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Probable Impossibilities

By Alan Lightman
  • ISBN Code: : 1524749028
  • Publisher : Vintage
  • Pages : 224
  • Category : Science
  • Reads : 779
  • Book Compatibility : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Pdf : probable-impossibilities.pdf

Book Excerpt :

The acclaimed author of Einstein’s Dreams tackles "big questions like the origin of the universe and the nature of consciousness ... in an entertaining and easily digestible way” (Wall Street Journal) with a collection of meditative essays on the possibilities—and impossibilities—of nothingness and infinity, and how our place in the cosmos falls somewhere in between. Can space be divided into smaller and smaller units, ad infinitum? Does space extend to larger and larger regions, on and on to infinity? Is consciousness reducible to the material brain and its neurons? What was the origin of life, and can biologists create life from scratch in the lab? Physicist and novelist Alan Lightman, whom The Washington Post has called “the poet laureate of science writers,” explores these questions and more—from the anatomy of a smile to the capriciousness of memory to the specialness of life in the universe to what came before the Big Bang. Probable Impossibilities is a deeply engaged consideration of what we know of the universe, of life and the mind, and of things vastly larger and smaller than ourselves.

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  • Book Code : 1501154370
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  • Pdf File: in-praise-of-wasting-time.pdf

Book Short Summary:

In this timely and essential book that offers a fresh take on the qualms of modern day life, Professor Alan Lightman investigates the creativity born from allowing our minds to freely roam, without attempting to accomplish anything and without any assigned tasks. We are all worried about wasting time. Especially in the West, we have created a frenzied lifestyle in which the twenty-­four hours of each day are carved up, dissected, and reduced down to ten minute units of efficiency. We take our iPhones and laptops with us on vacation. We check email at restaurants or our brokerage accounts while walking in the park. When the school day ends, our children are overloaded with “extras.” Our university curricula are so crammed our young people don’t have time to reflect on the material they are supposed to be learning. Yet in the face of our time-driven existence, a great deal of evidence suggests there is great value in “wasting time,” of letting the mind lie fallow for some periods, of letting minutes and even hours go by without scheduled activities or intended tasks. Gustav Mahler routinely took three or four-­hour walks after lunch, stopping to jot down ideas in his notebook. Carl Jung did his most creative thinking and writing when he visited his country house. In his 1949 autobiography, Albert Einstein described how his thinking involved letting his mind roam over many possibilities and making connections between concepts that were previously unconnected. With In Praise of Wasting Time, Professor Alan Lightman documents the rush and heave of the modern world, suggests the technological and cultural origins of our time-­driven lives, and examines the many values of “wasting time”—for replenishing the mind, for creative thought, and for finding and solidifying the inner self. Break free from the idea that we must not waste a single second, and discover how sometimes the best thing to do is to do nothing at all.

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Book Short Summary:

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Book Short Summary:

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  • Pdf File: quantum-reality.pdf

Book Short Summary:

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  • Pdf File: the-book-of-universes.pdf

Book Short Summary:

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  • Pdf File: the-discoveries.pdf

Book Short Summary:

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Book Short Summary:

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Book Short Summary:

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  • Pdf File: the-summer-of-impossibilities.pdf

Book Short Summary:

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Book Short Summary:

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Book Short Summary:

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Book Short Summary:

During the course of a career that began in the late 1940s, Lenny Bruce challenged the sanctity of organized religion and other societal and political conventions and widened the boundaries of free speech. Critic Ralph Gleason said, “So many taboos have been lifted and so many comics have rushed through the doors Lenny opened. He utterly changed the world of comedy.” He died in 1966 at the age of 40. His influence on the worlds of comedy, jazz, and satire is incalculable, and How to Talk Dirty and Influence People--now republished to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Lenny Bruce's death--remains a brilliant existential account of his life and the forces that made him the most important and controversial entertainer in history.

