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Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid…

Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (original 1979; edition 1999)

by Douglas R. Hofstadter

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9,66780299 (4.36)2 / 180
Title:Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Authors:Douglas R. Hofstadter
Info:Basic Books (1999), Edition: 20 Anv, Paperback, 832 pages
Collections:Your library, Currently reading

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Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter (1979)

Recently added byFarree, jmsmith328, bookie53, private library, Jesse_Holmes, tgraettinger, MrSeatbelt
Legacy LibrariesIris Murdoch
  1. 101
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (Zaklog)
    Zaklog: Cryptonomicon strikes me as the kind of book that Hofstadter would write if he wrote fiction. Both books are complex, with discursive passages on mathematics and a positively weird sense of humor. If you enjoyed (rather than endured) the explanatory sections on cryptography and the charts of Waterhouse's love life (among other, rarely charted things) you should really like this book.… (more)
  2. 60
    Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth by Apostolos Doxiadis (tomduck, EerierIdyllMeme)
    EerierIdyllMeme: An obvious suggestion (surprised it's not here already). Both are creative and fictional riffing off of formal logic and incompleteness.
  3. 30
    Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel by Rebecca Goldstein (michaeljohn)
  4. 20
    A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper by John Allen Paulos (heidialice)
    heidialice: GEB is a thousand times as intense, but if you enjoyed the parts about self-referentiality it's worth a skim. Conversely, if GEB is just too much, Paulos' concise introduction to the theme is very accessible.
  5. 20
    Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern by Douglas Hofstadter (JFDR)
  6. 00
    Things to make and do in the fourth dimension by Matt Parker (Lorem)
    Lorem: Things in 4D I consider a more accessible version of GEB in its breadth and how it does get to complex topics. If you enjoyed the more complicated parts of 4D, definitely look at GEB and if GEB was a little too much, 4D might remind you why math(s) are never boring… (more)
  7. 00
    Gold Bug Variations by Richard Powers (hippietrail)
  8. 00
    Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (EerierIdyllMeme)
    EerierIdyllMeme: A few similar themes (Bach, human cognition) come up in similar ways.
  9. 33
    A New Kind of Science by Stephen Wolfram (Anonymous user)
  10. 03
    The Flanders Panel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (P_S_Patrick)
    P_S_Patrick: Arturo Perez-Reverte has recieved inspiration for his excellent mystery thriller from Hofstadter's Godel Escher Bach, even without some of the chapter introduciton quotes, that much is clear. He uses the bewildering Escherian theme of worlds within a world, Godels incompleteness theorum is alluded to in the monologue of one character, and Bach is discussed in relevance to the mystery too, along with a few miscellaneous paradoxes which are also slipped in, in a similar spirit in which they permeate the more complex non-fictional work. Non-fiction readers who have enjoyed GEB should be amused by the Flanders panel, and I think they should enjoy it even if they do not often dip into fiction. It would be harder to recommend GEB to fans of the Flanders Panel, due to its sheer length, but if you were intrigued by the themes in the story then it should at least be worth finding GEB in a library and dipping into it.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
This was an eye-opening book in a lot of ways: it was just plain interesting in that it expanded my horizon on what "I" was, it explained the Godel theorem in a way that I've been trying to get to in a long time, and it made me appreciate art and music in a more scientific way which I enjoyed. But, what it did more than anything else was draw a stark contrast between it and all the other books I've read. I realized that, even with all the books I've previously read, they were all pretty synonymous to T.V. shows: there was the entertainment and the documentaries but it was more to show you cool things/keep you occupied than really teach you more than facts. This book did that. What more could I ask for. ( )
  Lorem | Jan 11, 2015 |
Here's where I first learned about formal linguistic systems, which forever changed the course of my intellectual pursuits. Worth read and rereading. ( )
  KirkLowery | Mar 4, 2014 |
This is probably one of the most consistently difficult and enlightening books I've ever come across. Completely wonderful - it took me three tries over five years to finish it the first time, and every time I feel like I learned more than I'd previously known was possible. I've read it several times since, and each time I've found new ideas I hadn't worked through before.

