Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

by Douglas R. Hofstadter

Paperback(20th Anniversary Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465026562
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 02/01/1999
Series: Art of Mentoring Series
Edition description: 20th Anniversary Edition
Pages: 824
Sales rank: 45,536
Product dimensions: 9.04(w) x 10.88(h) x 1.71(d)

About the Author

Douglas R. Hofstadter is College of Arts and Sciences Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he also directs the Center for Research on Concepts and Cognition.

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Godel Escher Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The headline I just wrote might sound like a negative, but it's not. Hofstadter's book, which is literally in a class by itself, reaches out in thought to music, art, biology, writing, religion... and all the rest of it, all through the lens of the proof of Godel's incompleteness theorem, which is about the inability of proving something about a system from within the system. And that, to my mind, is pretty much everything there is to say about 'mind'. What else can I say? I was a 24-year-old with a B.A. in English and no math since High School algebra II when I read this book now I'm a PhD in mathematics, and I use this book in a first year seminar.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very thought provoking book. When you have finished it's 700+ pages you will feel as if you have gone through an entire year's worth of courses. It touches on art, philosophy, artificial intelligence, mathematics, and ascetics. It is a journey through cognition that I have never encountered before. Hofstadter is truly a genius. My only complaints are that he can be a bit long winded, and the reading becomes dry. But the read is deffinatley worth it. This book changed my life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I came early to a love of logic, and to my love of Escher upon needing posters for my dorm room, but this book introduced me to both Goedel and Bach. And so many other things and ways to think. By the end of my Bachelor's it had also helped me through my single grad level course--one semester spent on this very theorem. He does more than make complex ideas accessible, he makes them compelling. I find it hard to convince people to pick this book up, but even harder to convince them to put it down--by the end of second year, we'd all read it and fallen under its sway. It's worth reading again every few years, because it doesn't all fit in my head at once--there's always more to learn. I can't recommend it too highly. I think of it as the adult non-fiction Phantom Tollbooth.
Michael_McInnis More than 1 year ago
Amazing book. Hofstadter's clean, lucid prose offers a deeper understanding of the topics covered in this book. Would rexommend to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'll start with two things. First, I've yet to even finish. Second, I already know this book is one of the most important I've ever read. This book is a mountain to climb through, don't start unless you're willing to get into something big. Be prepared to spend alot of time thinking about it before you understand, and don't aim to read it as fast as you can. Read a chapter a day and you're good. The book is almost impossible to describe in terms of what it is about. It talks about a little of everything. Brains, Zen, Math, Language, computers and artificial intelligence, you will learn about everything. I know this review wasn't as detailed as it could have been, but there were none before and that was a shame, and I'm low on time. What it boils down to is this, I cannot possible give a review that would describe what this book is, but take me at my word when I say it is one of the most important books out there.
juha on LibraryThing 28 days ago
A highly imaginative and smooth approach Gödel's incompleteness results. This is a eloquent part of the debate regarding the Mechanism, the idea that human intellect is in a sense revertable to a formal system. For a contrast, I suggest J. R. Lucas' papers on "flooring" the mechanism.
Ricket on LibraryThing 28 days ago
One of the all time greats! Entire college courses are devoted to this book (and that is understandable). The fun part about this book is that you can open it to any page and begin reading it. You won't understand most of it until after the 54th read, so no need to read it sequentially. Pure excellence.
jtburman on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Instead of attending all the boring lectures in an upper-year AI class, I read this and some of the books it cited. I got an A+. (And the best thing is, you can read pieces and it still makes sense.)
RobKohr on LibraryThing 28 days ago
A bit slow at times, and very challenging at others. A good book for people interested in programming, math, logic, and recursion.
BrianDewey on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Hofstadter, Douglas R.. Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid. Vintage, 1979. I admit it: I only finished the first part of the book. I'm already familiar w/ much of the material from my theory of computation class. However, I was still delighted by Hofstadter's wit. One day I'll finish this.
Arctic-Stranger on LibraryThing 28 days ago
A delightful romp through the world of math, music and philosophy. I am not a math person, but had little trouble following Hofstadter down his various rabbit holes. Engaging, intelligent, articulate. Everything a good book should be.
shawnd on LibraryThing 28 days ago
This is somewhere between a Grand Unified Theory of science, culture, and spirituality, and something ny Ray Kurzweil. It defies description. It's a nonfiction book, this is clear. The topics the book revolves around are Godel's Theorem, the artwork of MC Escher, and music of Bach. These tie in with topics like Zen Buddhism and Zen riddles called koans; Alan Turing and artificial intelligence; recursiveness in nature and everywhere; and DNA. The author does not provide a treatise on each of these topics. Rather, he finds common underpinnings to each of these and finds how they weave together to exist and effect our world. As another reviewer said, if one reads this book, they will never forget it. Interrelationships serve to teach, confuse, and syncretize something beyond all of this. Here's a quote from the description of one of the chapters: "In a way, Zen ideas bear a methaphorical resemblance to some contemporary ideas in the philosophy of mathematics." The 'dialogues' - which is perhaps where Ray Kurzweil got the idea - are a recurring segment having a Turtle converse with Achilles in a Dialogue back and forth using the Socratic method of sorts. It tends to annoy and does not provide educational benefit. Further, my simple mind could not grasp a good 50% of the mathematical formulas in the book - so I suspect this book is more rewarding the more numerical intelligence one has. Even so, everyone should take a crack at this book and for many I suspect it is a mind-changer.
lorin on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This is one of those books that everybody raves about, so I felt compelled to add it to my list. However, I wasn't as impressed with this book as the buzz indicates. I enjoy the subject matter very much, but this one didn't really speak to me.
DCash on LibraryThing 3 months ago
A brilliant book. Do not give up because of the seemingly pointless collection the first chapters constitute; the author IS goign somewhere..
phiroze on LibraryThing 3 months ago
A book about brilliance that appears to be too bright!Still the statement that genius is about pattern generation and recognition is something that I have come to appreciate.
benfulton on LibraryThing 3 months ago
The amazing thing about this book is how Dr. Hofstadter manages to draw analogies between art, writing, music, and mathematics. I highly recommend working your way to the end, even if you just lightly skim the mathematics. The fugue with four voices in dialog at the end is quite a piece of writing.
heidilove on LibraryThing 3 months ago
a nice (if dry at times) investigation of the convergence of the schools of though which not only govern our world but actually define it.
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