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  • Total of Pages : 256
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  • Pdf File: farsighted.pdf

Book Short Summary:

The hardest choices are also the most consequential. So why do we know so little about how to get them right? Big, life-altering decisions matter so much more than the decisions we make every day, and they're also the most difficult: where to live, whom to marry, what to believe, whether to start a company, how to end a war. There's no one-size-fits-all approach for addressing these kinds of conundrums. Steven Johnson's classic Where Good Ideas Come From inspired creative people all over the world with new ways of thinking about innovation. In Farsighted, he uncovers powerful tools for honing the important skill of complex decision-making. While you can't model a once-in-a-lifetime choice, you can model the deliberative tactics of expert decision-makers. These experts aren't just the master strategists running major companies or negotiating high-level diplomacy. They're the novelists who draw out the complexity of their characters' inner lives, the city officials who secure long-term water supplies, and the scientists who reckon with future challenges most of us haven't even imagined. The smartest decision-makers don't go with their guts. Their success relies on having a future-oriented approach and the ability to consider all their options in a creative, productive way. Through compelling stories that reveal surprising insights, Johnson explains how we can most effectively approach the choices that can chart the course of a life, an organization, or a civilization. Farsighted will help you imagine your possible futures and appreciate the subtle intelligence of the choices that shaped our broader social history.

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  • Pdf File: isaac-newton.pdf

Book Short Summary:

Isaac Newton was born in a stone farmhouse in 1642, fatherless and unwanted by his mother. When he died in London in 1727 he was so renowned he was given a state funeral—an unheard-of honor for a subject whose achievements were in the realm of the intellect. During the years he was an irascible presence at Trinity College, Cambridge, Newton imagined properties of nature and gave them names—mass, gravity, velocity—things our science now takes for granted. Inspired by Aristotle, spurred on by Galileo’s discoveries and the philosophy of Descartes, Newton grasped the intangible and dared to take its measure, a leap of the mind unparalleled in his generation. James Gleick, the author of Chaos and Genius, and one of the most acclaimed science writers of his generation, brings the reader into Newton’s reclusive life and provides startlingly clear explanations of the concepts that changed forever our perception of bodies, rest, and motion—ideas so basic to the twenty-first century, it can truly be said: We are all Newtonians.

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  • Publisher : MIT Press
  • Book Code : 0262356120
  • Total of Pages : 104
  • Category : Science
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  • Pdf File: six-impossible-things.pdf

Book Short Summary:

A concise and engaging investigation of six interpretations of quantum physics. Rules of the quantum world seem to say that a cat can be both alive and dead at the same time and a particle can be in two places at once. And that particle is also a wave; everything in the quantum world can described in terms of waves—or entirely in terms of particles. These interpretations were all established by the end of the 1920s, by Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg, Paul Dirac, and others. But no one has yet come up with a common sense explanation of what is going on. In this concise and engaging book, astrophysicist John Gribbin offers an overview of six of the leading interpretations of quantum mechanics. Gribbin calls his account “agnostic,” explaining that none of these interpretations is any better—or any worse—than any of the others. Gribbin presents the Copenhagen Interpretation, promoted by Niels Bohr and named by Heisenberg; the Pilot-Wave Interpretation, developed by Louis de Broglie; the Many Worlds Interpretation (termed “excess baggage” by Gribbin); the Decoherence Interpretation (“incoherent”); the Ensemble “Non-Interpretation”; and the Timeless Transactional Interpretation (which theorized waves going both forward and backward in time). All of these interpretations are crazy, Gribbin warns, and some are more crazy than others—but in the quantum world, being more crazy does not necessarily mean more wrong.

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Book Short Summary:

Conditionals, Paradox, and Probability brings together fifteen original essays by experts in philosophy and linguistics. These specially written chapters draw on themes from the work of Dorothy Edgington, the first woman to hold a chair in philosophy at the University of Oxford. The contributors to this volume focus on the key topics to which Edgington has made many important contributions, including conditionals, vagueness, the paradox of knowability, and probability. Their insights will be of interest to philosophers, linguists, and psychologists working in philosophical logic, natural language semantics, and reasoning.

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Book Short Summary:

This book is a crash course in effective reasoning, meant to catapult you into a world where you start to see things how they really are, not how you think they are. The focus of this book is on logical fallacies, which loosely defined, are simply errors in reasoning. With the reading of each page, you can make significant improvements in the way you reason and make decisions. Logically Fallacious is one of the most comprehensive collections of logical fallacies with all original examples and easy to understand descriptions, perfect for educators, debaters, or anyone who wants to improve his or her reasoning skills. "Expose an irrational belief, keep a person rational for a day. Expose irrational thinking, keep a person rational for a lifetime." - Bo Bennett This 2021 Edition includes dozens of more logical fallacies with many updated examples.

