Monday, December 29, 2008

The Pinball Effect

The Pinball Effect: How Renaissance Water Gardens Made the Carburetor Possible and Other Journeys Through Knowledge
© James Burke 1996
277 pages plus index and bibliography

This latest book is a bit hard to comment on, and harder still to classify. The book concerns itself with the "web of knowledge", and focuses on how knowledge tends to advance in random ways, often resulting in curious coincidences. There are eighteen chapters, ranging in subject matter from cathode rays to anthropology, and taken in full they cover just about every aspect of human thought from philosophy to science. The author writes well and presents a lot of interesting (if trivial) information, but the book doesn't seem as focused as it should be for presenting the ideas within. The author seemed to ramble. Beyond this, I don't know what else to add.

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