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I Am a Strange Loop

Douglas Hofstadter's books share a theme: Hofstadter will take you on a winding path through his ideas, and the reader shouldn't explicitly expect to "get to the point"—you're on a ride, not trying to specifically arrive anywhere. This isn't to say there isn't a point, but the books are canvases of an assortment of ideas, presented on a buffet. If you're like me, this particularly journey is an absolute joy to ride along, so the density or lack of clear destination is no concern. However—I'll acknowledge—this isn't everyone.

With that said, I Am a Strange Loop is an absolute joy. Hofstadter's first love is mathematics, and spends most of the book covering the idea of "strange loops"—self-referential systems, such as MC Escher's Drawing Hands, or if you follow his reasoning, consciousness itself. The book is intensely personal at times, and looks at theories of mind, formalism, and meaning of life.


These are entirely subjective, and roughly try to capture my personal enjoyment and usefulness, and how likely I'd recommend it to others. Don't read too much into this unless you love my judgement. Rough guidelines:

A: Top quartile. Changed the way I think about something.

B: Worthwhile. I took away something useful.

C: Didn't hit, wouldn't directly recommend. Likely won't revisit.

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