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  • Pdf File: on-first-principles.pdf

Book Short Summary:

Origen’s On First Principles is a foundational work in the development of Christian thought and doctrine: it is the first attempt in history at a systematic Christian theology. For over a decade it has been out of print with only expensive used copies available; now it is available at an affordable price and in a more accessible format. On First Principles is the most important surviving text written by third-century Church father, Origen. Origen wrote in a time when fundamental doctrines had not yet been fully articulated by the Church, and contributed to the very formation of Christianity. Readers see Origen grappling with the mysteries of salvation and brainstorming how they can be understood. This edition presents G. W. Butterworth’s trusted translation in a new, more readable format, retains the introduction by Henri de Lubac, and includes a new foreword by John C. Cavadini. As St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Doctor of the Church, wrote: “Origen is the stone on which all of us were sharpened.”

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  • Total of Pages : 36
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  • Pdf File: the-poetics-of-aristotle.pdf

Book Short Summary:

The Poetics of Aristotle is the earliest surviving work of dramatic theory and first extant philosophical treatise to focus on literary theory. In it, Aristotle offers an account of what he calls "poetry". In this reflections Aristotle includes verse drama – comedy, tragedy, and the satyr play – as well as lyric poetry and epic poetry. The similarities and differences are being described in this work.

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  • Total of Pages : 320
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  • Pdf File: the-reducetarian-solution.pdf

Book Short Summary:

Brian Kateman coined the term "Reducetarian"—a person who is deliberately reducing his or her consumption of meat—and a global movement was born. In this book, Kateman, the founder of the Reducetarian Foundation, presents more than 70 original essays from influential thinkers on how the simple act of cutting 10% or more of the meat from one's diet can transform the life of the reader, animals, and the planet. This book features contributions from such luminaries as Seth Godin, Joel Fuhrman, Victoria Moran, Jeffrey Sachs, Bill McKibben, Naomi Oreskes, Peter Singer, and others. With over 40 vegan, vegetarian, and "less meat" recipes from bestselling cookbook author Pat Crocker, as well as tons of practical tips for reducing the meat in your diet (for example, skip eating meat with dinner if you ate it with lunch; replace your favorite egg omelet with a tofu scramble; choose a veggie burrito instead of a beef burrito; declare a meatless day of the week), The Reducetarian Solution is a life—not to mention planet!—saving book.

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  • Publisher : Vintage
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  • Total of Pages : 656
  • Category : Literary Collections
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  • Pdf File: mencken-chrestomathy.pdf

Book Short Summary:

Edited and annotated by H.L.M., this is a selection from his out-of-print writings. They come mostly from books—the six installments of the Prejudices series, A Book of Burlesques, In Defense of Women, Notes on Democracy, Making a President, A Book of Calumny, Treatise on Right and Wrong—but there are also magazine and newspaper pieces that never got between covers (from the American Mercury, the Smart Set, and the Baltimore Evening Sun) and some notes that were never previously published at all. Readers will find edification and amusement in his estimates of a variety of Americans—Woodrow Wilson, Aimee Semple McPherson, Roosevelt I and Roosevelt II, James Gibbons Huneker, Rudolph Valentino, Calvin Coolidge, Ring Lardner, Theodore Dreiser, and Walt Whitman. Those musically inclined will enjoy his pieces on Beethoven, Schubert, and Wagner, and there is material for a hundred controversies in his selections on Joseph Conrad, Thorstein Veblen, Nietzsche, and Madame Blavatsky.

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  • Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company
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  • Pdf File: journey-of-the-mind.pdf

Book Short Summary:

Two neuroscientists reveal why consciousness exists and how it works by examining eighteen increasingly intelligent minds, from microbes to humankind—and beyond. Why do you exist? How did atoms and molecules transform into sentient creatures that experience longing, regret, compassion, and even marvel at their own existence? What does it truly mean to have a mind—to think? Science has offered few answers to these existential questions until now. Journey of the Mind is the first book to offer a unified account of the mind that explains how consciousness, language, self-awareness, and civilization arose incrementally out of chaos. The journey begins three billion years ago with the emergence of the universe’s simplest possible mind. From there, the book explores the nanoscopic archaeon, whose thinking machinery consists of a handful of molecules, then advances through amoebas, worms, frogs, birds, monkeys, and humans, explaining what each “new” mind could do that previous minds could not. Though they admire the triumph of human consciousness, Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam argue that humans are hardly the most sophisticated minds on the planet. The same physical principles that produce human self-awareness are leading cities and nation-states to develop “superminds,” and perhaps planting the seeds for even higher forms of consciousness. Written in lively, accessible language accompanied by vivid illustrations, Journey of the Mind is a mind-bending work of popular science, the first general book to share the cutting-edge mathematical basis for consciousness, language, and the self. It shows how a “unified theory of the mind” can explain the mind’s greatest mysteries—and offer clues about the ultimate fate of all minds in the universe.

