The heart of this book lies not in the promised decipherment of the title but in Miller’s excellent dual biography of two men who changed their fields. Physicist Pauli was a brilliant but unhappy womanizer when his life’s disturbances led him to consult with Jung, famous for connecting psychology with spirituality. The relationship was a fruitful one on both sides, with Pauli making peace with his unsettled soul and continuing his groundbreaking theorizing, while Jung gained understanding of principles of contemporary physics that led, albeit circuitously, to his articulation of the idea of synchronicity, which he felt was one of his most important contributions. A series of Pauli’s vivid dreams, together with Jung’s analysis of them, forms an unexpectedly rich centerpiece of the book. And the cosmic number? A bit of bait-and-switch, that, as it is only briefly mentioned. But a worthy book, nonetheless.
“Arthur I. Miller is a master at capturing the intersection of creativity and intelligence. He did it with Einstein and Picasso, and now he does it with Pauli and Jung. Their shared obsession with the number 137 provides a window into their genius.” (Walter Isaacson)