David Cerruti's Reviews > Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything

Faster by James Gleick
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's review
Aug 16, 2011

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bookshelves: science

After reading Gleick’s Chaos in 1989 and The Information this year, I was anticipating Faster. What a letdown. Chaos and The Information rocked. Faster just plodded along.

In his profile, David Giltinan cites 10 common sources of disappointment in a book. The first is “Failed to match brilliance of author's previous work.” That was certainly the case here. Another distraction is this edition is an audio book, read by Gleick. His reading wasn’t engaging.

The other GR reviews cover the content, how everything is speeding up. That seems like old news. One item of interest is how digital answering machines compress the message without raising the pitch. This technology also saves time for phone operators. Now that is a useful idea. I happened to be listening to Faster on an iPhone, which has a 2X speed button. In practice, it’s closer to 1 ½ X speed. With Gleick’s reading faster was better.

I expect to thoroughly enjoy Gleick’s books on Feynman and Newton.
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