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Four Lives: A Celebration of Raymond Smullyan Hardcover – February 19, 2014
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Top Customer Reviews
That said, it was interesting to me to see some of Smullyan's non-logic writing. It was educational as far as it went, but it didn't tempt me to get the original books. So if you want to pick and choose among Smullyan's writings, I guess this would be a useful way to figure out what you liked.
The book begins with short essays on Smullyan from a number of people who knew him, or were correspondents. These are earnest with some amusing anecdotes (unfortunately, some are repeated) and insights into Smullyan's personality and work. Most of them are just not interesting enough for a book. If you knew either Smullyan or the essay author they would make amusing dinner conversation, but most people aren't going to buy a book to read mildly entertaining stories by people they don't know about people they don't know. Undoubtedly someone will someday fashion this and other material into a biography, which I will be very interested to read. But the undigested raw material is less than compelling.
This certainly isn't a bad book. It reminds me of the scrapbooks people put together for retirement parties, with testimonials and pictures and reminisces. But nobody pays to read those, even if the honoree is as accomplished and unique as Smullyan. By all means celebrate the great man, but do it by buying one of his books. By all means celebrate the circle of love, respect and accomplishment that surrounds people; but do it with your own friends, even if they don't measure up to Smullyan's incredible standards.