This is a log of books that I’ve read, starting around late 2018 (i.e. the beginning of this blog).
- Started 2018-09-19
- Finished 2018-11-24
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This is a fascinating book. It does a good job of walking through a series of QM experiments which build on each other to arrive at some truly mind-bending conclusions. Doesn't attempt to teach you any of the math behind them, though, so I'm left more intrigued but similarly confused as when I started.
- Started 2018-12-05
- Finished 2019-12-31
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Hofstadter's love of (obsession with) self-reference, and "tangled hierarchies" comes through clearly. His writing is whimsical, creative, and deep. It's just... too... long. Not only does this have the obvious consequence that it's difficult to hold the reader's interest for long enough to actually finish the book (it took me three tries), but I think it also detracts from the explanatory power of the book. There is too much material, spread over too many pages (and therefore time), for the reader to come away with a clear understanding of Godel's Incompleteness Theorems. I suspect Hofstadter's response to this would be that I've missed the point of the book! There is no clear, simple, linear understanding of Godel's Incompleteness Theorems. In fact, that hope is in direct conflict with the idea that some concepts are inescapably "tangled hierarchies". To that, I'd say... maybe. In any case, length aside, the book is truly a work of art. The way Hofstadter weaves together content and form is impressive. In addition, I appreciated the many self-references he included throughout the book. In summary, if your goal is to spend a long time metaphorically bathing in the essence of Godelian self-reference, this book will be unparalleled. However, if you want a no nonsense understanding of Godel's Incompleteness Theorems, then this book is likely not the best way to achieve that goal.
- Started 2019-09-29
- Finished 2019-10-29
I really liked this book, but it's too easy. It just touches the surface of many interesting topics before quickly moving on; I wish it went deeper. I suspect I'm not exactly the target audience. Either way, very enjoyable and totally worth the (quick) read.