The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick is a non-fiction book for the information age, talking about how people send information (and misinformation) from tum-tums in Africa, to Ada Lovelace, Alan turning and every “expert” on Twitter and Facebook. Mr. Gleick is an author who explores the consequences of science & technology on our society & culture.
- 544 pages
- Publisher: Vintage
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400096235
My rating for The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood – 4
Buy The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood from Amazon.com*
More Books by James Gleick*
If I had to describe this book in one word it would be “ambitious”. The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick encompasses many subjects, some more complicated than others, into a strong and enjoyable narrative.
Mr. Gleick covers a lot in this book, one has to read it with an open mind even though sometimes I felt as if he is trying to convince me of a conclusion he already made, and is now trying to find evidence. This book, however, did open my eyes. There are subjects I thought I knew a lot about, but this book made me look at them from a different angle.
I have been in IT for almost 3 decades (I didn’t realize it was this long until I wrote it down), still, I found this book entertaining and very informative. The author doesn’t dwell on one subject, but it’s an eclectic mix of math, art, science and more, tying together subjects which, on the surface, seems to have nothing in common.
The last part of the book, in my opinion, was weak. That is too bad because the rest of the book was very interesting. A whole chapter dedicated to Wikipedia was too much, I’d rather would have learned more about crowdsourcing for information and content (book reviews?), and how that changed the Internet, and is most likely keeps changing.
And yes, Wikipedia is a big part of that.
I’m glad I read this book, not only did I learn several things, but to see subjects from another angle is one of the reasons I keep reading. And that, to me, is priceless.
The book starts with a fascinating explanation of the tum-tums (African talking drums) and how they are able to send complex messages. Transitioning to telegraph and telephone communications the author explains their implications on social and commercial aspects.
Going into symbolic languages, we delve into information theory and the important persona who contributed to the field (Claude Shannon, Charles Babbage, Ada Byron (Lovelace), Samuel Morse, Alan Turing, Stephen Hawking and more).
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got borrowed this book from the local library.
*Amazon links point to an affiliate account