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Deep Simplicity: Chaos, Complexity and the Emergence of Life (Penguin Press Science) Paperback – January 27, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Press Science
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (January 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141007222
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141007229
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #799,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Exhilarating... Gribbin uses a step-by-step historical method to ground contemporary thought in classical physics' the Daily Telegraph 'Gribbin...takes us through the basics of all this with his customary talent for accessibility and clarity' the Sunday Times '(Gribbin) breathes life into the core ideas of complexity science, and argues convincingly that the basic laws, even in biology, will ultimately turn out to be simple' Nature' "What makes Deep Simplicity different from other books on complexity theory is that Gribbin ! goes back to the fundamentals' Daily Telegraph 'Gribbin takes us through the basics with his customary talent for accessibility and clarity' Sunday Times 'One is left feeling even more - if this is possible - filled with admiration for science and delight at the world it investigates' Financial Times 'Gribbin breathes life into the core ideas of complexity science' Nature'

About the Author

John Gribbin is one of today's greatest writers of popular science and the author of bestselling books, including In Search of Schrodinger's Cat, Stardust, Science: A History and Deep Simplicity. He is famous to his many fans for making complex ideas simple, and says that his aim in his writing - much of it done with his wife, Mary Gribbin - is to share with his readers his sense of wonder at the strangeness of the universe. John Gribbin trained as an astrophysicist at Cambridge University and is currently Visiting Fellow in Astronomy at the University of Sussex.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 5 customer reviews
Interesting and entertaining.
John Pischl
I have just finished reading Deep Simplicity and felt the urge to tell anyone who would listen how I felt about the book.
Mark
Gribbin gives a wide perspective about chaos and complexity with facts from the history of science.
E. MUSTECAPLIOGLU

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By D. Stuart on October 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
My reason for selecting this new volume was to get a better understanding of complexity theory and how certain laws can help us better understand our changing physical and social universes.

I was not disappointed, and John Gribbin displays his well established ability to explain often quite complicated ideas in an energetic style that sweeps the reader along. He begins by discussing two states - two different ends of the spectrum between Total Order and Total Chaos. Somewhere between those two states is a zone of complexity, where nature teeters on the brink between order and chaos. To use a metaphor, this is like the moment of transition when slush could melt or freeze, or when water might turn to vapour. In this zone very interesting things happen - both in the natural world (at an atomic or larger physical level) in the social world (when social networks form) and in the biological world which is where Gribbin ultimately takes us - showing us how complexity operates in food chains, but also in terms of DNA and evolution.

The book is captivating and my only regret is that I didn't write down a few notes along the way so I can dig back and think about how some of the universal laws might explain why (in my line of work) some new products do - or don't succeed. On the cusp of chaos, anything might happen.

I'm actually going to read Deep Simplicity Again because it is both so informative and so enjoyable. A good book to read in tandem with this one is Duncan Watt's excellent Six Degrees which focuses on network theory.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. MUSTECAPLIOGLU on January 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
I appreciate greatly the author's aim, sharing his sense of wonder with his readers. Gribbin gives a wide perspective about chaos and complexity with facts from the history of science.

Simple laws, non-linearity, sensitivity to initial conditions and feedback give rise to chaos and complexity. Gribbin tries to reveal the facts of our universe with these concepts. Also the author gives some good examples for accessing the subject with ease.

Power law pattern and gaia concepts are also analyzed in the book for understanding life.

I derived much benefit from this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John Pischl on December 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
An excellent non-math explanation of chaos theory. Mr. Gribbin is able to touch the essence of chaos theory by discussing its application to various real life scenarios. Interesting and entertaining. It changed the way I view complex systems.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mark on June 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have just finished reading Deep Simplicity and felt the urge to tell anyone who would listen how I felt about the book. Read the other reviewers to find out what the book is about.

There have been very few occasions and very few books that moved me in the way that Deep Simplicity did, for it is a work of art and without doubt a genuinely beautiful piece of literature. What's more, I feel that the beauty inherent in the book is self-similar on many scales, from the lucidly illustrative metaphors, to paragraphs that grab you as they weave delicately expounded threads together, to the overall structure and flow of the book itself. I felt privileged to have read the book.

After I finished I was left with a tremendous sense of appreciation for and recognition with our planet, its biosphere, life, and the Universe at large; even for my fellow man - although our depredations are made strikingly apparent. My final and lasting feeling is one of profound enlightenment; something felt when previously reading Gribbin, but not to this extent.

Thank You John Gribbin, for writing this book; $24.95 in one currency, priceless in another.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. T. P. Goode on February 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm no scientist. Nor an academic.

And it's been about twenty years since any formal full-time education.

I found this book after rifling through ten or so boxes of assorted second-hand books up for grabs in a community centre on the Isles of Scilly.

Something about the cover appealed to me. Maybe because I'm an artist/creative. Perhaps because I recognised the Hokusai reference and liked the clarity of the art-work. Certainly I'd read and loved James Gleick's classic book on chaos in the Nineties. And the words 'deep simplicity' resonated in my bones. Especially to a man forever in search of simpler ways of existing, to a man drawn instinctively to Zen. Whatever my reasons for picking up this book, I came to love it.

I read a fair amount. Every book has its pace, some quicker, some slower, some turgid, some dense, some with big spaces between paragraphs, and some with type so small it leaves your eyeballs raw. I had a very slow entry into this book, one of those 'I've read this page twenty times and it's still not quite getting in there' scenarios. One of those occasions where you wake yourself up with a 'huh?' as your head nods to the side, you try re-reading the same sentence to once again find yourself five minutes later staring blankly at a book with a crick in your neck and a numb buttock.

That may have had to do with my inability to focus my mind on the job in hand at the time, or perhaps that I was sizing it up as to whether to bother reading it at all. Was it just too geeky? I hadn't paid for it, so didn't feel that there was any reason to suck my money's worth of juice from it. Perhaps I was just plain tired and needed sleep more than information at that moment in my life.

But I persevered.
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