The Power of Moments

By Chip Heath,Dan Heath
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Simon and Schuster
  • Book Code : 1501147773
  • Total of Pages : 320
  • Category : Business & Economics
  • Members : 133
  • Pdf File: the-power-of-moments.pdf

Book Short Summary:

The New York Times bestselling authors of Switch and Made to Stick explore why certain brief experiences can jolt us and elevate us and change us—and how we can learn to create such extraordinary moments in our life and work. While human lives are endlessly variable, our most memorable positive moments are dominated by four elements: elevation, insight, pride, and connection. If we embrace these elements, we can conjure more moments that matter. What if a teacher could design a lesson that he knew his students would remember twenty years later? What if a manager knew how to create an experience that would delight customers? What if you had a better sense of how to create memories that matter for your children? This book delves into some fascinating mysteries of experience: Why we tend to remember the best or worst moment of an experience, as well as the last moment, and forget the rest. Why “we feel most comfortable when things are certain, but we feel most alive when they’re not.” And why our most cherished memories are clustered into a brief period during our youth. Readers discover how brief experiences can change lives, such as the experiment in which two strangers meet in a room, and forty-five minutes later, they leave as best friends. (What happens in that time?) Or the tale of the world’s youngest female billionaire, who credits her resilience to something her father asked the family at the dinner table. (What was that simple question?) Many of the defining moments in our lives are the result of accident or luck—but why would we leave our most meaningful, memorable moments to chance when we can create them? The Power of Moments shows us how to be the author of richer experiences.

Austen's Oughts

By Karen Valihora
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : University of Delaware Press
  • Book Code : 0874130824
  • Total of Pages : 363
  • Category : Literary Criticism
  • Members : 818
  • Pdf File: austen-s-oughts.pdf

Book Short Summary:

The word is all over Jane Austen's novels: what ought to be done, what one ought to say, how one ought to feel (versus how one does feel). When Austen's characters employ an ought, the delicate oscillation between first-and third-person perspectives that marks her prose leads the reader to distinguish between what they say, and what they ought, according to a morally idealized, third-person calculus to mean. But what is the context of this ought? This book situates the disinterested, reflective appeal to moral principle invoked ironically or otherwise in Austen's oughts within the history of thought about judgment in the British eighteenth century. Beginning with Shaftesbury's critique of Locke's account of judgment, successive readings explore the emphasis on disinterest in works by David Hume, Adam Smith, Samuel Richardson, and Sir Joshua Reynolds alongside discussions of Jane Austen's major novels.

A Grain of Faith

By Allan Hepburn
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Oxford University Press
  • Book Code : 0192563653
  • Total of Pages : 272
  • Category : Literary Criticism
  • Members : 350
  • Pdf File: a-grain-of-faith.pdf

Book Short Summary:

During and after the Second World War, there was a concerted thinking about religion in Britain. Not only were leading international thinkers of the day theologians—Ronald Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, Jacques Maritain—but leading writers contributed to discussions about religion. Graham Greene, Muriel Spark, and Barbara Pym incorporated miracles, evil, and church-going into their novels, while Louis MacNeice, T. S. Eliot, and C. S. Lewis gave radio broadcasts about the role of Christianity in contemporary society. Certainly the war revived interest in aspects of Christian life. Salvation and redemption were on many people's minds. The Ministry of Information used images of bombed churches to stoke patriotic fervour, and King George VI led a series of Days of National Prayer that coincided with crucial events in the Allied campaign. After the war and throughout the 1950s, approximately 1.4 million Britons converted to Roman Catholicism as a way of expressing their spiritual ambitions and solidarity with humanity on a world-wide scale. Religion provided one way for writers to answer the question, 'what is man?' It also afforded ways to think about social obligation and ethical engagement. Moreover, the mid-century turn to religion offered ways to articulate statehood, not from the perspective of nationhood and politics, but from the perspective of moral action and social improvement. Instead of being a retreat into seclusion and solitude, the mid-century turn to religion is a call to responsibility.

