Andrew Breslin's Reviews > Metamagical Themas: Questing For The Essence Of Mind And Pattern

Metamagical Themas by Douglas R. Hofstadter
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Jul 02, 10


While this is clearly not a "better" book than the incomparable Godel Escher Bach, I would have to say that I enjoyed it more. Because I understood almost all of it the very first time through while GEB took me about a year to digest, chewing slowly over each cognitive morsel, sometimes metaphorically regurgitating it a few times before getting it through the cerebral equivalent of my lower intestines. Metamagical Themas is food for thought, but it’s simple sugars, perhaps a fruit smoothie to GEB’s heavy proteins and complex carbohydrates. GEB was work to read. Immensely satisfying, but work nonetheless. This was a stroll in the park by comparison, and what a delightful park indeed.

This book introduced me to many fascinating concepts, and had a lasting influence on me in two significant ways. 1) I tried to develop my very own personal font. And 2) It inspired me write my own book about game theory. I finished writing the book. The font remains an unrealized fantasy. But definitely something with serifs.

The title, by the way, is an anagram of “Mathematical Games.” This is appropriate, because games are, by definition, fun. And you’d have to look far and wide to find so much fun in mathematics.
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