#Book Review – Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. A polymath takes you on a magical journey.

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What do a mathematician, a musician and an artist have in common? And how does this find resonance with one of the forefathers of AI? This is a book that plays out on so many different levels – infact more than a read, its an experience you are about to immerse yourself in. For example while self-recursion is discussed at depth, its done in a playful manner and through multiple points of view (with some adorable literary characters setting the stage before handing it over for some in-depth rumination!). Its clear the book is special to the author as well – just check out the preface and you’ll know how much the book and its life mean to him.

Read this book and am sure you will find it a rewarding experience. Its rarely that a polymath will take you by the hand and show you how he sees the world. for such an intellect, specialisations don’t matter – art, literature, math and music are all fertile ground for an exploration of on patterns and how complexity plays out. It’s a meandering, long read – treat it as a walk in the wild woods and not a formal tea at the garden – and you’ll come out with a sense of wonder. Guaranteed!

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Inspiration comes easy…

There seems room for celebration in these apparently paradoxical times. Our heroes provide inspiration unlimited, having overcome seemingly impossible odds -consider the following:

Sheena Iyengar, one of the leading experts on “choices” in our increasingly-visual world happens to be blind

One of the greatest composers ever (Beethovan) couldn’t hear his own tunes

StephenHawking inspires us to think of limitless galaxies and dark holes from the confines of a wheelchair

Quite a few great scientists believed in a God; while Mendel, a priest discovered stuff that makes him revered even today as the “father of genetics”

We see spirit triumph over the body – Christopher Reeve, our superman’s body succumbed to an accident, his spirit didn’t; Lance Armstrong won the tour de France after a successful fight with cancer – and declared “it’snotaboutthebike!”

And these are only a sample….so what could be stopping us from reaching greatness?