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12 April

Book Review: The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood


I read The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood mostly because it was on the non-fiction bestseller’s list and I thought it might be interesting to read about the history of information. But this book is not just the history of information but also the communication of that information. Actually, I think the book might be miss named. Maybe it should be named the History of Communication. After all, the author first starts out with discussing the use of drums to convey messages, then he moves on to smoke signals and this theme is returned to throughout the book. He even covers (quite extensively) the history of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), which I had just read a full history of and will have to post a seperate review here later.

After the OED, he covers the interesting history behind the telephone, computers, Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), wikipedia, domain names, photography, printing press, email, microfilm, twitter, and google. During all this discussion he also takes time to discuss information theory, information overload, and too much information (TMI) e.g. noise.

All these topics and more are covered extensively in the book. I found that in places he was a bit over verbose, but that may be because I had just read all about the OED and was really bored through this section, because I already knew the history of this monumental work.