Found in 7 comments on Hacker News
weinzierl · 2016-05-01 · Original thread
An interview with Scott Aaronson touches the some subject: "Scott Aaronson on Philosophical Progress" [1]:

Luke (interviewer):


I’ve previously called philosophy a “diseased discipline[2],” for many reasons. For one thing, people working in philosophy-the-field tend to know strikingly little about the philosophical progress made in other fields, e.g. computer science or cognitive neuroscience. For another, books on the history of philosophy seem to be about the musings of old dead guys who were wrong about almost everything because they didn’t have 20th century science or math, rather than about actual philosophical progress, which is instead recounted in books like The Information[3].




You’re right that these “old dead guys” didn’t know all the math and science we know today, but then again, neither did Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky! I mean, sure, the central questions of philosophy have changed over time, and the human condition has changed as well: we no longer get confused over Zeno’s paradoxes or the divine right of kings, and we now have global telecommunications and the Pill. I just don’t think either human nature or human philosophical concerns have changed quickly enough for great literature on them written centuries ago to have ceased being great.





27182818284 · 2012-09-12 · Original thread
The book that I wanted to write until I found out not only that it was written, but that it does a better job on the subject that I could have

Jach · 2012-08-20 · Original thread
I'd recommend staying away from the classics and also a lot of popular history books, in fact stay away from the books most commonly read by the general population and also by your peers. (Unless you really want to read them, or have nothing better to read, suit your fancy.) Why? If something is read widely, the important parts of it are likely to seep into your brain sooner or later regardless of if you read the book anyway. Especially if the book is fiction, but it works with popular nonfiction too. The advice is for avoiding commonly read books, however, not subjects or genres (indeed, fining uncommon books on "known" subjects that contradict that which is "known" can be very rewarding), and the "by your peers" qualifier allows "guiltless" reading of bestsellers your peers have no clue about.

Reading less-read things will give you an orthogonal base of knowledge from your peers. This will make you more valuable as an individual. (Though if you're ignorant of the cogwork everyone must know as general knowledge you might face job dangers.) By definition adding another dimension to what you know gives you a whole new place to explore that you never could have gone to beforehand. There is a lot more potential to be found by reading the more uncommon things.

Since we're all leaving book recommendations, the last book I read was The Information, Not incredibly rare but not incredibly common--hardly any of its elaborated history was ever mentioned in my K-12 education. I wouldn't say everyone should read it, though I thoroughly enjoyed it, and you can read the reviews on Amazon if you want a sample of opinions.

ThomPete · 2012-01-24 · Original thread
If you haven't already I would really recommend you to read the book:

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

Great detailed historical perspective and lots of aha moments.

smalter · 2012-01-02 · Original thread

Recently read Gleick's excellent The Information ( which made a similar point.

Moving from oral to writing as the primary units of information of communication allowed us to make huge improvements in thought. Argument became enunciable and then able to be analyzed, rather than being a big game of telephone.

portman · 2011-09-23 · Original thread
James Gleick's new book "The Information" devotes an entire chapter to the fascinating story of Ada Byron. I've read thoroughly about her life (we did, after all, name our youngest daughter after her) but nothing makes her genius come to life like Gleick.

It's on Kindle. Just go buy it now. The Ada stuff is in Chapter 4, location 1841. It won't disappoint.

vdm · 2011-06-08 · Original thread
James Gleick's The Information has a good description of those people, and is a great read otherwise as well.

Fresh book recommendations delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday.