A Book Talk about “A Mind At Play: How Claude Shannon Invented The Information Age”
Jimmy Soni — Co-Author of “A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age”
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Abstract: Claude Shannon was a groundbreaking polymath, a brilliant tinkerer, and a digital pioneer. He constructed a fleet of customized unicycles and a flamethrowing trumpet, outfoxed Vegas casinos, and built juggling robots. He also wrote the seminal text of the digital revolution, which has been called “the Magna Carta of the Information Age.” His discoveries would lead contemporaries to compare him to Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton. His work anticipated by decades the world we’d be living in today—and gave mathematicians and engineers the tools to bring that world to pass.
In this elegantly written, exhaustively researched biography, Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman reveal Claude Shannon’s full story for the first time. It’s the story of a small-town Michigan boy whose career stretched from the era of room-sized computers powered by gears and string to the age of Apple. It’s the story of the origins of our digital world in the tunnels of MIT and the “idea factory” of Bell Labs, in the “scientists’ war” with Nazi Germany, and in the work of Shannon’s collaborators and rivals, thinkers like Alan Turing, John von Neumann, Vannevar Bush, and Norbert Wiener.
And it’s the story of Shannon’s life as an often reclusive, always playful genius. With access to Shannon’s family and friends, A Mind at Play brings this singular innovator and creative genius to life.
Biography: Jimmy Soni was managing editor at The Huffington Post from January 2012-2014. Previously he had worked as a strategy consultant at McKinsey and Company, as well as a speech writer at the office of the Mayor of the District of Columbia. Soni has co-authored several pieces with fellow Duke graduate Rob Goodman; their work has been featured in Politico, The Huffington Post, Business Insider, AdWeek, and The Atlantic, among others.
In 2012, Jimmy, published his first book a biography of Cato the Younger, titled Rome’s Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato, Mortal Enemy of Caesar.