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.
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.