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A Beginner's Guide to Immortality: Extraordinary People, Alien Brains, and Quantum Resurrection Paperback – December 27, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Clifford A. Pickover received his Ph.D. from Yale University and is the author of thirty-six highly acclaimed books on science, mathematics, art, and religion. His web site, pickover.com, has received several million visits.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (December 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560259841
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560259848
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,125,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

From my publisher:

Clifford A. Pickover received his Ph.D. from Yale University and is the author of over 30 books on such topics as computers and creativity, art, mathematics, black holes, religion, human behavior and intelligence, time travel, alien life, and science fiction.

Pickover is a prolific inventor with dozens of patents, is the associate editor for several journals, the author of colorful puzzle calendars, and puzzle contributor to magazines geared to children and adults.

WIRED magazine writes, "Bucky Fuller thought big, Arthur C. Clarke thinks big, but Cliff Pickover outdoes them both." According to The Los Angeles Times, "Pickover has published nearly a book a year in which he stretches the limits of computers, art and thought."
The Christian Science Monitor writes, "Pickover inspires a new generation of da Vincis to build unknown flying machines and create new Mona Lisas." Pickover's computer graphics have been featured on the cover of many popular magazines and on TV shows.

His web site, Pickover.Com, has received millions of visits. His Blog RealityCarnival.Com is one of his most popular sites.

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Paul Moskowitz TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
Live forever? Isn't that what immortality is all about? Well, yes and no. In this delightful new book by Clifford Pickover, the author explores many routes to immortality. This book continues the explorations that the author began in his previous "Sex, Drugs, Einstein & Elves." Throughout, he interweaves themes on the nature of reality, people of genius, and of course how to achieve immortality.

Early on, Pickover casts doubt on the thesis that you can achieve immortality by creating a work of literature. He lists a sampling of best-sellers from 1950. Most are not known today. Other more exotic routes to immortality may be through the quantum theory of many worlds. In one of these you may never die. Too bad it is not the one that you live in now. We may all have our thoughts replicated in the storage of a massive computer. Or better yet, there are enough stray electrical impulses in a cubic mile of lime Jell-O to mimic our thought processes so that we might find our eternity there. If this is too mechanistic for you, there remains the religious concept of an afterlife in heaven or perhaps in hell if you do not qualify for heaven.

On every page of this book, you can find a new idea explored. Are we at the beginning or the end of the human species? Can we actually be living in a simulation like that in the "Matrix" movie? Are people with additional fingers smarter? Where are the "missing links" in the record of evolution?

There is a mechanism that Pickover begins to explore at the end of the book. We are all linked to each other by the threads of our relationships. What is the Internet if not an instantiation of a giant network of relationships?
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By David J. Brown VINE VOICE on January 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
I really loved *A Beginner's Guide to Immortality*! Clifford Pickover summarized so many thought-provoking and mind-expanding ideas in this book that I thought my head might explode. I simply couldn't put this book down. Every page is bursting with so many creative ideas that I actually had to close my eyes every few minutes just to think about the implications of what he was saying. This book really expanded my perception of reality. Very highly recommended reading!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ray Erskins on January 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In "Sex, Drugs, Einstein & Elves" Cliff Pickover revealed a side of his personality that was well-camouflaged in his first thirty some-odd books on mathematics, time travel, fractals, aliens, patterns, puzzles, God, etc. Indeed, writing so many books in such a short time may be the root cause of his now irrepressible eclecticism. This latest effort, "A Beginner's Guide to Immortality: Extraordinary People, Aliens Brains, and Quantum Resurrection," has many similarities to SDE&E. Not only is it written with an exuberance that complements the author's multi-dimensional perspective, the prose remains clear and accessible even as Pickover explores the complex reaches of transcendental reality.

One of the highlights of "A Beginner's Guide to Immortality" is Chapter 3, "Gilgamesh, God, and the Language of Angels." Pickover confesses that the "Epic of Gilgamesh" is one of his deepest obsessions. And we get a feel for his zeal as he recounts the ancient Mesopotamian king's search for immortality. But there is also a lot of extraneous material in this chapter. It's a virtual Mind Salad of eclecticism. Pickover's brain is fizzing with ideas and impressions, perhaps as a result of his relentless work ethic and voracious reading habits, and they seem to inundate his consciousness as he writes. I find this stimulating. Others may differ, wishing instead for a simpler, more direct narrative line.

At his best, Pickover's mind is encyclopedic -- correction: it's Wikipedic! It's Google-alien! Who else would focus on "The Brain from Planet Arous" in a chapter about Truman Capote?
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By E. E. Kuersten on January 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pickover knows just what to say to kickstart the parts of your brain you haven't even used yet. Reading this book is like taking a walking tour through the magical zone where your life and reality and history and b-movies intersect. Educational, hilarious, mind-blowing, engaging and full of zest and zing, Pickover punctuates his prose with trenchant quotes aplenty. The thing you learn quick when traveling in the Pickover realm is that your brain is always growing and learning, and there is no limit to how far we can go. This guy's also got a generous heart and spirit, you can feel it in the words he writes, and that sort of hawk-eyed optimism for a transcendental, trans-dimensional future is damned contagious. I read this book and I feel like whatever happens, the collective mass of DNA we call the world/self is gonna be not only fine but blazin'! Plus it's light (nice soft pages) and has cool purple cover, with a skull!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By B Diddley on January 2, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished Pickover's book and like the way he bridges all sorts of different ideas, interspersed with great quotes form notables. For example, he weaves the lives of famous authors, Science Fiction Films, anthropologists, philosophers, scientists, mind altering drugs, mathematical equations into a fascinating and fun discovery of ideas and notions I never would have thought about. Particularly interesting are the strange, quirky and addictive habits and coincidences of highly creative people. As a non-academic, he made many topics easily accessible and a blast to read. I like the way he goes off on tangents, as they are always interesting. Any scientist who entertains notions of parallel universes, DMT ingestion, liver divination and intelligent design (to name a few) is OK in my book. Enjoy.
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A Beginner's Guide to Immortality: Extraordinary People, Alien Brains, and Quantum Resurrection
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