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The Pursuit of Destiny: A History of Prediction Hardcover – 14 May 2000

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A far-reaching chronicle of our quest to predict the future
the Pursuit of Destiny is a history of the science of forecasting, from its roots in ancient prophecy to the latest anticipatory schemes. From Chaos Theory to the Kabbala, and from Neural Networks to Numerology, no avenue of prediction is unexplored. Time travel paradoxes, and questions of determinism and fate are offered special looks. The book culminates in an exploration of astronomers' efforts to unravel the far future of the universe. How much of our destinies might we know in advance? Are we masters of fate or merely its servants? The Pursuit of Destiny offers intriguing possible answers to these riddles.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9b7ba924) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b21dea0) out of 5 stars Brilliantly conceived, well-written and mind-blowing 27 Feb. 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Paul Halpern's latest book gives the reader much to ponder. It is a fascinating history of mankind's efforts to predict the future, many times unsuccessfully but often with astonishing results. Ancient methods of prediction, Nostradamus, Kabbalistic Judaism, and the occult are discussed alongside Einstein's theory of relativity, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, quantum mechanics, cosmology and computer algorithms. A particularly intriguing description of David Deutsch's multiverse, where time does not flow and where your memories really correspond to events experienced by a different you in a different universe, is mesmerizing.
The guy knows how to make you think. This book is full of profound ideas but is easy to digest, eminently readable and leaves you wanting more. A kaleidoscope of human endeavor is distilled to 233 pages of spellbinding tapestry, woven in rich detail for those captivated by history, science and the quest for life's meaning.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b071990) out of 5 stars It's Easier To Predict The Future When It's Become The Past 3 Dec. 2001
By Bruce Crocker - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Paul Halpern's book The Pursuit Of Destiny is three excellent books in one. The first book is a look at humankind's attempts to predict the future through the ages from a physicist's point of view. The second book is a good overview of physics through the ages, including Newtonian mechanics, relativity, quantum mechanics, chaos, and complexity. The third book concerns the philosophical implications of all this and its bearing on whether humans have free will. The book is not overly technical and should appeal to a wide audience. On occasion, I felt that Halpern lost the main thread of the book - the ability of humans to predict the future, but it never distracted from my enjoyment of the book. I recommend this book to anybody with an interest in humanity's ability to predict the future or in physics.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b0720d8) out of 5 stars don't be misled by the book jacket 11 Aug. 2005
By DC Critic - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As a book on physics, this is great. As a book on the most macro-predictions, this is great. But as a book on everyday prediction, the book jacket misrepresents. A reviewer is quoted as saying that the author "explores the successes and limitations of the human ability to predict the future," and another as saying that this is a "scientifically sound investigation of past, present, and future threats to human existence."

What "threats" is this reviewer talking about? The two pages that talked about the threat of nuclear war? The author's own introduction states that the book examines "how relativity, quantum theory, chaos theory, complexity theory, cosmology, and other aspects of modern physics have affected our longstanding quest to comprehend our fate."

Don't expect this book to shed genuine insight into futuristic questions such as: what technologies will we have? what could send society back into the dark ages? what will come of those who are currently repressed?
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