• Journey to the Edge of Reason

  • The Life of Kurt Gödel
  • By: Stephen Budiansky
  • Narrated by: Bob Souer
  • Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (89 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The first major biography of the logician and mathematician whose incompleteness theorems helped launch a modern scientific revolution.

Nearly a hundred years after its publication, Kurt Gödel's famous proof that every mathematical system must contain propositions that are true - yet never provable - continues to unsettle mathematics, philosophy, and computer science. Yet unlike Einstein, with whom he formed a warm and abiding friendship, Gödel has long escaped all but the most casual scrutiny of his life. 

An intimate portrait of the scientific and intellectual circles in prewar Vienna and a vivid re-creation of the early days of Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study, Journey to the Edge of Reason is the first biography to fully draw upon Gödel's voluminous letters and writings - including a never-before-transcribed shorthand diary of his most intimate thoughts - to explore his profound intellectual friendships, his moving relationship with his mother, his troubled yet devoted marriage, and the debilitating bouts of paranoia that ultimately took his life. It illuminates the mind-bending implications of Gödel's revolutionary ideas for philosophy, mathematics, artificial intelligence, and man's place in the cosmos.

©2021 Stephen Budiansky (P)2021 Tantor

What listeners say about Journey to the Edge of Reason

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Highly recommended

This is a beautiful telling of the story of one of the greatest logicians of all time. It gives you a wholesome picture of this enigmatic and extraordinary genius. I recommend it in particular for the details it gives about Austrian society prior to WWII and the story behind the origins of IAS Princeton.

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Fantastically done!

A great audiobook. This is an accessible, insightful and thoroughly researched book about one of the most important mathematicians in history.

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Great listening

Loved it! Although I thought the first chapters focused too much on Austrian history.

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Interesting story of a great mathematician

The book was fairly interesting, although I think that there was much too much discussion in the early chapters about Austrian politics prior to Godel's birth.

The narrator was fairly good. His pronunciation was, in general, good with a notable exception. He misprounounced the name of John von Neumann as "von newman". This wouldn't have been so bad if von Neumann's name hadn't appeared around 100 times in the book.

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good history of the context where Goedel lived

very enjoyable narrative of the context in which Kurt Goedel lived his life and made profound contributions to mathematical logic. The author gives a sympathetic treatment of a man who had serious mental problems throughout his adult life. it is clear from his rendering of Goedel's life that many more discoveries may still be buried in his notebooks written in Gabelsberger shorthand.

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Souer read beautifully

A great book beautifully read. I think Souer has a rare, perfect reading voice and perfect pronunciation

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  • Dean
  • 06-20-21

Can’t pronounce Godel...

Couldn’t stick with as a result of the reader’s inability to pronounce even the book’s main subject!

The book had some interesting new material, and provided a good psychological perspective.