James Gleick, the author of the best sellers Chaos and Genius, brings us his crowning work: a revelatory chronicle that shows how information has become the modern era’s defining quality—the blood, the fuel, the vital principle of our world.
The story of information begins in a time profoundly unlike our own, when every thought and utterance vanished as soon as it was born. From the invention of scripts and alphabets to the long misunderstood “talking drums” of Africa, James Gleick tells the story of information technologies that changed the very nature of human consciousness. He provides portraits of the key figures contributing to the inexorable development of our modern understanding of information: Charles Babbage, the idiosyncratic inventor of the first great mechanical computer; Ada Byron, the poet’s brilliant and doomed daughter, who became the first true programmer; pivotal figures like Samuel Morse and Alan Turing; and Claude Shannon, the creator of information theory itself.
And then the information age comes upon us. Citizens of this world become experts willy-nilly: aficionados of bits and bytes. And they sometimes feel they are drowning, swept by a deluge of signs and signals, news and images, blogs and tweets. The Information is the story of how we got here and where we are heading. It will transform readers’ view of its subject.
©2011 James Gleick (P)2011 Random House
"Accessible and engrossing." (Library Journal)
I generally listen to books that fill the gaps in my science and technology interests and my faith.
Enjoyed many sections, but not as enlightening as I was led to believe by a friend. I do feel it was worth the purchase and time.
Glick writes lucidly on a complex subject. He captures the human story of conceiving and developing the technology of communication.
I never would have read this book, but listening to it made me stay focused on the meaning of the subject in a way that I usually could not.
Horses are only what they are not.
I am not very good at maintaining focus on written words, so yes.
10^90 bits, or the universe.
a fantastic book.
Beth reads books. She holds them in her hand and she turns the pages and reads the words. I download, plug in, and listen.
yes. i don't think i could turn all the pages.
Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software
i never noticed him
i'll buy this book now and keep it on my shelf. i am sure i will want to be reminded of the things inside it
No, because it is too complicated
Leave out some of the details. Simplify it.
He made the lives of the characters more interesting
Not a film kind of book
in a book that includes so many German phrases and words it would be nice to have someone check on Rob's German skills
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.
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.
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