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The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 1, 2011
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More About the Author
His home page is at http://around.com, and on Twitter he is @JamesGleick.
Top Customer Reviews
Gleick, a science journalist and chronicler of physics provides interesting background material and simple enough explanations for anyone who wishes to learn about the areas of information theory that influence our times, technologies and businesses. He also gives enough detail for the interested undergraduate student whose field is not primarily in the sciences. But, the unification of science, phenomena, history and biography is also of considerable interest to those like myself who have extensive training in the "information sciences" but seek a wider context for their previously acquired knowledge.
One slight criticism, I have for this otherwise excellent and comprehensive review of the theory of information and its history, is in the area of its relation to physics and the structure of the world (universe).Read more ›
Unfortunately the rest of the book falls far short of this strong standard. Glieck attempts to tackle too much, offering forgettable takes on topics including dictionaries, telegraphs, Charles Babbage, Wikipedia, memes, and information surfeit. These topics are not well-anchored to the central topic of information theory, and serve to muddle the work. But most disappointingly, the chapters on biology (Ch. 10) and quantum physics (Ch. 13) leave a ton to be desired. Glieck barely scratches the surface of the application of information theory to biology (particularly neuroscience), and the discussion of quantum information begs many more questions to be answered. What Glieck does introduce about these topics is disjointed and in need of serious editing. For instance, Glieck introduces Christopher Fuchs and quantum information theory, but before the discussion really goes anywhere, he shifts to a cursory discussion of black holes and information before shifting to an equally vacuous discussion of quantum computation and teleportation.Read more ›
In a revealing work, backed by painstaking research, James Gleick, has combed the archives to show us some absorbing details and insights on how the structure of information progressed from clay tablets to telegraph to cloud technology.
This is a hefty book, but its theme can be shortly stated. Mr. Gleick believes "in the long run, history is the story of information becoming aware of itself."
Context can be everything in historical interpretation, as James Gleick makes clear in his convincing prolog that "the alphabet was a founding technology of information; the telephone, the fax machine, the calculator and, ultimately the computer are only the latest innovations devised for saving, manipulating, and communicating knowledge." Mr. Gleick's narrative builds into a fulfilling and thought-provoking story.
The author begins with the amazing tale of how African drums communicated, then shifts to Robert Cawdrey's "Table Alphabeticall in 1604. He shows us how time and space are minimized and global consciousness realized.
At more than 500 pages, with few illustrations, this book looks terrifying. But the pages dissolve quickly as Mr. Gleick introduces us to a range of vivid characters, such as colorful Charles Babbage, the inventor of the ever growing difference machine in 1822.
After twenty years of development it weighed 15 tons with over 25,000 precision parts. But by 1842 the British government had grown weary of Babbage's pork barrel project. "What shall we do to get rid of Mr. Babbage and his calculating machine?" asked Prime Minister Robert Peel.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great listen - several times over. Found the book a tough read, but the audio version made it much more enjoyable.Published 10 days ago by FP
An amazing read for anyone intersted in how the minds of yesterday got us to the information age of today. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mehmet V. Bozatli
very interesting to read so much about a simple thing like information ( at least to me it was simple till i read this book!). Read morePublished 2 months ago by chandru sharma
A historical/philosophical approach to how our information age developed and the theories behind data, its' encoding, and crypto. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Frequent Buyer
This is the most incredible book I've ever read. I can't say more than that.Published 2 months ago by Sarah Lemke
I found this book to be a little difficult to get into, and at times it suffers from the same phenomenon as the history it describes: the problem of too much information to make... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jim and Judy Leth