Eliot's Reviews > Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas R. Hofstadter
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M 50x66
's review
Aug 19, 2009

really liked it

This isn't for everyone, but you get some serious nerd credibility for reading this I think. I really enjoyed the first half and would have given that five stars, but the second half seems to me to beat the reader over the head with its point. The book covers a lot of topics in science and math, often with analogies using fugues, Escher's art, and Hofstadter's own dialogues (which are an entertaining supplement to the main text).

Hofstadter suggests that "strange loops" or "tangled hierarchies" are at the root of all intelligence. He gives several examples: the interrelationships between DNA and proteins, variations on the Epimenides paradox ("This sentence is false"), and pretty much everything M.C. Escher ever did. He ties these things together, and spends a lot of the latter half of the book focusing on artificial intelligence (which he researches).

Overall, I'd say Hofstadter is a skillful and entertaining writer. There is a lot of wordplay, especially in his dialogues, that is unbelievably clever. I literally looked up a few of the names and facts that he uses because I didn't think they could be set up that perfectly to work for him, and they all checked out. Between the writing style and the variety of topics, which were mostly interesting to me, I found the 700 pages went by pretty quickly.

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