The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick
From the bestselling author of the acclaimed Chaos and Genius comes a thoughtful and provocative exploration of the big ideas of the modern era: Information, communication, and information theory. Acclaimed science writer James Gleick presents an eye-opening vision of how our relationship to information has transformed the very nature of human consciousness. A fascinating intellectual journey through the history of communication and information, from the language of Africa’s talking drums to the invention of written alphabets; from the electronic transmission of code to the origins of information theory, into the new information age and the current deluge of news, tweets, images, and blogs. Along the way, Gleick profiles key innovators, including Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, Samuel Morse, and Claude Shannon, and reveals how our understanding of information is transforming not only how we look at the world, but how we live.
A New York Times Notable Book A Los Angeles Times and Cleveland Plain Dealer Best Book of the Year Winner of the PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
JAMES GLEICK is our leading chronicler of science and modern technology. His first book, Chaos, a National Book Award finalist, has been translated into twenty-five languages. His best-selling biographies, Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman and Isaac Newton, were short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize. The Information was seven years in the making. Gleick divides his time between New York and Florida.
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood 4 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
A word often used with Glieck's books is "scholarly". Thats a good word
and usually it means "complete" and "has depth."
I can't use that word with The Information, but something close to it,
thats maybe not as complimentary; "textbook".
The Information needed an editor with a more liberal use of the blue
pen. Unlike a scholarly work that you find enjoyment in, The Information
sometimes simply plods. I often felt I was working through it, trying to get to the, well, information. Like a textbook.
There is a great book in here though. The diamond in this rough is
the exposition about Claude Shannon and those that, along with him
(like Alan Turing and Norbert Weiner and Jon Von Neumann) devised
Information Theory and put it on the straight path towards the future.
Here Gleick shines, effortlessly pulling together the personal,
professional and theoretical with breathtaking ease. Gleick makes his
subjects live, breath, think and argue but also shows you *what* they were thinking and arguing about in an interesting and easy to follow way.
Overall its not a bad book, just something you'd more enjoy perusing
than going through start to finish.
The bottom line for this one is that you should pull out your wallet
and go past the credit card...to the library card.
More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. I liked it a lot, even though much of it was WAY over my head. The level of my non-understanding began to depress me about two-thirds of the way through, but by the end I felt strangely revived. I think that the discussion of Charles Bennett's work helped my frame of mind. It's comforting to hear that some information professionals actually value quality over quantity and that not everyone defines complexity the same way. I believe that Mr. Gleick presumes more knowledge on the part of his readers than most of them possess. But this may just be his way of protecting his work from jumping the shark, bit by bit.
More than 1 year ago
Worthwhile for anyone wanting to know the history of information, and how we got to where we are now. The quick summary: it all changed in 1948. The book keeps a fairly tight focus on information theory, including its ties to modern physics. Might be a little technical for some.
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