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.
This is a fully fleshed out course on all aspects of Information Theory. It's hard not to restate the title, but Gleick moves effortlessly from the history to the theory, and then to the wide reaching implications of observing information in a unit based format.
I was drawn to this book because of my interest in Claude Shannon and his work in data compression. When Claude Shannon first appears, his contribution to Information Theory is identified, but the concentration on compression is glazed over. I was personally disappointed, but Gleick returns to Shannon and Shannon-Fano coding and Huffman coding. This probably doesn't apply to many possible readers, but it explains the style of this book, by glazing over certain aspects initially before coming back around and covering them in much clearer detail. It's somewhat offputting, and I may have to re-listen to the book to ensure I got everything from it, but it ensures that all readers are at a similar understanding before moving towards the more intensive theories.
The 4-star rating for the performance is only because there isn't a 4.5 star rating. It is well read, and my only gripe was the slow pace. There were certain aspects, especially early in the history with the conversations about the use of drums as communication, where my mind would wander and come back, and I would feel like I hadn't missed much in what was trying to be communicated. This should reflect on the writing as much as the narrator, but I feel if it had been a bit "zippier" it may have retained my attention better in those slower sections. On the other hand, the methodical reading does allow for much more time dedicated to words and thoughts that are communicated in the story and isn't distracting as the subject matter gets denser.
James Gleick has clearly not been idle since writing his introduction to chaos theory. I enjoyed this book enormously - I've listened to it twice, am listening to it a third time, and I've also purchased it as an e-book. Not because I didn't understand it the first time - although there are still ideas (like the notion of qubits) that I struggle with - but simply because the ideas he writes about are so important, and have such manifold ramifications. I'm impressed by Gleick's scholarship, the clarity and aptness of his writing, and the sheer breadth of the subject he has tackled. I found sections of the book literally inspiring. Other reviewers commented on aspects of the book which are impossible to render efficiently in audio format (tables, lists of numbers, etc), but these are minor issues set against the overall achievement. All praise to Rob Shapiro's narration - with the single exception of pronouncing 'era' so similarly to 'error' that it sounds like .... an error (at least to this Australian :-) ). I agree it's not a book for everyone, but it is a book for everyone who has even the slightest interest in any aspect of this topic. No matter what your expertise (I am a clinical neurologist), aspects of the book will be fresh, novel, unexpected, or wonderfully informative.
It offers a unique perspective/lens through which I have found useful both for thinking about historical events from the twentieth century as well for understanding the evolving role of technology in the modern era.
Sync by Steven Strogatz- both authors have similar perspectives, both books have a similar style, and both books tackle similar problems.
amazon fan in portland
Making Information Interesting
Gleick not only traces the history of information and communication through history, but he changes our way of looking at information. Information actually is how society orders everything.
Yes, I have listened to Shapiro before, but this might be his best performance yet. He is always conversational, accents and characterization are always realistic, and moderation of tone is masterful.
How we order our world.
In taking us on the journey on how computers learned to think like humans, we humans actually learn something about how we think ourselves. A triumph.
I was intrigued by the name. I am in the business, work in marketing for one of the large media companies, and was looking forward to exploring a scientific side of information and get a glimpse of the future. I am sorry to say that I could not get past first 30 minutes, my mind kept wondering, and I had to rewind multiple times to follow the story (or what the author uses instead of one). Boring. Disappointing.
It follows a logical flow from the discoveries of information theory to our current information age.