Final paragraph of a NYT review of The Information
Gleick wouldn’t deny any of this, but his focus on information as a prime mover and universal substance leads him to depict its realm as a distinct place at a remove from the larger social world, rather than as an extension of it. As he puts it, in the vatic tone that this topic tends to elicit, “Human knowledge soaks into the network, into the cloud” (more of those totalizing definite articles). In an evocative final paragraph, he pictures humanity wandering the corridors of Borges’s imaginary Library of Babel, which contains the texts of every possible book in every language, true and false, scanning the shelves in search of “lines of meaning among the leagues of cacophony and incoherence.” If it comes to that, though, we’ll have lots of help identifying the volumes that are worth reading, and not just from social networks and blogs but from libraries, publishers and other bulwarks of the informational old order. Despite some problems, a prodigious intellectual survey like “The Information” deserves to be on all their lists.