BESTSELLING SCIENCE WRITER, AUTHOR OF CHAOS, TO READ FROM HIS NEW BOOK ON THE INFORMATION AGE
His newest book, The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood, due to be published in March 2011, is a magisterial popular history that illustrates how information has become “the modern era’s defining quality—the blood, the fuel, the vital principle of our world.” The book follows the development of information technology from the invention of alphabets, the “talking drums” of Africa, and Charles Babbage’s “thinking machines,” to the mind-boggling deluge of signs and signals that presently engulfs us all.
In a starred review, Booklist said, “[A] tour de force…This is intellectual history of tremendous verve, insight, and significance. Unfailingly spirited, often poetic, Gleick recharges our astonishment over the complexity and resonance of the digital sphere… Destined to be a science classic….”
One of the rare books on physics and mathematics to break into top ten bestseller lists, Gleick’s earlier book, Chaos (1987), is credited with popularizing the “butterfly effect” within the general culture. The New York Times reviewer said, “ Fascinating . . . almost every paragraph contains a jolt”, and the Chicago Tribune said, “ Highly entertaining . . . a startling look at newly discovered universal laws.” Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams said, “An awe-inspiring book. Reading it gave me the sensation that someone had just found the light switch.” A National Book Award finalist, Chaos has been translated into twenty-five languages.
Gleick has been writing essays about information technology for nearly two decades. A collection of previously published essays, What Just Happened: A Chronicle from the Information Frontier, appeared in 2002. The Independent (UK) called it, “A marvellous journey around our technology-drenched world…. The work of a master.”
Other books include Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman (1992), which the Washington Post called, “A rare, jewel-like biography… terrifically readable”; Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything (1999), of which Patricia Volk, writing in the New York Times, said, “In years to come Faster will tell people what we were like as clearly as Dickens or Tom Wolfe”; and the biography, Isaac Newton (2003), which John Banville, in the Guardian, called, “A masterpiece of brevity and concentration… the definitive study for a very long time to come.” The biographies of Feynman and Newton were both short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize.
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