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3.7 out of 5 stars
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on January 3, 2015
Nice summary of current state-of-the-art of multi-disciplinary complexity science and entropy, but unfortunately I didn't find anything new to add further insight beyond what has already been written over the past 20 years on the subject. I found the numerous chapters delving into serious mathematics of entropy and complexity to be somewhat contrived and very abstract at best. The book reads like Stuart Kauffman plus physicists describe complexity with mathematics. Kauffman tends to be rather heavy with mathematical concepts (for a biologist), and the physicists only up the ante. I found Melanie Mitchell's "Complexity: A Guided Tour" a more enjoyable contemporary treatment of the same subject matter with more new modern insight and less abstract math.
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on May 23, 2015
I have several interests that seem tied together -- complexity, emergent properties (the whole being greater than the sum of the parts, as with the human brain and ant colonies) and the arrow of time, which I think is an emergent property of matter when sufficiently organized. This is not all easy reading, as it is edited lectures and such; but it is informative. No one yet has a complete handle on how nature creates greater complexity; but it's worth reading about current thinking on the matter.
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on March 22, 2015
I enjoyed some of the authors of what really is a compilation of articles about complexity and ultimately its relationship to life. I would have been more interested in reading about complexity and time. Unfortunately, that wasn't really the point of the manuscript. I didn't finish this book - and probably won't
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on December 25, 2014
This book also does an excellent job of giving a wide range of views of the current field of complexity from people from the disciplines of physics, biology and philosophy. Of course there were some views that I thought were better than others, but that is the point of variety. And I found several of the chapters (writers) to be the most insightful writing on complexity I have ever read.
I have read A LOT of books on complexity over the years. After awhile, you start seeing the same thing over and over. Everything I read in here seemed new and built upon what I had read rather than restating it in a different way.
The other great part of a book like this is that it allows you to pursue the areas of thought by finding more books/papers from the authors and their sources.
I also found the book to be enjoyably challenging and not overly technical. It is written in a way that I think a reasonably intelligent curious person can understand. (I am a software engineer who likes to read books on science)
Some "science" books written for popular consumption seem condescending. I didn't get that feeling at all from any of the authors.
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on February 23, 2014
This is a series of essay of the topic of complexity. I am no expert but to me this is an interesting philosophical topic. I found the essays variously penetrating, or impenetrable. I strongly recommend Stuart Kauffman's thoughts on re-enchanting the world. The study of complexity is a vary incomplete science, maybe so incomplete it ought not be called science. Non-the-less it dances on the edge new and magical understanding of what our world is.
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on July 10, 2015
Requires concentration as it is a subject most are not familar with
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on November 25, 2015
A compendium of research material.
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on December 18, 2013
I am not a mathematician or physicist but nevertheless understood even these sections. I teach elementary biology courses at the college level and find this compendium very useful.
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on June 26, 2015
This book's author is full of himself and uses over complicated language. It is difficult reading. For example "The advent of individuality brings into existance Darwinian selection, as a specialized subset of Markovian stochastic processes." Really! NO THANKS.
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on December 25, 2013
Some articles were better than others which is to be expected but overall it was a good look at complexity and its related issues.
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