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The Information Audiobook

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

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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

What the Critics Say

"Accessible and engrossing." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (1174 )
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4.4 (822 )
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Performance
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  •  
    John W. 07-22-15
    John W. 07-22-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Astonishingly relevant"

    Easily one of the five best books I've ever read. It is difficult to imagine any non-experts who would not find this work endlessly fascinating and absorbing. Gleick's powers of far ranging synthesis and clear compelling explanation are awe-inspiring.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary 07-19-15
    Gary 07-19-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Very conceptual and far-reaching"

    I was surprised at where the idea flow began and even where it ended.
    Very much worth the effort.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Gatineau, Quebec, Canada 06-26-15
    Matthew Gatineau, Quebec, Canada 06-26-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Learned a lot"
    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When they discuss information content and/vs complexity of a message.


    Any additional comments?

    First heard of this from Veritasium. Left it in my wish list for months, finally gave it a chance, and loved it. It basically changed the way I think about data, and as a programmer, that says a lot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew D Poe 06-25-15 Member Since 2011

    I generally listen to books that fill the gaps in my science and technology interests and my faith.

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    "Good, not great"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Burns 04-07-15

    Dan

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    "Well read accessible history of communication"

    Glick writes lucidly on a complex subject. He captures the human story of conceiving and developing the technology of communication.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The Talent 10-24-14
    The Talent 10-24-14
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    "A way to bring a subject to life"
    Would you listen to The Information again? Why?

    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.


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

    Horses are only what they are not.


    What does Rob Shapiro bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I am not very good at maintaining focus on written words, so yes.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    10^90 bits, or the universe.


    Any additional comments?

    a fantastic book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    beth and chris philadelphia 09-02-14
    beth and chris philadelphia 09-02-14 Member Since 2015

    Beth reads books. She holds them in her hand and she turns the pages and reads the words. I download, plug in, and listen.

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    "my brain hurts in a good way"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Information to be better than the print version?

    yes. i don't think i could turn all the pages.


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

    Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software


    What about Rob Shapiro’s performance did you like?

    i never noticed him


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

    couldn't've


    Any additional comments?

    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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carmen Eicken 04-28-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Better to read the book"
    Would you listen to The Information again? Why?

    No, because it is too complicated


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Leave out some of the details. Simplify it.


    What does Rob Shapiro bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He made the lives of the characters more interesting


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Not a film kind of book


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carsten Schmidt Washington, D.C. United States 03-31-14
    Carsten Schmidt Washington, D.C. United States 03-31-14 Member Since 2016
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    "positive surprise"
    Would you be willing to try another one of Rob Shapiro’s performances?

    in a book that includes so many German phrases and words it would be nice to have someone check on Rob's German skills


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt LOS ANGELES, CA, United States 03-22-14
    Matt LOS ANGELES, CA, United States 03-22-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Lifevest for those drowning in in4mation overload"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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