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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"Accessible and engrossing." (Library Journal)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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Life-Changing Book

It is difficult to describe how important this book is. The underlying concepts it investigates in all things information theory and beyond lay out a map of how the modern world can be understood. It provides a great history of information as a concept but as a real, mathematical thing with as much substance as any other theory, and, it could be argued, makes a valid case for how it can be used to describe and understand all other theories.

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Much more to think about.

This book gives amazing perspective on the evolution of information, and forces a grater curiosity.

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Outstanding

Possibly the best book ever written on the topic. The author ties together the whole world and existence itself with information.

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A lot of information

It was fantastically well-informed. The narrator was eloquent and had great pronunciation. Although it did take me a year to finish it, because I would get distracted with other books.

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Very in depth. Good pairing of history and theory

Amazing amount of information on how people communicate. Brings to light the story of information itself.

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A modern metaphysics

Not directly, you see; metaphysics has always trodden the edges of knowledge. This book instead wishes to tell you how those edges work, have been expanded, and ultimately turned us inwards for a new search of meaning. It bristles with technical and humanistic understanding - and having read it, you will be a wiser person.

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James Gleick is a genius

It was a very amazing book,he compiles years of research into bite sized chunks for your brain and gives you everything you need to look up /expand upon the fantastic things he touches base on.

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Mindblowing..

Great book. Mind blowing to say the least. Great substance, incredible narroration. Enjoyable for anyone interested in the subject of Information Theory.

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  • Alfred
  • Cedarburg, WI, United States
  • 03-23-16

Big and Unusual Ideas

What did you love best about The Information?

It explained several big ideas that were new to me: the abstraction of information and meaning, the comparison to entropy and the idea that we are genetic and organic information replication machines.

What other book might you compare The Information to and why?

Chaos - same author, similarly unusual and big ideas. <br/>Freakonomics and Super Freakonomics, The Black Swan - seemingly counterintuitive ideas.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me think.

  • Overall
  • Performance
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Excellent Book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

It is a great scientific narrative.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Information?

The discussion of the second law of thermodynamics.

Have you listened to any of Rob Shapiro’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Sure but it is too long for that.