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George's Book Picks

The following is George's "recommended reading list" pulled from his own library. Each month we will feature a book that recently joined George's favorites list.

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The Advent of
the Algorithm

by David Berlinski

Don't be put off by the author's vagaries and discursions. They are sometimes poetic and funny, sometimes distracting, but if you press on, you will encounter a unique tale of the real meaning of the science and technology of the twentieth century-the overthrow of the materialist superstition in the heart of mathematics physics, biology, and computer science. Berlinski was a student of Alonzo Church, who was the most fruitful protégé of Kurt Godel, who defined the limits of mathematics and tutored Einstein. This contrarian tour de force is a gripping adventure in the ideas that matter in the 21st century as it transcends and surpasses the 20th. —George Gilder
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Newton's Telecom
Dictionary, 17th Edition

By Harry Newton
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George Gilder's 's favorite dictionary of telecosm, networking, Internet and new Economy terms. Over 22,000 terms defined and explained, benefits weighed and debated. This book is the passion of over 20 years of painstaking research, updating and improving. Although a dictionary of technical terms, it's not a technical book. Newton explains terms in non-technical, business language that anyone in business can understand. He wrote the book for users, vendors, investors and business executives. He wrote it with style and humor that makes it a most enjoyable read. Over 600,000 copies have been sold -- making it by far the biggest-selling dictionary of its kind in the world. Highly recommended.

Mind at Light Speed
by David D. Nolte
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A leading physicist, solid state theorist, and inventor of dynamic holography, Nolte has reshaped telecosmic theory for the 21st century. Describing the promise of an all optical Internet and the limitations of human vision, he envisages a new computing and networking architecture based on the massive parallelism of holograms. With Avanex and Terabeam both gaining competitive advantage through holographic techniques, with Essex pursuing the huge advantages of analog optical processing, and with Carver Mead transforming the camera in the image of the human retina, NolteŐs book is a paradigm tour. Lucidly written for the layman, it explores the parallel advantages of light and image in the new era of optics. He ends with an intriguing discussion of quantum computing.


In the Beginning Was
the Command Line

by Neal Stephenson
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Machine Beauty
by David Gelernter
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This month we will have two slim books—extended essays—which cast new light on the onrushing cascade of new paradigm software. One-In the Beginning Was the Command Line-is a fast, funny, and uncannily perceptive history of computer operating systems by the incomparable Neal Stephenson, author of Cryptonomicon, a panoramic historical novel which was one of the first and best of our books of the month. A former programmer, Stephenson explains in savvy and acrobatic prose the contribution of Microsoft and its obsolescence today, and explains why Linux is real—why operating systems will all be essentially free and open sourced.

The second book is Machine Beauty by David Gelernter, star of storewidth, who explains and expounds the assumptions behind his transfiguration of the user interface through his company Mirror Worlds, named after his prophetic book by the same title, which essentially outlined the key features of the ultimate World Wide Web (still under construction today). Gelernter is an essential guide to the future of computer interfaces and databases.

New Era of Wealth

The Quantum Brain
by Jeffrey Satinover
The Search for Freedom and the Next Generation of Man

The Quantum Brain is an adventure in the science of ideas. It is the first book on the brain that combines a grasp of the physics of the microcosm and the technologies of artificial intelligence, neural networks, and self-organizing systems, with a recognition of the transcendant properties that define the mind and differentiate it from matter. Although the subject is inherently difficult and novel, Jeffrey Satinover is an inspired guide through the fertile areas of convergence among the pivotal sciences of the age. From such insights will emerge both new technologies and new philosophies and theologies for the Twenty First Century. Order the Book

Basic Economics
A Citizen's Guide to the Economy
by Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is widely known as a masterly writer on the intricacies of race and culture around the globe. His recent autobiography offers a fascinating vista into his amazing life battling the forces of political correctness on issues of race. But Sowell began as a superb economic theorist, bringing to light the foundational principles of supply side economics in Says Law ("Supply creates its own demand") and Knowledge and Decisions. Now he has summed up a lifetime of economic wisdom in this definitive text, Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy. He offers pithy and trenchant accounts of a wide range of issues, from the perversity of rent controls and the wastefulness of recycling to the irrelevance of sex and race in income data and the true role of government in economy.
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New Era of WealthThe Holy Grail of Data Storage Management
What Every Enterprise Needs to Know to Solve Its Data Deluge
by Jon William Toigo

An excellent primer on network storage-perhaps the only in depth, book length treatment of the subject. The book does, however, suffer from conventional thinking. In particular, Toigo buys into the flawed notion that the number one reason for SAN architectures is to save network bandwidth.

Recommended as good background reading on enterprise storage.

Collective Electrodynamics
Quantum Foundations of Electromagnetism
by Carver A. Mead

The book of the month (and perhaps of the decade; time will tell) is Collective Electrodynamics by Carver Mead, written is his copious free time while launching a revolution in the camera business with the Foveon imager. Mead's climactic speech at Telecosm, ending with a prolonged standing ovation, focused less on Foveon's amazing new chip and its impact on cameras than on his new book and its promise of a revolution in the physics of the electromagnetic spectrum. Some mathematics afflicts about two-thirds of the chapters, but the rest are readable and riveting.
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New Era of WealthThe New Era of Wealth
How Investors Can Profit from the 5 Economic Trends Shaping the Future
by Brian S. Wesbury

The first book with a Telecosm List, a supply-side tilt, and a Greenspan critique, Brian Wesbury's pithy tome castigates the prevailing medianomics and offers a felicitous guide for investing in the new economy.

