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General Category => Books => Topic started by: Liberty on July 12, 2017, 05:03:23 PM

Title: A Mind at Play: Claude Shannon bio - Soni & Goodman
Post by: Liberty on July 12, 2017, 05:03:23 PM
This is coming out soon, so I figured it probably should have its own thread to bring attention to it.

https://www.amazon.com/Mind-Play-Shannon-Invented-Information-ebook/dp/B01M5IJN1P/

Here's an except:

http://spectrum.ieee.org/geek-life/history/a-man-in-a-hurry-claude-shannons-new-york-years
Title: Re: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age - Soni & Goodman
Post by: Liberty on July 14, 2017, 08:16:14 AM
I was lucky enough to get a copy, I'll be letting everyone here know what I think of it when I've read it:

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DEtGyR2VYAEbYgb.jpg:small)
Title: Re: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age - Soni & Goodman
Post by: boilermaker75 on July 14, 2017, 08:36:41 AM
I was lucky enough to get a copy, I'll be letting everyone here know what I think of it when I've read it:

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DEtGyR2VYAEbYgb.jpg:small)

You must have connections!
Title: Re: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age - Soni & Goodman
Post by: Liberty on July 14, 2017, 08:52:25 AM
It's better to be lucky than to be good  8)
Title: Re: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age - Soni & Goodman
Post by: Liberty on July 14, 2017, 10:11:38 AM
“Our space probes still tethered to the Earth with thin cords of 0′s and 1′s.” (That’s good writing!)
Title: Re: A Mind at Play: Claude Shannon bio - Soni & Goodman
Post by: Liberty on July 18, 2017, 06:50:16 AM
I'm about 60 pages in and liking it so far. Very interesting to learn about pre-digital computers and how they could do fairly complex calculus simply be internally reproducing analogs to real world phenomenon with spinning discs and ball bearings and such.

There's a funny anecdote about how Shannon was almost prevented from taking a flying class as a student at MIT because his professors recognized how special a genius he was and they didn't think it was a good idea to put his life at risk :)

I also find it fascinating that Shannon and Turing met during the war, but couldn't really talk about what they were working on because it was so classified. Both of them together basically had all the theoretical pieces for digital computers.
Title: Re: A Mind at Play: Claude Shannon bio - Soni & Goodman
Post by: Liberty on July 19, 2017, 06:59:22 AM
btw, the book came out yesterday, for those who were waiting to order it.
Title: Re: A Mind at Play: Claude Shannon bio - Soni & Goodman
Post by: writser on July 19, 2017, 08:39:53 AM
Thanks. Put it on my e-reader for the upcoming vacation. Looking forward to reading it.
Title: Re: A Mind at Play: Claude Shannon bio - Soni & Goodman
Post by: Liberty on July 21, 2017, 07:24:46 AM
Even more stuff on Shannon:

https://medium.com/the-mission/10-000-hours-with-claude-shannon-12-lessons-on-life-and-learning-from-a-genius-e8b9297bee8f

The authors of the book wrote about their 5 years reseraching him and 12 lessons they learned from him.

Also, there's a review by Vin Cerf (co-inventor of TCP/IP protocol on which the internet is built) here:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v547/n7662/full/547159a.html?foxtrotcallback=true
Title: Re: A Mind at Play: Claude Shannon bio - Soni & Goodman
Post by: Liberty on August 03, 2017, 06:42:57 AM
Really enjoying the book so far. About halfway through and it's well-written and well-researched.

The authors did an AMA on reddit about the book and the research on Claude Shannon:

https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/6pa11p/we_spent_5_years_studying_claude_shannonthe/
Title: Re: A Mind at Play: Claude Shannon bio - Soni & Goodman
Post by: Liberty on August 11, 2017, 06:17:00 AM
I'm more than halfway through the book now, and the chapter I just finished (called "The Bomb", because the effect of Shannon's theories had the impact of a bomb on the field) was just excellent. I already knew many of the basics of information theory, but this was a good primer on how the ideas were developed and their game-changing impact.

