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The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

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The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"In 1948, Bell Laboratories announced the invention of the electronic semiconductor and its revolutionary ability to do anything a vacuum tube could do but more efficiently. While the revolution in communications was taking these steps, Bell Labs scientist Claude Shannon helped to write a monograph for them, A Mathematical Theory of Communication, in which he coined the word 'bit' to name a fundamental unit of computer information. As bestselling author Gleick (Chaos) astutely argues, Shannon's neologism profoundly changed our view of the world; his brilliant work introduced us to the notion that a tiny piece of hardware could transmit messages that contained meaning and that a physical unit, a bit, could measure a quality as elusive as information. Shannon's story is only one of many in this sprawling history of information. With his brilliant ability to synthesize mounds of details and to tell rich stories, Gleick leads us on a journey from one form of communicating information to another, beginning with African tribes' use of drums and including along the way scientists like Samuel B. Morse, who invented the telegraph; Norbert Wiener, who developed cybernetics; and Ada Byron, the great Romantic poet's daughter, who collaborated with Charles Babbage in developing the first mechanical computer. Gleick's exceptional history of culture concludes that information is indeed the blood, the fuel, and the vital principle on which our world runs. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (starred review) (Copyright PWxyz LLC)

Review:

"Accessible and engrossing." Library Journal

Review:

"The author's skills as an interpreter of science shine…for completist cybergeeks and infojunkies, the book delivers a solid summary of a dense, complex subject." Kirkus

Review:

"[A] tour de force....This is intellectual history of tremendous verve, insight, and significance. Unfailingly spirited, often poetic, Gleick recharges our astonishment over the complexity and resonance of the digital sphere and ponders our hunger for connectedness....Destined to be a science classic, best-seller Gleick's dynamic history of information will be one of the biggest nonfiction books of the year." Booklist (Starred Review)

Synopsis:

The best-selling author of Chaos analyzes how information has become a defining quality of the modern era, tracing the evolutions of pivotal information technologies while profiling key contributors from Charles Babbage and Ada Byron to Samuel Morse and Claude Shannon.

Synopsis:

James Gleick, the author of the bestsellers 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.

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.

Table of Contents

Drums that talk — Persistence of the word — Two wordbooks — To throw the powers of thought into wheel-work — A nervous system for the Earth — New wires, new logic — Information theory — The informational turn — Entropy and its demons — Life's own code — Into the meme pool — The sense of randomness — Information is physical — After the flood — New news every day.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307379573
Subtitle:
A History, a Theory, a Flood
Publisher:
Pantheon Books
Author:
Gleick, James
Subject:
Science : History
Subject:
Technology & Engineering : History
Subject:
History
Subject:
Information society
Subject:
Information science -- History.
Subject:
Library & Information Science - General
Subject:
DISP-2-WINDOW
Subject:
DISP-PROMO GR104EndCap
Subject:
Reference-Bibliography and Library Science
Subject:
Science Reference-General
Subject:
Science Reference-Philosophy of Science
Subject:
Science Reference-Sociology of Science
Subject:
NEWARRIVAL-SCIENCE
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20110215
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
526

Related Subjects

Computers and Internet » Internet » Information
Engineering » Communications » Information Theory
Engineering » Engineering » History
Reference » Bibliography and Library Science
Reference » Science Reference » General
Reference » Science Reference » Philosophy of Science
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 526 pages Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group - English 9780307379573 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In 1948, Bell Laboratories announced the invention of the electronic semiconductor and its revolutionary ability to do anything a vacuum tube could do but more efficiently. While the revolution in communications was taking these steps, Bell Labs scientist Claude Shannon helped to write a monograph for them, A Mathematical Theory of Communication, in which he coined the word 'bit' to name a fundamental unit of computer information. As bestselling author Gleick (Chaos) astutely argues, Shannon's neologism profoundly changed our view of the world; his brilliant work introduced us to the notion that a tiny piece of hardware could transmit messages that contained meaning and that a physical unit, a bit, could measure a quality as elusive as information. Shannon's story is only one of many in this sprawling history of information. With his brilliant ability to synthesize mounds of details and to tell rich stories, Gleick leads us on a journey from one form of communicating information to another, beginning with African tribes' use of drums and including along the way scientists like Samuel B. Morse, who invented the telegraph; Norbert Wiener, who developed cybernetics; and Ada Byron, the great Romantic poet's daughter, who collaborated with Charles Babbage in developing the first mechanical computer. Gleick's exceptional history of culture concludes that information is indeed the blood, the fuel, and the vital principle on which our world runs. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (starred review) (Copyright PWxyz LLC)
"Review" by , "Accessible and engrossing."
"Review" by , "The author's skills as an interpreter of science shine…for completist cybergeeks and infojunkies, the book delivers a solid summary of a dense, complex subject."
"Review" by , "[A] tour de force....This is intellectual history of tremendous verve, insight, and significance. Unfailingly spirited, often poetic, Gleick recharges our astonishment over the complexity and resonance of the digital sphere and ponders our hunger for connectedness....Destined to be a science classic, best-seller Gleick's dynamic history of information will be one of the biggest nonfiction books of the year."
"Synopsis" by , The best-selling author of Chaos analyzes how information has become a defining quality of the modern era, tracing the evolutions of pivotal information technologies while profiling key contributors from Charles Babbage and Ada Byron to Samuel Morse and Claude Shannon.
"Synopsis" by , James Gleick, the author of the bestsellers 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.

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