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The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood
Synopses & Reviews
James Gleick, the author of the best sellers Chaos and Genius, now brings us a work just as astonishing and masterly: a revelatory chronicle and meditation 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 vanishes as soon as it is born. From the invention of scripts and alphabets to the long-misunderstood talking drums of Africa, 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 brilliant and doomed daughter of the poet, 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 arrives. Citizens of this world become experts willy-nilly: aficionados of bits and bytes. And we sometimes feel we 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.
From the Hardcover edition.
"Overwhelmed as we are with today's unceasing gush of information — some essential, some useless, and much falling into the broad middle of the spectrum — a study of how we got here and the innovators who played a part in creating the dazzling web of contemporary communications could not be more timely. Gleick's survey of pioneers of information, from Alan Turing to Claude Shannon, follows the many-layered strands forming the information superhighway. Rob Shapiro, slightly nasal, reads in measured fashion, pausing luxuriously between sentences and paragraphs to allow Gleick's own gush of information to sink in. Shapiro's stateliness makes for an artful contrast with Gleick's study of go-go modernity; listening to the audiobook manages to not add to the feeling of being overwhelmed. A Pantheon hardcover. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
James Gleick is our leading chronicler of science and modern technology. His first book, Chaos, a National Book Award finalist, has been translated into twenty-five languages. His best-selling biographies, Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman and Isaac Newton, were short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize.
From the Hardcover edition.
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