I appreciate how the book spends a lot of time on Shannon's work and theories and doesn't focus that much on every single detail of his personal life and childhood and such as some biographies sometimes do (not necessarily a bad thing, especially when you want the definitive bio of someone, but some people are more interesting than others and sometimes you just want the highlights).
Title: Re: A Mind at Play: Claude Shannon bio - Soni & Goodman
Post by: Liberty on August 17, 2017, 05:23:25 PM
Claude Shannon’s investment in Teledyne had a 27% CAGR over 25 years… He was a college friends of Singleton, who put him on his board.
Title: Re: A Mind at Play: Claude Shannon bio - Soni & Goodman
Post by: Liberty on August 23, 2017, 05:07:38 PM
Finally finished it. Here's my Amazon review:

Quote
I've been circling Claud Shannon for many years, but until now I could never satisfy my curiosity about him. When reading about Bell Labs, I saw many anecdotes and praise about the man. He was mentioned in works about Teledyne's Henry Singleton and books by and about Ed Thorp, he was also mentioned in works about Alan Turing, John von Neumann, etc. Clearly he deserved a good biography, and now he has it. The book doesn't try to give you every single detail known about Shannon's life but rather focuses on the highlights, and it's quite good at it. I already had some familiarity with Shannon's work, but the book - while accessible to the layperson - pushed it farther and gave me a better appreciation of what he did and why it matters so much. It was also a good portrait of Shannon's personality and quirks (which, in some ways, remind me a bit of Richard Feynman, another genius who didn't take himself too seriously and followed his curiosity rather than his ego). If you like biographies like I do, I think you'll enjoy this one.
Title: Re: A Mind at Play: Claude Shannon bio - Soni & Goodman
Post by: writser on October 04, 2017, 08:44:21 AM
Reading this book now. So far I like it but I studied computer science so might be a bit biased. Author sometimes has a tendency to hype / dramatize the story, which annoys me a bit.

FWIW I also read (and enjoyed) the book about Maxwell and Faraday. In both books Lord Kelvin (wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Thomson,_1st_Baron_Kelvin)) is a recurring character. Seems like that guy did everything. Physics, math, laying transatlantic cables, building analog computers, improving compasses, building power stations, being a member of the House of Lords, investing, chairing Kodak (the photo company) .. Makes me feel lazy!

Maybe his biography should be the next book on my nerd reading list.
Title: Re: A Mind at Play: Claude Shannon bio - Soni & Goodman
Post by: boilermaker75 on October 04, 2017, 08:58:23 AM
Reading this book now. So far I like it but I studied computer science so might be a bit biased. Author sometimes has a tendency to hype / dramatize the story, which annoys me a bit.

FWIW I also read (and enjoyed) the book about Maxwell and Faraday. In both books Lord Kelvin (wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Thomson,_1st_Baron_Kelvin)) is a recurring character. Seems like that guy did everything. Physics, math, laying transatlantic cables, building analog computers, improving compasses, building power stations, being a member of the House of Lords, investing, chairing Kodak (the photo company) .. Makes me feel lazy!

Maybe his biography should be the next book on my nerd reading list.

A character you may be interested in reading about would be Oliver Heaviside,

https://www.amazon.com/Oliver-Heaviside-Electrical-Genius-Victorian/dp/0801869099/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1507132294&sr=8-2&keywords=oliver+heaviside

The above book is good, but there are some equations and circuit diagrams in it!

Heaviside developed modern vector notation, which was also independently developed at the same time by Josiah Gibbs. Heaviside needed his vector notation to take the 18 equations Maxwell worked with and compact them into the four Maxwell equations, which Maxwell never saw!
Title: Re: A Mind at Play: Claude Shannon bio - Soni & Goodman
Post by: writser on October 04, 2017, 12:51:54 PM
Thanks, I'll put it on my list. Found my favorite quote so far:

Quote
Asked what sort of information theory was best for investing, Shannon joked: "inside information".
Title: Re: A Mind at Play: Claude Shannon bio - Soni & Goodman
Post by: Liberty on April 30, 2018, 12:51:37 PM
Today is Claude Shannon's birthday (born in 1916, died in 2001). Probably a good day to go on Amazon and order this book! ;)
Title: Re: A Mind at Play: Claude Shannon bio - Soni & Goodman
Post by: boilermaker75 on January 01, 2019, 08:08:20 AM
Kindle version on sale this month for $3.99,

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M5IJN1P/ref=s9_acsd_hps_bw_c_x_19_w?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-12&pf_rd_r=KZY66KJ7B1WKHM8FD24V&pf_rd_r=KZY66KJ7B1WKHM8FD24V&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=75783a82-7bde-473c-ad63-cf0125bac560&pf_rd_p=75783a82-7bde-473c-ad63-cf0125bac560&pf_rd_i=3441883011