Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
ISBN: 0394745027
EAN13: 9780394745022
Language: English
Pages: 777
Dimensions: 1.5" H x 9.1" L x 5.7" W
Weight: 2.05 lbs.
Format: Paperback
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Book Overview

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Winner of the Pulitzer PrizeA metaphorical fugue on minds and machines in the spirit of Lewis Carroll
Douglas Hofstadter's book is concerned directly with the nature of maps or links between formal systems. However, according to Hofstadter, the formal system that underlies all mental activity transcends the system that supports it. If life can grow out of the formal chemical substrate of the cell, if consciousness can emerge out of a formal system of firing neurons, then so too will computers attain human intelligence. G del, Escher, Bach is a wonderful exploration of fascinating ideas at the heart of cognitive science: meaning, reduction, recursion, and much more.

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Book Reviews (13)

  |   13  reviews
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   Worth every hour!
That kid wants a brain stretcher? This very interesting format requires time and dedication, but it is well worth the effort, Mr. Dhaliwal said. In this volume, Hofstadter explores the beauty of patterns and self-referential systems. In layering the works of Godel, Escher and Bach, he creates a fascinating Golden Braid.
   Dated now but still brilliant
It doesn't just deliver information, it makes you enjoy it, it forces you to think about it. Style aside, few books have such a strong sense of proportion. Only a writer of the stature of Shakespeare can deliver a work of brilliance more than once in a lifetime. It was de rigueur to carry a copy or be able to discuss it.
   Very Curious Are You?
If you like music, you're probably not alone. We cover fractals, mathematics, recursion, puzzles, and strange loopy weirdness where life seems to look back at itself. If you liked this book, you must have missed the memo.
   What is a "self" and how does it come to exist?
The book is a kaleidoscopic collection of essays, meditations, and other musings by some of the 20th century's greatest minds. He also questions how a consciousness and self can arise out of ignoble matter. The book shows that such algorithms are found everywhere: in mathematics, music, language, and even the fine arts. Some consider it essential reading for people interested in artificial intelligence.
   still wonderful
This is an absolute classic, and Douglas Hofstadter, who won a Pulitzer for this work, does not need my recommendation, but I never got around to reading it when I was in college. It takes time to get to the book. It's a s.l.o.w read and I've annotated my copy with hundreds of cross-references, I am much better prepared to absorb it all in late middle age than I would have been as a kid. For all the scientific progress that the world has made in the past four decades, this book remains highly relevant.
   Hard to figure out the point of this book
I struggled to identify the point of this book and eventually gave up. I've read reviews that say its point is to show how consciousness and intelligence can arise out of strange constructs such as loops in Godel's mathematics, Escher's art and Bach's music but you won't find this out until the latter part of the book. You have to slog through 777 pages in which you know the author is leading to something, but you don't know what it is. I would have liked to have stated his premise at the beginning and then spent the rest of the book supporting it with examples. He uses dialogs between Achilles and the Hare to illustrate complex concepts, but I found myself hoping that those characters would meet untimely ends before I was a third of the way through the book. The author's theory is solid, but the explanation wore me out.
   Want to look smarter than you really are? This is the book for you!
Only bought this to leave out on my coffee table to show people I'm better than them. If you're as pretentious as I am, this book is for you.
   Unclear what the book is really supposed to be about
The writer, for example, has wrestled with the question for nearly half a century. The book is also exceptionally wordy and repetitive, with 800 pages of footnotes.
   more than a book
Bach's "Gdel, Escher" is the type of book that one is lucky to read once in a lifetime. I found the book used withered pages and a slightly aged spine. The act of reading was a strange loop, bittersweet as I found my enjoyment and growing understanding throughout, a page or two turned too quickly resulted in a tear, and I found the book aging before my eyes. I'm not that scared of my copy lying around, but then such is life. Even a damaged book can bring insight, Raymond said. just as Beethoven could still compose symphonies while deaf or Van Gogh could still paint with a missing ear, my personal copy of this slightly tattered book has spoken to me in a unique way.
   Mind opening
Everything you know about math, logic, art and even religion will change because of this book.