As a fan of history podcasts and world history (check out Dan Carlin's Hardcore History for absolute listening crack cocaine), I often wondered about the internet and it's potential impact on society at large.
Often I had suggested in forums that this topic should be examined as, aside from the printing press, I could think of no example in human history where one invention had so connected the world. Logically I was curious to see what other examples could be found, and if they could offer a predictor for possible outcomes of such connectivity.
While the book doesn't offer any predictions, it does uniformly cover the creation of not just the internet, but the curation of ideas, and the connectedness of man in many different facets.
Hearing the history of mankinds efforts to connect, their soaring successes, the ideas ahead of their time, and the results of all of them at the time, has helped me weed through information overload, and feel more at peace with a world where you cannot turn without hitting a screen, a fact, or a transmission of some kind every moment of the day.
The book was a perfect drink to quench my history of information thirst. AMAZING!
Sure - the book unfolds and builds so effectively.
I read Chaos Theory by Gleick after listening to The Information -- another fascinating book. Gleick is the new voice of the history of science.
Gleick's description of how scientists figured out how the talking drums in Africa communicated.
A must read for anyone interested in science and the culture at large. Also Rob Shapiro voices the book perfectly - a pleasure to hear him read.
I am a voracious audiobook listener. I listen to everything: fiction, business, technology, politics...I need an interesting story, intriguing characters, and a fast pace to keep me interested.
This is among the top three (of several hundred).
The talking drums stuck with me. I have told that story over and over.
Yes. I found the content and the narration very good. Given the massive scope and content in this book, I was hooked and the narration was something I felt made it easy to listen to for long periods of time. Listening to the book again is needed to get the timeline of key events and people into order. I think IT workers and any knowledge workers would find this book interesting in understanding the history of information and where information management is going.
The historical characters are brought to life in this book. Even though learning about 'information' may sound boring, this book made it really interesting with all its human stories and conflicts.
The Information is a terrific idea for a book. Unfortunately what Gleick has produced is much more like a college professor's lecture notes compiled into book form. Very heavy on the history of information, beginning with the development of language, and continuing to the modern day information technologies. There are no conclusions sought, no parables discovered and no insights revealed, just a retelling of historical progression. Even the long epilogue doesn't really serve to enlighten, more just to illustrate the current developments in information theory and information quantum theory - an interesting topic if developed, but it is mostly elaborately defined.
Only recommended for those an insatiable interest in the topic; everyone else will be put off by the pedantic tone and drone.
The audio was nice, but there are many parts of the book that are long lists. This is fine in a book, but it was a little tedious to listen to. The long lists are my only complaint about the audio format.
The earlier chapters are more dense and filled with great background. I think these chapters were more informative than the later chapters.
He did a good job of not making the more technical chapters sound like a technical manual. His voice and speed kept the story moving at a good pace.
This was not a story that has moving moments. That aside, I thought the 2nd chapter was fantastic.
This is a good book. The first third is really good. The remainder is interesting, but does not illuminate as well. Since this is not a narrative book starting strong and ending weak is not a real shortfall. This book is worth listening to.
It changes the way you think about EVERYTHING. It explains very complex ideas in a very easy to understand way, and ties everything together very nicely! It massaged my brain the entire time I was listening, it was amazing!
1. 'History is the story of information becoming aware of itself.'
2. Explaining how 'a chicken is an egg's way of making another egg'
3. I feel like I actually understand entropy now.
It was so rich that you would be doing the book an injustice to listen to it in one sitting, instead of chewing on it piece by piece. That, and it's too long to listen to in one sitting.
Can't recommend it enough!
I listen to a lot of audiobooks, mostly nonfiction. I don't usually post reviews, but I appreciated Rob Shapiros narration so much, I wanted to post something.
A lot of narrators over-dramatize the text. Or the way they read a sentence makes me think they didn't exactly get what the sentence means. Normally I think of narrators as a sort of necessary evil - an extra voice between the author's words and my ears, and I think the best thing a narrator can do is make themselves sort of disappear from the experience, and not get in the way too much.
Rob Shapiro's reading of The Information is the first time I've felt that the narrator actually made the book *better*. His reading was really great - he bring just enough drama to the story, and the way he uses emphasis, changes of speed, etc, made the book more interesting and exciting without feeling distracting. It felt like he had a really great grasp of the text. His reading of this book changed my thinking about how nonfiction books can be narrated.
It ranks among the best.
His description of Turing's Machine, as well as how he connected Godel's Incompleteness Theorems with Information
The reading kept me engaged.
There were some minor mispronunciations, but these did not detract form the overall experience.