I must say that I am third in-line to agree with the comments from my fellow classmates that Gleick takes too long to get to his point. Nonetheless, the information provided in the first three chapters is very interesting. It is of no surprise that the Europeans would never give the Africans their due credit. As expressed in the book, the Africans were described as "primitive" and "animistic" however they had something that more advanced cultures did not yet have. A means to communicate.
This is of no surprise as we still see this to date. Most countries whom consider themselves developed would never want a sub-developed country to have one extra thing.
It was also very interesting to see how the beat of the drums was compared to the way numbers and letters are used by airline pilots and air traffic controllers. This was a great learning experience for me as being a veteran, I had to use the phonetic alphabet many times without ever really asking why it was done that way. I know see why the drum beats travel so much further and really accomplished their task of relaying a message.
The second chapter has some very interesting lessons for the new generations who would also like to leave their mark. As the chapter states, The persistence of a word, is something that we don't think about because we are not into writing books. Technology has distanced us from leaving a mark like our ancestors did, however by writing in Blogs, sending emails or even posting on walls, we too are leaving a mark that someday may be looked at as history by someone centuries to come.