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Books that greatly influenced me

2013/02/17
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I highly recommend these beautifully written texts.

1. The Selfish Gene (1976) by Richard Dawkins [worldcat][amazon]

This was my introduction to the meme of Darwinism, and to memes themselves. I read it when I was 13 or 14 years old. My world view was fundamentally changed ever since.

2. The Emperor’s New Mind (1989) by Roger Penrose [worldcat][amazon]

I read this book when I was 18 years old. I liked the book so much that I bought many copies of this book and gave it to my friends as a present. It motivated me to study logic and computation theory as means to understand the mind. Although the core idea is flawed, the book overall brought me great joy of thinking about what human minds can do, and how they can do it.

3. The Myth of Sisyphus (1942) by Albert Camus [worldcat][amazon]

In times of despair, when I though I couldn’t understand this seemingly illogical world and frustrated by its complexity, this book talked to be dearly. I was 19 or 20 years old.

4. I am a Strange Loop (2007) by Douglas Hofstadter [worldcat][amazon]

Before this book, I was a pure reductionist (since I was little; my father is a physicist), trying to understand the world by going into the smaller scale of things. Now, I also think about what abstraction can bring to the table—understanding in a different, more humane level. I was in graduate school when it came out.

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