Books That Inspire 2001


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


In graduate school I discovered Gödel, Escher, Bach. I read every word. I re-read much of it, savoring important parts. I’ve never seen a book so inter-disciplinary, yet so coherent. This book is math, it’s art, it’s music, it’s cognitive science, it’s philosophy, it’s computer science, it’s biology, it’s. . . well, you get the idea. The highlights are the Crab Canon, Contracrostipunctus (an acrostic with a built-in, self-referenced acrostic!), and Hofstadter’s prescient description of the human genome (which, amazingly, he relates to Bach’s fugues). Hofstadter won a well-deserved and surprising Pulitzer Prize for this work.
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Joe Rodgers
Professor of Psychology