Romantic Prophecy and the Resistance to Historicism

By Christopher Bundock
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : University of Toronto Press
  • Book Code : 1442630728
  • Total of Pages : 288
  • Category : Literary Criticism
  • Members : 497
  • Pdf File: romantic-prophecy-and-the-resistance-to-historicism.pdf

Book Short Summary:

Romantic writers invoked prophecy throughout their work. However, the failure of prophecy to materialize didn’t deter them. Why then do Romantic writers repeatedly invoke prophecy when it never works? The answer to this question is at the heart of Romantic Prophecy and the Resistance to Historicism. In this remarkably erudite work, Christopher Bundock argues that the repeated failure of prophecy in Romantic thought is creative and enables a renewable potential for expression across disciplines. By focusing on new readings of canonical Romantic authors as well as their more obscure works, Bundock makes a bold intervention into major concepts such as Romantic imagination, historicity, and mediation. Romantic Prophecy and the Resistance to Historicism glides across Kant’s Swedenborgian dreams to Mary Shelley’s Last Man and reveals how Romanticism reinvents history by turning prophecy inside out.

The Anatomy of Criticism

By Henry Hazlitt
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Ludwig von Mises Institute
  • Book Code : 1610160231
  • Total of Pages : 303
  • Category :
  • Members : 602
  • Pdf File: the-anatomy-of-criticism.pdf

Book Short Summary:

When Henry Hazlitt published this exceedingly rare book, he was finishing up a three-year position at The Nation as literary critic, and preparing to accept the position as H.L. Mencken's successor at American Mercury. He was struggling with integrating his two main interests: literary criticism and economics. In economics, value is subjective, whereas the key goal in literary criticism is the discovery of something approximating objective value. The text of this book reflects that struggle in the form of a trialogue. Hazlitt has his characters debate the question of literary value, and pushes forward the proposition that the value of literature is discerned and revealed through the operation of the "social mind." So he ends up rejecting relativism while avoiding mistakes in economic theory. A fascinating study, brilliantly conceived and rendered by a master. As an extra bonus here, Hazlitt offers a postscript on the rise of Marxism in literary criticism. He shows how preposterous it is for Marxism to reject the main corpus of Western litertaure as hopelessly bourgeois, even while Marx himself read all the great works in his leisure. This is a highly significant essay becuase it was probably the first attack on Marxist literary deconstructionism ever written!

Poetics

By Aristotle
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Cosimo, Inc.
  • Book Code : 1605203556
  • Total of Pages : 68
  • Category : Philosophy
  • Members : 334
  • Pdf File: poetics.pdf

Book Short Summary:

The writings of Greek philosopher ARISTOTLE (384BC 322BC) student of Plato, teacher of Alexander the Great are among the most influential on Western thought, and indeed upon Western civilization itself. From theology and logic to politics and even biology, there is no area of human knowledge that has not been touched by his thinking.Poetics one of Aristotle 's greatest works is the philosopher 's grand and insightful essay on art and its purposes. Why must a story have a beginning, a middle, and an end? How can we define tragedy, and what is the artistic purpose of it? Is there one ideal kind of drama? What is the nature of poetry? How consciously should poets and playwrights construct their work?All these questions, and others, are discussed and debated in this, perhaps the single most significant text in Western critical tradition. Writers, actors, students of literature, and armchair philosophers will find it a challenging and rewarding read.

Blake on Language, Power, and Self-Annihilation

By J. Jones
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Springer
  • Book Code : 0230106838
  • Total of Pages : 235
  • Category : Literary Criticism
  • Members : 170
  • Pdf File: blake-on-language-power-and-self-annihilation.pdf

Book Short Summary:

Against a historical backdrop that includes eighteenth-century language theory, children's literature and education, debates on the French Revolution, Biblical interpretation, and print culture, Blake on Language, Power, and Self-Annihilation breaks new ground in the study of William Blake. This book analyzes the concept of self-annihilation in Blake s work, using the language theories of Mikhail Bakhtin to elucidate the ways in which his discourse was open to the viewpoints of others, undermines institutional authority, and restores dialogue. This book not only uncovers the importance of self-annihilation to Blake's thinking about language and communication, but it also develops its centrality to Blake's poetic practice.

How Drawings Work

By Susan C. Piedmont-Palladino
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Book Code : 1315531399
  • Total of Pages : 180
  • Category : Architecture
  • Members : 424
  • Pdf File: how-drawings-work.pdf

Book Short Summary:

How Drawings Work cheekily explains that what architects make is information that enables other people to make buildings. That information comes in a variety of forms: drawings by hand and computer, models both physical and virtual, and words as needed. The book reflects in witty prose on the nature of architectural drawings as tools of communication, pulling from a diverse and eclectic landscape of theories from grammar, functional linguistics, philosophy, art criticism, science fiction, popular culture, and, of course, architecture, to propose a new way to think about architectural communication.