bridging what I call the “Physicists’ Dilemma,” which is that, while they themselves are absolutely convinced that they are dealing with the most important things in the universe, they can rarely make their work seem relevant or genuinely engaging, even to their friends and families. Fascination and curiosity are not enough—relevance is crucial. The goal here is to make quantum physics relevant and relatable to everyone.

Each chapter can be read independently of all the other chapters. So, if you get a bit stuck on some idea in one chapter, feel free to move on to another one and come back to it. Every chapter explores the implications of one idea or set of closely related ideas important in quantum physics. But with physical laws being generally interconnected, there are bound to be occasional references to other chapters. However, in most cases, they are not absolutely essential to understanding the material at hand, and I will point out the few exceptions as and when they arise.

The ideas presented here draw intriguing parallels between the rules of life and the laws of quantum physics. This correspondence is relevant, because almost all our knowledge and wisdom is based on our drawing analogies and connections between what we learn and what we already know well. Often, the parallels are so eerily close as to make us wonder if our consciousness really sets us that much apart from the physical and inanimate universe, beyond the reach of its laws.

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Next: Chapter 1 A Quantum of Happiness