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Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means for Business, Science, and Everyday Life Paperback – April 29, 2003

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Editorial Reviews


"A sweeping look at a new and exciting science." —Donald Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief, Science Magazine

"Captivating…Linked is a playful, even exuberant romp through an exciting new field." —Time Out New York

About the Author

Albert-László Barabási is a pioneer of real-world network theory and author of the bestseller, Linked: How Everything is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means for Business, Science, and Everyday Life. At 32, he was the youngest professor to be named the Emil T. Hofmann Professor of Physics at the University of Notre Dame and has won numerous awards for his work, including the FEBS Anniversary Prize for Systems Biology and the John von Neumann Medal for outstanding achievements. He currently lives in Boston and is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Network Science at Northeastern University.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (April 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452284392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452284395
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #293,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By algo41 on January 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
Linked focuses on network theory and some of its applications, where networks are defined as dynamic linear graphs. It is written for the non-mathematicians, and in fact does a very good job of giving the reader insight into how the mathematical modeler thinks and works, and what mathematical modeling is (the phrase "dynamic linear graphs" does not actually appear in the text). "Linked" is kind of an intellectual memoir, and especially in the first few chapters, is charming as well as informative. The problem is that Barabasi has an inflated view of the importance and primacy of his work and interests vis-a-vis the general subject of the theory of complex systems. Also, while Barbasi strikes me as intellectually honest, his lack of knowledge of such subjects as cellular biology leads him to erroneous claims for what insights may be attributed to recent work in network modeling. He is on stronger grounds when he discusses narrow subjects such as the links between corporate directors, and Barabasi does seem to know quite a bit about sociological modeling and the Internet. In terms of intellectual stimulation and excitement, Linked does not begin to match up with Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software by Steven Johnson, and I guess I was expecting something more comparable to that book.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By K. Sampanthar on July 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have focused this review on the audience of the book, since other reviews have quite adequately summarized the material.
There have been a lot of books recently that have been published on the new science of networks. Network theory and how it applies to many different fields from technology, marketing, biology, social science, terrorism, disease control etc. (Six Degrees by Duncan Watts, Nexus - Mark Buchanan, Smart Mobs - Howard Rheingold, Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell etc..).
Barabasi's is a welcome addition to the field and has a nice niche, which isn't filled by the other books. As some other reviewers have pointed this book is a popular science book, which means it covers scientific and mathematical theories at a very high level and makes these theories accessible to a wide audience. The niche lies somewhere between Gladwell's Tipping Point and Watt's Six Degrees. It is very well written and draws you in with stories that explore the theories. Some of the other reviewers have complained that Barabasi has done a disservice to the theories that he explains by making them too simplistic. I disagree, I actually found this book to be very rewarding, and a quick read, which is a sign of a well-written book. I have never been a fan of scientific and academic books that pride themselves on being totally incomprehensible. Richard Feynman, the Nobel Prize winning physicist, once said that if someone truly understands a subject they should be able to explain it to a general audience without resorting to technical jargon (Feynman's Lectures on Physics Vol 1,2,3 are a perfect example). To be able to explain a complex subject you need to resort analogies, examples and stories. Stories give a framework for the general reader to absorb the complex material.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Professor Joseph L. McCauley on April 28, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Albert Barabasi presents the lay reader with a stimulating description of the origins of network theory and recent applications. He describes random networks, small world and scalefree networks. In nonrandom networks the importance of hubs is emphasized. Small world networks are the ones with a well defined averge number of links, and in scalefree ones the density of links scales as a power law. For the many interesting examples discussed, I would like to have seen graphs showing scaling over at least three decades in order to be convinced of scaling. However, in practice, whether a network scales or not may not be so important. I liked best the discussions of terrorism, AIDS, and biology. If one could locate the hubs, then a small world network could be destroyed, but as the author points out there is no systematic method for locating the hubs. Also, destroyed hubs in a terror network might be replaced rather fast, whereas airline hubs could not be replaced so quickly. The book might be seen as indicating a starting point to try to develop a branch of mathematical sociology. For example, the maintainance of ethnic identity outside the Heimat is discussed in terms of networking. Now for a little criticism.
I did not find the discussion of ‚the rich get richer` very helpful because network theory at this stage deals only with static geometry, not with empirically-based dynamics. In fact, the dynamics of financial markets have been described empirically accurately without using any notion of networking. In the text the phrase „economic stability" is used but stability is a dynamic idea, and there is no known empirical evidence from the analysis of real markets for any kind of stability.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Henderson on June 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Linked traces the developers and development of network theory from 1929 to 2002. Barabasi uniquely combines a sense of the theorist as a person and a personality with a summary of the theory they developed and the constraints it overturned. He also applies these theories to diverse areas from cellular biology to corporate boardrooms and Asian financial markets.
It's easy to see how this book is applicable to Al Qaeda and the current SARS epidemic as well as to your own approach to work. For example, in Chapter 4: Small Worlds, Barabasi relates the Strength of Weak Ties theory of Granovetter that in finding a job "our weak social ties are more important than our cherished strong friendships."
The most suprising thing about the book is that Barabasi takes a rather boring, paradoxically isolated area of dry intellectual inquiry and manages to convey how exciting and applicable network theory is to everyday life.
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