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Everything and More

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 30, 2003

DFW is a favorite of mine, but I was disappointed in Everything and More. Perhaps I wasn’t part of the intended audience, but with an interest in all things Wallace, a college degree in physics, a general interest in mathematics, and avid reader of popular science books, if not me, then for whom was this book written?

Mostly I was bothered by Wallace’s signature writing style, which usually challenges the reader in delightful ways. In E&M, he ratcheted his style up to such a degree that it became as obfuscating as the math he was trying to explain. Not that he should have used only words of four letters or less, but a greater degree of clarity and simplicity would have been appreciated to let the parodoxical beauty and the beautiful paradox of transfinite math show (which Jim Holt did more successfully than Wallace in his New Yorker review of the book).

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