## Do You like book Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (1999)?

This is a nice book if you want to understand the Gödel incompleteness proof, and get an account that is both accessible and reasonably rigorous. There's a lot of other fun stuff as well, but it's the Gödel proof that's the core of the book, and if that doesn't turn you on then you aren't really going to think GEB is worth the effort. Personally, I would say that this is one of the most amazing things ever. The more you think about it, the more bizarre it gets... there are mathematical theorems that are true, but which you can't prove. And not only can you can prove that that is so, you can even construct examples of such theorems! It sounds about as possible as eating your own head, but it really works... Hofstadter shows you the machine, takes it to pieces, and then puts it back together again and runs the engine. Vroom!PS I remember, not long after GEB came out, leafing through an interview with Sylvester Stallone. The interviewer asked him what he was reading at the moment. "Godel, Escher, Bach," said Stallone. "It's really hard."Probably Rambo is in real life a smart, well educated person, and this is deeply unfair to him, but I couldn't help finding it funny.

—Manny

This is an absolutely phenomenal work. Let me break it down for you. Topics covered: DNA and RNA replication, Artificial Intelligence, Zen Buddism, Eschers artwork, Computer programming, Bachs fugues, a whole host of literary paradoxes and critical thinking exercises wow fun! Now let me tell you what all of this great information rests in, the framework of mathematics housed by Godels own theorems and proof. Yikes! Luckily the author understands that not all of us think mathematically. Don't get me wrong its math, there is no getting around it. But he presents the material in so many various forms. He uses Lewis Carols interaction between Achilles and the Tortoise to help make mental connections for those of us who are literary minded (thank you!) and artwork for those of us who are visually minded. And then long strands of proofs in, yes you guessed it, mathematical formulas and the like as the bulk of the work. It is a staggering accomplishment, I was especially impressed by his using Achilles the Tortoise and the Crab (plus Genes) to get ATCG for the DNA portion. Very clever! I will say that I can't comment on how much of math I actually understood. I can say that his mingling of approaches lead me to a great deal of conclusions and just as with everything in math you get those great Ah Hah! moments where it all seems to come together and you make those connections that you have been meandering around for awhile. It is one of the fun things about math that doesn't often duplicate itself in other portions of life. A work worth taking your time over.

—Cassandra Kay Silva

A friend of mine calls this a book for "pretentious teens and people who are too busy reflecting on their own existence to do anything productive" -- with a bit of self-mockery, I'm sure. My early, tentative take on GEB is that it's decidedly unpretentious, almost certainly written to be as accessible as its subject matter will allow. (If anything, it's a little corny at times.) The subject matter is artificial intelligence, a field which I suppose could turn out to be a dead end in the long run, but which will hardly have been unproductive (think of the historical relationship between alchemy and chemistry). Hofstadter here lays out the terrain of AI, its cruxes and its prospects, and in doing so roams through the fields of music, art, analytic philosophy, math, and genetics, all the while binding the threads into a theory of mind.It's quite a bit to absorb. I read GEB over the course of the summer, dividing my attention between it and all the other books that I read during that time. I wish that I had read it with a pencil in hand; every new section sent me down a rabbit-hole of ideas and unanticipated connections, and you should never trust your ideas to your memory. I look forward to reading this again in a couple of years; I hope that by then I'll be able to talk about it more lucidly.

—Jacob