PARAGRAPHThe Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood is a book by science history writer James Gleick , published in March , which covers the genesis of the current information age. It was on The New York Times best-seller list for three weeks following its debut. Gleick begins with the tale of colonial European explorers and their fascination with African talking drums and their observed use to send complex widely understood messages back and forth between villages, and over even longer distances by relay. Gleick transitions from the information implications of such drum signaling to the impact of the arrival of long-distance telegraph and then telephone communication to the commercial and social prospects of the industrial age west. Research to improve these technologies ultimately led to our understanding the essentially digital nature of information , quantized down to the unit of the bit or qubit.