Jim McDonnell's Reviews > The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

The Information by James Gleick
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Apr 20, 11

Read in April, 2011

I've enjoyed other books by Gleick (his bio of Feynman, and account of the development of Chaos theory), and this one sounded interesting; as I understood it, a re-framing of the world and universe we live in as an essentially information-based artefact. I thought this might have some interesting insights into scientific theories about the deeper possible structure of spacetime hinted at or glimpsed 'between the cracks' of quantum theory etc.

Sadly, no. In fact this is an entertaining enough account of the development and insinuation of information into our lives, beginning with the spoken word and moving through print and latterly electronic information. But that's all you get, and I'd expected/hoped for more.

Equally disappointing (and surprising) was the book being over when I was 60% through it, according to my Kindle: the last 40% is acknowledgements, sources and appendices. What a jip!

Maybe Gleick had bills to pay, I don't know - but this had the feel of a job only partly done, or maybe it was simply misrepresented by the publishers to make it sound more appealing to a wider audience (at times I certainly felt that Gleick was being asked to write more like Malcolm Gladwell). In any event I finished 'The Information' feeling distinctly dissatisfied. You can safely wait to buy/read this until it's in the reduced-price basket in the local bookshop.
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04/20/2011 page 260
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