Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Cat's Cradle

Summary

  1. Kurt Vonnegut wrote this book when science was first becoming revered but few truly asked whether the truth and knowledge being discovered by modern science were necessarily beneficial. Human stupidity is alive and well and with additional technology makes it potentially even more devastating.

Key Takeaways

  1. In order to write a book about the dropping of the atomic bomb, Jonah reached out to Newton Hoenikker, youngest son of the man who invented the atomic bomb (Felix Hoenikker)
  2. New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on earth. The more truth we have to work with, the richer we become
  3. Felix always approached old puzzles as if they were brand new
  4. American’s are always searching for love in forms it never takes, where it can never be. It must have something to do with the vanished frontier
  5. Frank Hoenikker is the major general in San Lorenzo and Jonah heads there to speak with him – bumps into the other two Hoenikker siblings on the flight there
  6. Felix invented ice-nine. A substance so powerful that even if the smallest amount gets in contact with any water, it freezes everything. He gave to his children when he died who then gave to some random people (Papa in San Lorenzo, Newt’s Ukrainian “fiancée”…)
  7. Frank asks Jonah to be president of San Lorenzo and he agrees
  8. Papa trying to kill Bokonon but it is not serious – religion is outlawed but everybody follows it
  9. During a national holiday in San Lorenzo, a fly over went badly and a plane crashed into the palace and some of it went into the sea. Some of the ice-nine hit the sea and turned all water on earth into ice-nine
  10. The vast majority of the people on the island, and the world died, but the Crosby’s, Frank and Newt survived

What I got out of it

  1. Very satirical book which pokes fun at modern society and our reverence for science in all its wisdom. He also makes fun of how stupid, but not necessarily evil, people can be and with today’s technological power, that combination can be enough to destroy the world.

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