Spencer-Brown's articulation of the Laws of Form is of the same order of magnitude as Einstein's Theory of Relativity. I have been reading and re-reading this book for more than 20 years. In full, at least 8 times. Countless "hits" to review specific ideas. Reviewers here who have panned LOF might be right in thinking that my appreciation for this work is based on what I have read into it, not what it contains intrinsically. On my first reading, I was perplexed and somewhat disappointed ("That's it?") But I felt that it deserved a second, more deliberate reading. I'm not a mathematician, but my fourth reading was assisted by conversations with a professional scholar of logic systems. And by my fourth reading I was better prepared to appreciate the subtlety and power of LOF. The concepts regarding time as a function of memory (instead of the reverse) still awe me. If I could only take three books with me (to Mars, to the future, to the past), LOF would be the *first* that I grabbed. "The universe is constructed in such a manner that it can see itself." - GSB / LOF
A little tiny book that I have read scores of times in 20 years. For the mathematically inclined reader, creates a formal seed upon which new, clear concepts will crystalize for years. The high price will, unforturnately, discourage casual readers.
Philosophers, mathematicians, teachers, or anyone interested in logic or semiotics should acqaint themselves with this thin rigorous volume which advances a propositional form. The implications are the real reward as this singular exercise encourages investigation and invention in the representation of knowledge, a point of departure with real practical value. If you've read Bateson, Brand, and the second order cybernetics gang, this is a natural. If not, you will be intrigued into a rewarding realm of fundamental inquiry.
Spencer Brown's book produced quite a stir when it was first published. Its nutty, zen like "definitions", its weird symbols, trivial proofs, Betrand Russell's weighty recommendation and overall odd presentation quickly gathered it an eager horde of fans from all disciplines notably system research. Never mind that what the book claimed to do was erroneous (it claimed to develop a one symbol algebra), never mind that the final result smacked of Boolean algebra, never mind that Pincava showed that it was isomorphic to certain well known algebraic systems... Along with other fads like the Q-Analysis of Atkins, Varela's autopoeisis nonsense, and other cybernetic balderdash, Spencer Brown's algebra died a natural death. Maybe not. Christopher Alexander's nonsense has been reborn as "Pattern Language Methodology" in Software "Engineering". So why not? Give a few years more, and it may yet find application in say, the "why" of salad dressings or some such useful human endeveaour.