It's possible that this book is actually infinitely deep: that it will continue to unfold new ideas to you as long as you continue to read it. I don't know if that's true - but I'm going to keep testing it. ( )
3 vote kiparsky | Feb 17, 2014 |
This book hit me like a brick wall. When I first bought it, I thought I would read a bit at a time, and digest what I'd read, and take my time with it. Nope. I started reading, read through dinner, and quit finally when I fell asleep in the chair, nearly two-thirds of the way through. I read the rest the next morning, and then started all over again.

This is the only book of his I kept, and it is showing its age. It still lives on a bookshelf, where I can pick it up and read favorite parts. It is no accident that it falls open at Chapter XVIII (Artificial Intelligence). This should be in your library, and as paper, not on a kindle. ( )
2 vote Lyndatrue | Feb 15, 2014 |
If you are interested in some complex questions about the nature of intelligence and whether computers will ever be able to think, this is the book for you. Hofstadter has managed to bring these complex questions within the range of the layman. He takes the reader step by step, layer by layer in an entertaining way through the chain of interesting questions.

The structure of the book is cleverly planned to give the reader a light introduction by means of a fable involving Achilles, the fleetest of the ancient Greeks, his friend the clever tortoise and other characters. Then the heavier character follows, with a more in-depth and formal explanation of the topic.

I love this book and find it a fascinating read, though I have never managed to read it all as yet.
  Simon_Gregory | Jan 11, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
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Douglas Hofstadterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wahlén, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, came to power in 1740.
In its absolute barest form, Gödel's discovery involves the translation of an ancient paradox in philosophy into mathematical terms. That paradox is the so-called Epimenides paradox, or liar paradox. Epimenides was a Cretan who made one immortal statement: “All Cretans are liars.”
Whereas the Epimenides statement creates a paradox since it is neither true nor false, the Gödel sentence G is unprovable (inside P.M.) but true. The grand conclusion? That the system of Principia Mathematica is “incomplete”—there are true statements of number theory which its methods of proof are too weak to demonstrate.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0465026567, Paperback)

Twenty years after it topped the bestseller charts, Douglas R. Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid is still something of a marvel. Besides being a profound and entertaining meditation on human thought and creativity, this book looks at the surprising points of contact between the music of Bach, the artwork of Escher, and the mathematics of Gödel. It also looks at the prospects for computers and artificial intelligence (AI) for mimicking human thought. For the general reader and the computer techie alike, this book still sets a standard for thinking about the future of computers and their relation to the way we think.

Hofstadter's great achievement in Gödel, Escher, Bach was making abstruse mathematical topics (like undecidability, recursion, and 'strange loops') accessible and remarkably entertaining. Borrowing a page from Lewis Carroll (who might well have been a fan of this book), each chapter presents dialogue between the Tortoise and Achilles, as well as other characters who dramatize concepts discussed later in more detail. Allusions to Bach's music (centering on his Musical Offering) and Escher's continually paradoxical artwork are plentiful here. This more approachable material lets the author delve into serious number theory (concentrating on the ramifications of Gödel's Theorem of Incompleteness) while stopping along the way to ponder the work of a host of other mathematicians, artists, and thinkers.

The world has moved on since 1979, of course. The book predicted that computers probably won't ever beat humans in chess, though Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov in 1997. And the vinyl record, which serves for some of Hofstadter's best analogies, is now left to collectors. Sections on recursion and the graphs of certain functions from physics look tantalizing, like the fractals of recent chaos theory. And AI has moved on, of course, with mixed results. Yet Gödel, Escher, Bach remains a remarkable achievement. Its intellectual range and ability to let us visualize difficult mathematical concepts help make it one of this century's best for anyone who's interested in computers and their potential for real intelligence. --Richard Dragan

Topics Covered: J.S. Bach, M.C. Escher, Kurt Gödel: biographical information and work, artificial intelligence (AI) history and theories, strange loops and tangled hierarchies, formal and informal systems, number theory, form in mathematics, figure and ground, consistency, completeness, Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry, recursive structures, theories of meaning, propositional calculus, typographical number theory, Zen and mathematics, levels of description and computers; theory of mind: neurons, minds and thoughts; undecidability; self-reference and self-representation; Turing test for machine intelligence.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:11 -0400)

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A scientist and mathematician explores the mystery and complexity of human thought processes from an interdisciplinary point of view.

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