James Gleick's Scientific Method

Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg View columnist. He founded Ritholtz Wealth Management and was chief executive and director of equity research at FusionIQ, a quantitative research firm. He blogs at the Big Picture and is the author of “Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy.”
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This week on Masters in Business, we speak with science writer James Gleick, author of numerous award-winning books, including the recently published “Time Travel: A History.”

I came across Gleick’s work in his first book, “Chaos: Making a New Science” (1987), a brilliant exploration of a complex and little-known branch of physics. That structure became the framework for subsequent work from Gleick. His magnum opus was “The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood,” which won a number of awards and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

A biographer of ideas, Gleick discussed how he approaches a new subject: He says he starts out knowing little or nothing and keeps researching until he feels he has learned enough to convey the essential ideas. “Each book, each time I feel like I am figuring it out, starting from scratch . . . I don’t need to dumb anything down, I need to raise my own understanding to the level of grasping the stuff I am writing about.”

You can hear the full interview, including our podcast extras, at iTunesSoundCloud and Bloomberg. All of our earlier podcasts can be found at iTunesSoundCloud and Bloomberg.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Barry Ritholtz at britholtz3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
James Greiff at jgreiff@bloomberg.net