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While this is clearly not a better book than the incomparable Godel Escher Bach, I would have to say that I enjoyed it Because I understood almost all of it the very first time through while GEB took me about a year to digest, chewing slowly over each cognitive morsel, sometimes metaphorically regurgitating it a few times before getting it through the cerebral equivalent of my lower intestines Metamagical Themas is food for thought, but it s simple sugars, perhaps a fruit smoothie to GEB s heavy proteins and complex carbohydrates GEB was work to read Immensely satisfying, but work nonetheless This was a stroll in the park by comparison, and what a delightful park indeed This book introduced me to many fascinating concepts, and had a lasting influence on me in two significant ways 1 I tried to develop my very own personal font And 2 It inspired me write my own book about game theory I finished writing the book The font remains an unrealized fantasy But definitely something with serifs The title, by the way, is an anagram of Mathematical Games This is appropriate, because games are, by definition, fun And you d have to look far and wide to find so much fun in mathematics. This book is huge like a massive dictionary and packed with a bunch of essays on a range of topics too broad to even try to describe Some of them were great and either made you laugh or think about things you hadn t before, though a few weren t as good But overall, if you can make it through this book, it s worth the interesting journey. I don t recall how or where I got this book as a young teenager I swear my aunt gave it to me but she denies it This book is a collection of Hofstader s essays and columns, many of which were published in Scientific American I d say the first time I read this book I understood about an eighth of what he was talking about I dare say if I read it again I might barely be above half Not because the writing is difficult, but because the topics are diverse and deep Hofstader s column in Scientific American was intended to bridge the literary and the scientific, and does The book titled after the column contains essays on self referential sentences The reader of this sentence exists only while reading me is one of my favorites the mathematics of Frederic Chopin s compositions a taxonomy of Rubik s Cube variations the emerging studies of chaos and compexity metafonts artificial intelligence and machine learning what the word I means and a deep study of the mechanics and ethics of cooperation This book was probably the most influential book I read growing up, as I think it set me on the path to study computer science But its effect was even broader Metamagical Themas encouraged me to play with ideas, with words and with the world around me. Hofstadter is best known for his 1979 Pulitzer prize book G del, Escher, Bach an Eternal Golden Braid, which I read during college This 1985 book consists mostly of a compilation of articles from Scientific American in the early 1980 s, along with updated post scriptums, and a few extra miscellaneous chapters on subjects not covered in those articles He took over writing of the Mathematical Games column in Scientific American from Martin Gardner in the early 80 s, and when deciding for a new name for the column, decided to use the the anagram Metamagical Themas Some of the articles contain dated references, such as early versions of what would later become email and instant messaging along with an essay on Rubik s cube.Various topics are covered across the articles essays, including language, art, music, the mind, creativity, consciousness, philosophy, self reference, logic, cognition, science and mathematics Hofstadter s intelligence and quest for thinking shines throughout as well as his passion for this broad range of subjects.For those familiar with the Prisoner s Dilemmma, there s a chapter devoted to the classic version, as well as other chapters devoted to various cooperator defector offshoots.Personally, it brought back memories of my college years with a few articles on LISP, an AI artifical intelligence programming language, and it s car cdr constructs, which I had to write programs for in one of my classes It also briefly covered robotics and pattern recognition, a subject I did a thesis on in the late 80 s. [ FREE ] ☲ Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern ☦ Amazing EPub, Metamagical Themas Questing For The Essence Of Mind And Pattern By Douglas R Hofstadter This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book Metamagical Themas Questing For The Essence Of Mind And Pattern, Essay By Douglas R Hofstadter Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please Read And Make A Refission For You
While this is not exactly a review, I thought I d leave a few comments here I recently got this on Kindle, so I ve been slowly revisiting a few choice bits here and there For what it s worth, I was dumbfounded to see this was available on Kindle Given that his most popular and best selling book G del, Escher, Bach is still not available for Kindle, I took it for granted that none of his books were available on Kindle except, perhaps, I am a Strange Loop, published, if I recall correctly, after Kindles were already on the market.Anyway, after downloading this, I started flipping through the chapters wondering which I should reread and was a bit stunned to be reminded that there are 3 chapters on Lisp What s interesting about this is imagining this text appearing in Scientific American While I have fond memories of what SciAm used to be, it s hard to gel that with the image of SciAm that I currently have in my head The days of meaty, tangible material in technical magazine that you could actually sit down and do something with c.f., Byte , seem so long ago Make and the recently deceased, in print format, Linux Journal, not withstanding that it s hard to picture actual articles on Lisp appearing in what was, in fact, a fairly popular science magazine This is not to say that SciAm is not still of good quality, but it s certainly a very different beast than what it used to be These days, I would basically call it a nicer version of Discover again, not to denigrate that magazine, but it certainly lacks depth in most cases.To be continued This is mostly a collection of Hofstadter s Scientific American columns As a result the content is even diverse in this book than in G del, Escher, Bach, and reading a few columns in a row left me a little bewildered A couple of the essays seemed a little dated For example, he gives a discussion of large numbers with frequent references to Rubik s Cube but maybe my dislike of the reference is just because I m terrible at that thing.That said, Hofstadter is a wonderfully imaginative and entertaining writer, and there were some themes underlying the whole book which anybody familiar with Hofstadter will be able to guess, such as the nature of intelligence and consciousness and the concept of self reference Each essay is small and self contained, making this book one I will feel comfortable going back to and re reading. I d always wanted to solve the Rubik s Cube Then, while reading his chapter on the principles of the cube, specifically Partial Inverses , I had the flash of insight I needed, and BLAMMO cube solved This isn t a joke, it really happened.I expect most people will have similar flashes of insight in every chapter Buy this book Read it Forget treating it well Destroy the book while reading it Take it to the beach Write in the margins Scribble out words and replace them with improved approximations Spill coffee on it Throw it against the wall Forget you left it on the bed and fuck on it Dog ear the pages Skip chapters and never look back you ll be back.Do everything you can to get through it No judgments Feeling comfortable with these ideas will enrich your life. The thing I loved about this one is the playfulness involved Sometimes I thought my head was going to explode from the weird wonderfulness of the ideas The two chapters on self referential sentences were absolutely delightful Some I recall It goes without saying that Let us make a new convention that any thing shown in triple quotes, for instance I ve changed my mind, when you reach the close of the triple quotes, just go directly to the period at the end of the sentence, and ignore everything up to that point should not even be read or given the slightest attention, much less actually obeyed Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation.Definitely a great read Pick up this book, and you will find yourself returning to it again and again Not only is Metamagical Themas a great source and resource in itself, but it will lead you to other fascinating books to wit books that deal not only with science but with literature and music I owe Hofstadter a debt of gratitude for providing me with his wonderful introduction to the works of Allen Wheelis.