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Frustrated by the traffic on narrow bridges? Stunned by the number of buttons on a remote control? Saddened by the lack of basic medical care in the developing world? Kluger (Splendid Solutions) makes the modern world comprehensible, analyzing social and technological systems to reveal that things that seem complicated can be preposterously simple; things that seem simple can be dizzyingly complex. He compares cells to cities to stock markets, renders quarks and fractals accessible and draws parallels between Wal-Mart and AIDS clinics in Tanzania. Although Kluger is prone to hyperbole, his astonishing discoveries require no exaggeration: the book describes how even the most technologically advanced manufacturing plant is infinitely simpler than a humble houseplant with its microhydraulics and fine-tuned metabolism and dense schematic of nucleic acids—and baseball fans will be dismayed to discover that football is, in fact, the more complex of the two games: the possible number of starting configurations before the play even begins is... 31.4 billion. Kluger's findings are likely to incite controversy, confirming his contention that explaining simplicity and complexity is never as straightforward as it seems. (June)
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Yes, simplexity is a new word—a whole new theory, in fact. In essence, simplexity holds that simple things become more complex (even unnecessarily complex) over time, while complex things can become (or be made) simpler. OK, so that sounds rather blindingly obvious: who, for example, hasn’t shaken his head at the sheer verbiage of cell phone or camera instructions? But here Kluger, coauthor of the best-selling Lost Moon (1994), which became the film Apollo 13, doesn’t merely trot out examples of simple things that became complex, and complex things that were simplified; he explores how they got that way and why. Instructions, for example, are complicated because the products themselves can do so many different things—the consumer’s demand for flexibility leads to complexity. Simplexity, the theory, is intriguing and plausible. Simplexity, the book, is a study of human behavior, and the way we perceive things and events, and how our perception frequently causes us to make wrong assumptions and to perceive simplicity (or complexity) where it does not exist. The book is sure to be a deserved hit among the ever-growing Freakonomics crowd. --David PittSee all Editorial Reviews
Simplexity by Jeffrey Kluger is a very frustrating read. It starts off with great promise; by page 28 and the "Complexity Arc" diagram, he has identified one of the... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Howard A. Landman
It's a collection of interesting facts on a variety topics - sort of like a collection of M. Gladwell's, if not as counter-intuitive. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Allen Smith
The writer has few skills. He is repetitious, treats his readers as if they were children needing exhaustive explanation of the self evident. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Peter B. Drayson
I found most of the essays on a variety of diverse phenomena of modern life very interesting and entertaining, but at the end of each, a cohesive theory as to what was being... Read morePublished on April 7, 2013 by Vance
What, or who, is more effective at guessing the needs of a particular book-buyer? Amazon with its buildings of servers and aggregation of data based on demographics and past... Read morePublished on January 14, 2013 by Marc Comtois
I do not like to read science books written by journalist, but I found this at the local library, and took a shot on it. Read morePublished on August 10, 2012 by Automated Trader
Despite covering a potentially intriguing subject, the author has produced a totally pointless and confusing book. It is full of self-evident and trite observations. Read morePublished on June 15, 2012 by D. H. Du Plessis
There are some lessons in History, but it's a stretch to make a case for Simplexity. The plain font title on the cover led me to believe that this was a portmanteau. Read morePublished on March 17, 2012 by Combined Text
A surprisingly interesting read.
Very good reference material and theories on risk psychology with supporting/relevant case examples. Read more