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Reviews for Godel, Escher, Bach

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    One of a Kind5

    Michael Gilding Godel, Escher, Bach is easily my favourite book, and has been for the thirty-odd years since I first read it.

    Douglas Hofstadter combines and links the various themes associated with the characters in the title (and some others) in fascinating and imaginative ways. He explores similarities between Art, Philosophy and Science and relates these to the nature of intelligence, and the possibilities of artificial intelligence. It helps if you have some basic understanding of formal logic and an affinity with structures such as recursion, fugues and self-reference. But I doubt if any of this is necessary. There are sections that look a little dated now, after so much advance in genetics and computing in particular. However, I don't think this detracts much, if anything, from this thoroughly thought-provoking read.

    Although there is a gradual building of concepts through the book, its structure is almost fugal with sections on competing themes alternating and sometimes combining in original and amusing ways. Having read it once, I found that I could dip in to re-read sections for pleasure, each time noticing new details. There are so many interesting insights and so much variety that I am never bored.

    If I had to chose my desert island book, this would certainly be it. It is one of a kind. by Michael Gilding

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