Norbert Wiener, Steve Joshua Heims, "Invention: The Care and Feeding of Ideas"
The MIT Press | 1993-03-02 | ISBN: 0262231670 | 185 pages | Djvu | 1,1 MB
Introduced by science historian Steve Heims, this manuscript--written by a noted mathematician in the 1950s, with the latest revision dated June 1954--was discovered among Wiener's papers in the Institute Archives of the MIT Libraries. It was originally commissioned by Doubleday, but Wiener returned their $500 advance and subsequently turned his attention to other works. Although Invention has interesting sections, it rambles in parts and has a preachy tone in others. The first few chapters on the history of technology are interesting, primarily for the breadth of the author's understanding, but his views of research styles and his criticism of "big science" seem outdated and unduly negative. This book will appeal to a limited audience.
- Hilary D. Burton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab., Livermore, Cal.
"Norbert Wiener helped to build and inform our high-tech society. A mathematician with dirty hands, he moved easily between theory, invention and engineering... The manuscript of this unpublished 1954 book was found long after Wiener's death, and is only now available. It's inevitably out of date here and there, but the uncannily accurate predictions and warnings at its heart bring credibility to advice and insights that are all too relevant to our present situation."
—J. Baldwin, Whole Earth Review
"The mark of a great book is that it should be relevant well beyond its time, and this volume by Wiener is precisely that. In lucid, enormously readable language, Wiener provides a whistle-stop tour of the history of science and technology from the start of civilisation, charts the growth and decline of intellectual and practical excellence, and uses many examples—such as the development of paper—to show that tools and the skills to realise a design in practice must be available for inventiveness to flourish."
—Scientists for Global Responsibility Newsletter
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