The Innovator's Dilemma
When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail

By Clayton M. Christensen

"The most profound and useful business book ever written about innovation, it catapults its softspoken author abruptly into the class of Burnham and Drucker."
—George Gilder, October 1998 GTR
Only the Paranoid Survive
The Threat & Promise of Strategic Inflection Points

By Andrew S. Grove

"As a strategic fact, defining the conditions of the business and the opportunities of the era, broadband is now. This is a fundamental paradigm shift-an inflection point like those described in Andy Grove's riveting new book, Only the Paranoid Survive."
—George Gilder, August 1996 GTR
Adventures of a Bystander (Trailblazers, Rediscovering the Pioneers of Business)

By Peter F. Drucker
The Effective Executive

By Peter F. Drucker

Being Digital

By Nicholas Negroponte

The Twilight of Sovereignty
How the Information Revolution is Transforming Our World

by Walter B. Wriston

The End of Money and the Struggle for Financial Privacy

by Richard W. Rahn

Former Chief Economist of the National Chamber of Commerce, Richard Rahn has peered deeply into the heated caldron of money, encryption, privacy, bandwith and bureaucracy and emerged with a stark and stormy vision of the future. This crisply written text foresees a concussive collision of new technologies and old institutions, such as banks and nations, debts and taxes, and a new world of web commerce on the other side.

Optical Networks

by Rajiv Ramaswami and Kumar N. Sivarajan

This book is a lucid and practical exposition of the optics state of the art by two protege's of Paul Green. Skip the denser math if you want and you still can deepen your knowledge of this incandescent field. You can also expose yourself to the thinking of Rajiv Ramaswami, who is moving to Silicon Valley to guide an exciting startup in optical switching, called XRos, into the frontiers of the telecosm.

Feynman and Computation
Exploring the Limits of Computers

Edited by Anthony J.G. Hey
(not to be confused with Feynman Lectures on Computation)

This book contains three seminal lectures by Carver Mead, who co-taught the course with Feynman, and includes many vivid recollections of and by the world's greatest physicist in interplay with the world's leading computer scientists.

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled."
—Feynman on the Challenger disaster

Computer Architecture
A Quantitative Approach

By David A. Patterson & John L. Hennessy

A leader in the debate over the structure of tomorrow's computers, "David Patterson explained how many of the problems with current computer architecture could give way to an intelligent RAM architecture. He favors use of parallel vector processors programmable through the means familiar in vector Cray supercomputers."
—George Gilder, October 1997 GTR

Introduction to VLSI Systems

By Carver Mead & Lynn Conway


Feynman Lectures on Physics

By Richard P. Feynman



Analog VLSI and Neural Systems

By Carver Mead

Computer Organization and Design
The Hardware/Software Interface

By David A. Patterson & John L. Hennessy

Packet Communication

By Robert M. Metcalfe

Bob Metcalfe invented ethernet and was a founder of 3Com. His 1973 doctoral dissertation, Packet Communication, is a classic text in the development of the communications protocols at the core of the Telecosm.

"In the new paradigm, the Moore's Law advance of MIPS and bits gives way to the Metcalfe's Law explosion of bandwidth." —George Gilder, August 1996 GTR

An Introduction to Information Theory
Symbols, Signals and Noise

By John R. Pierce

"Shannon's work is shrouded in hardcore math and the explanation can be skipped if you want. But it is worth getting a glimpse of his vision. It is most clearly expounded by his leading apostle, John R. Pierce of Bell Laboratories, in a book called An Introduction to Information Theory."
—George Gilder, June 1998 GTR

Fiber Optic Networks

By Paul E. Green

"the leading text on fiber networks"

—George Gilder, February 1997 GTR

The Age of Spiritual Machines
When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence

By Ray Kurzweil

CDMA Principles of Spread Spectrum Communication

By Andrew J. Viterbi

Viterbi presents the mathematical bridge between Shannon's theories and today's most advanced wireless technology.

"For many years, few noticed the full significance of [Shannon's] baffling message. Andrew Viterbi, the famed author of the Viterbi algorithm, now at Qualcomm, was one of the few. With Jacobs and Gilhousen, they set out to fulfill the Shannon mandate. In the Telecosm today, physics, optics, engineering, signals, and noise all are now beginning to whirl centrifugally in Shannon's hyperspace. Just as Wavelength Division Multiplexing is the wireline expression of Shannon's vision, CDMA is the wireless form of "wide and weak."
—George Gilder, June 1998 GTR

Claude Elwood Shannon
Collected Papers

By Claude E. Shannon

"As early as 1949, Claude Shannon, the inventor of information theory, defined the crucial tradeoffs of a regime of bandwidth abundance. Bandwidth, he showed, can substitute both for switching and for power. The new paradigm requires that successful companies of the new era pursue this crucial trade off among the emerging technologies of sand and glass and air."
—George Gilder, July 1996 GTR

"The great astronomer and physicist Kepler wrote: "I cherish more than anything else the Analogies.They know all the secrets of nature." For the Microcosm, the model was to move to the center of the sphere, at the atomic level, where power was concentrated. With an uncanny analogy of communications to multi-dimensional geometry, however, Claude Shannon in 1948 supplied a new spherical analogy for the Telecosm. An MIT professor with close ties to Bell Laboratories, he developed information theory to gauge the potential capacity of any communications channel in the presence of noise. This work took the theory of the Telecosm from the center of the sphere, where power was unlimited and bandwidth scarce, to the surface of the sphere, where the results were weirdly wide and weak and counterintuitive."
—George Gilder, June 1998 GTR © 2002 Gilder Technology Group. All rights reserved.