If you don't know the book Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid then you have missed a classic. Now there's a novel way to be guided through this tome by taking part in a Reddit read through.
If you don't know the book Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R Hofstadter, (ISBN:978-0465026562) then you have missed a classic.
It is relevant if you are interested in programming, AI, the theory of self awareness or philosophy. No it isn't a book that will make you a better Java or any other sort of programmer - it is best described as a book of deep thinking. It is mostly about the way formal systems can give rise to intelligence and self aware intelligence. It isn't a new book (first published in 1999) but it is still very relevant and has much to say.
Now you can study the book at the rate of about a chapter a week with the help of a Reddit read through. The idea is that everyone reads a chapter of the book and then meets up on the GEB subreddit to discuss it. The read though is being organized by Rob Speer, who led the GEB seminar at MIT, twice in the recent past. The seminar describes the subject matter as:
How are math, art, music, and language intertwined? How does intelligent behavior arise from its component parts? Can computers think? Can brains compute? Douglas Hofstadter probes very cleverly at these questions and more in his Pulitzer Prize winning book, "Gödel, Escher, Bach". In this seminar, we will read and discuss the book in depth, taking the time to solve its puzzles, appreciate the Bach pieces that inspired its dialogues, and discover its hidden tricks along the way.
Sadly there are no videos or other materials from the seminars, but how could you do better than join in the read though and discover the magic of book in the company of like minded enthusiasts?
The idea is to do more than just than passively read the book:
The idea was that a bunch of us would get together and read through GEB in great detail over the course of a semester, stopping to actually work through the math, make computer programs that expand on the ones in the book, and (my favorite part) find and listen to the referenced Bach music.
If you are interested there are more details on r/geb and the proposed starting date is January 17, 2012.
It looks like something worth checking out.