The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood
Hosted by Brian Edwards-Tiekert
Wednesday, March 16, 7:30 P
First Congregational Church, Sanctuary
2345 Channing Way (at Dana), Berkeley
$12 at the door or at Brown Paper Tickets
or: Pegasus Books (3 locations), Mrs. Dalloway’s, Moe’s Books, Walden Pond, DIESEL, A Bookstore, and Modern Times
“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 and
ponders our hunger for connectedness.” — Booklist, Donna Seaman
James Gleick brings us his crowning work: a revelatory chronicle that shows how
information has become the modern era’s defining quality—the blood, the fuel, the vital
principle of our world.
The story of information begins in a time profoundly unlike our own, when every thought
and utterance vanished as soon as it was born. From the invention of scripts and alphabets
to the long misunderstood “talking drums” of Africa, Gleick tells the story of information
technologies that changed the very nature of human consciousness. He provides portraits
of the key figures contributing to the inexorable development of our modern understanding
of information: Charles Babbage, the indiosyncratic inventor of the first great mechanical
computer; Ada Byron, the poet’s brilliant and doomed daughter, who became the first true
programmer; pivotal figures like Samuel Morse and Alan Turing; and Claude Shannon, the
creator of information theory itself.
And then the information age comes upon us. Citizens of this world become experts willy-
nilly; aficionados of bits and bytes. And sometimes feel they are drowning, swept by a
deluge of signs and signals, news and images, blogs and tweets. The Information is the
story of how we got here and where we are heading. It will transform readers’ view of its
James Gleick ‘ first book, Chaos, was a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist.
With photographer Eliot Porter he produced Nature’s Chaos, and with developers at
Autodesk, Chaos, The Software. His other books include Genius, The Life and Science of
Richard Feynman and Isaac Newton, Faster, and What Just Happened. For many years he
wrote for the Fast Forward column in The New York Times Magazine.