Monday, April 11, 2005

A review of 1.8% of a massive Egotistical work

Have had A New Kind of Science sitting under my space heater for a few months now, but finally caught up on my graphic novels so decided to take a stab at Wolfram's chef-d'oeuvre. Once again taking a page from the Eric Muller, I thought I'd review the first 22 pages of the 846 page tome (1197 including notes).

In the Relations to Other Areas portion of Chapter 1, the full import of the book is presented for all readers to appreciate:

Hands down the most egotistical into to a book I've ever read - topping even Codd's ego. I'm guessing that after spending 10 years working on his magnum opus, Wolfram felt obliged to insert every insight he possessed into it. The 5 pages exerted above could easily have been condensed into 1 paragraph - complex phenomenon in nature are caused by simple underlying patters - how hard would that have been?

Newsweek's review implied that Wolfram expected to enter the pantheon of Newton, Darwin, and others of equal stature. The first 22 pages of egoism belie that expectation. Not sure if how many of the remaining 1175 pages I'll slog through, so will leave the last word to leander's review on Amazon:

There are three big problems with this book (1) He pretends to present new, big ideas, but instead just re-hashes old concepts; (2) He has a huge ego and refuses to acknowledge others who have walked before him; and (3) the book is virtually impossible to read.

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