Book of Numbers

Book of Numbers

A Novel

Book - 2015
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"The enigmatic billionaire founder of Tetration, the world's most powerful tech company, hires a failed novelist, Josh Cohen, to ghostwrite his memoirs. The mogul, known as Principal, brings Josh behind the digital veil, tracing the rise of Tetration, which started in the earliest days of the Internet by revolutionizing the search engine before venturing into smartphones, computers, and the surveillance of American citizens. Principal takes Josh on a mind-bending world tour from Palo Alto to Dubai and beyond, initiating him into the secret pretext of the autobiography project and the life-or-death stakes that surround its publication"--Dust jacket flap.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2015.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780812996913
Branch Call Number: COHEN J
Characteristics: 580 pages ; 25 cm


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May 15, 2016

I am apparently too unsophisticated to appreciate this rambling, unfocused line of drivel. The author can't maintain a train of thought for two sentences in a row. I an unwilling to do the work for him. Quit after the first Chapter because this book goes nowhere and takes a lot of words to do it.

Jun 28, 2015

This book has received many positive reviews from many well regarded magazines and newspapers. I got through 200 pages and there started to be a lot of literary tricks and needless gimmicks such as graphs and sentences that have lines through them since at that point we're reading a rough draft of the manuscript about one Joshua Cohen by a different Joshua Cohen. I put it down at that point.
I once read that Tom Wolfe once said that writers tend to write their first book which is about something, then they don't have any idea what to write next so they write about a writer who doesn't have any ideas and just sort of wanders around and struggles. He didn't mean this as a compliment. The first 200 pages of this book was just what he described.
This is one of those books that tries to be about everything, and uses needlessly complex language and weaves in current and past history to make it at least seem important. This book includes the narrators insight on everything from 9/11, Middle East politics, suicide bombing, the history of the United States military draft and the history of computer programming. But overall I found it solipsistic. Not only is the narrator named Joshua Cohen, but the subject of his biography is Joshua Conen. So this is a book written by Joshua Cohen about Joshua Cohen who is writing about Joshua Cohen. Kind of like Tyler Perry presents a Tyler Perry production directed by Tyler Perry.
Anyway, I know I didn't read the whole thing but I can spot something that seems false wrapped in intellectualism to appease high brow critics who love post modernism after a good 200 pages.
I felt the same way reading David Foster Wallace's The Pale King. Maybe too smart for its own good, and maybe critics like it so they won't feel like they'd be singled out as anti intellectual or just "not getting it" by their peers.
Maybe I'll finish it at a later time, but don't feel bad or dumb if you put this one aside.


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