Gleick's masterpiece The Information comes out in paperback today


10 Responses to “Gleick's masterpiece The Information comes out in paperback today”

  1. kimyambam says:

    paperback has been out for months. At least here in Belgium it has.
    Great book, not as monumentally important as Chaos i think, but great.

  2. Jonathan Badger says:

    Just don’t get your linguistics from this book. In the chapter on writing systems, Gleick repeats the common, but historically discredited, idea that writing went from pictographic to ideographic to logographic — in other words, from writing that looked like what it meant, to abstract symbols for ideas, to finally alphabetic writing. 

    Yes, at a casual glance, that’s what Egyptian hieroglyphs, Chinese characters, and Western writing looks like. But it’s much more complicated than that. Egyptian hieroglyphs sometimes meant what they looked like and sometimes they were used basically as letters to express the pronunciation. And Chinese characters don’t represent “ideas” and so are not really ideographic — some characters make no sense on their own. And while there is a more or less “standard” Chinese writing style, it is quite possible to differentiate dialects like Cantonese and Shanghainese from Mandarin using characters — they aren’t abstract concepts separated from the spoken language.


    I just ordered a copy from Amazon.  Can’t wait to dig in.  Books like this are fascinating because they’re relevant to so many different subjects.  Reading Tom Standage’s The Victorian Internet made me want to learn more about the growth of high speed communication.  This is just what I need.

  4. Daniel Cosby says:

    I couldn’t wait for the paperback, but I do want to get the US cover which is infinitely nicer.

  5. ecologist says:

    This book is so good that I read it straight through, then turned around and read it straight through again. The writing on randomness is indeed transcendent, but my favorite was the chapter on (among many other things) Wikipedia. Starts with a quote from Borges and just gets better …  Now I want to read it again.

  6. awjt says:

    It was good.  A bit dry in parts, but the history of natural language computing, was fascinating, especially the part about Markov. Segues nicely into “Natural Language Processing with Python” and one of my favorite books, “Speech and Language Processing” by Jurafsky & Martin.

  7. ritholtz says:

    Plowed thru it over vacation on the beach 2 weeks ago — I found it fascinating. I would definitely recommend it highly

  8. lecti says:

    I thought “The Information” was great, so went on and read “Chaos” – but I found Information to be more entertaining than Chaos.  A great read, the only problem with Information is that it starts to sag around the last few chapters.

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