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Edward Lorenz takes a complicated topic and makes it accessible for all people, regardless of prior knowledge of chaos theory. He provides interesting and easy to follow examples of chaos, fractals and complexity. The illustrations are helpful and he includes a glossary of terms to aid the beginning chaos enthusiasts to quickly become familiar with the terminology. Mr. Lorenz gives a brief history of chaos and explains how it is used in the study of mathematics, meteorology, economics, music, and other fields. The book is very interesting and is highly recommended for those who would like to acquaint themselves with the exciting world of chaos.
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on August 8, 2000
My first intro to chaos was Gleick's book *Chaos: Making a New Science* which focused on the history of the discovery of chaos. Although this was fascinating - and a good read for those just learning about dynamical systems, strange attractors, and the like - Lorenz's *Essence of Chaos* was much more satisfying. Lorenz analyzes specific chaotic functions, gives you the math (equations are in the appendix) and generally accomplishes what the title suggests - that is, exploring the essence of chaos. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in this deeply fascinating subject.
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on October 13, 2007
Lorenz did a great job when he wrote this book!
The very first time when I heard of chaos theory was year ago while watching some old documentary about Nostadamus. In film was mentioned chaos theory and said that acceptance of it by many people could change whole look to life and so on. Movie left to me questions - what is that theory, what it's standing for.
Finaly my interest lead me to this book and it clearly showed me what kind of staff is that chaos theory! That was and is really intriguing!
Book is well written. There was of course some places that wasn't easy to understand. I myself have studied high math,encountered differential equations but anyway had some difficulties. That's why not 5 stars to book - it's really not for absolutely everyone although almost close to it. I couldn't stop it reading, I was done in two days.
This book encouraged me for further reading.
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on February 1, 2009
If your interest in Chaos was piqued by Gleick's book on the subject, you may have found it unsatisfying. While it conveyed a enthusiasm for chaos, it only superficially answered questions about what characterizes a chaotic system. "The Essence of Chaos" is a much better book for gaining an understanding of chaos, mainly because it includes a discussion of the mathematics. Both authors strive to avoid mathematics as much as possible, but in the end, I believe Lorenz achieves a better balance. He only touches lightly on the math, but without that, it's impossible to understand what makes a system chaotic. He doesn't quite go so far as to show a practical application of chaos theory, but a clear and concise example of that probably doesn't exist yet. But, he does achieve the goal of demonstrating and examining the fascinating characteristics of a chaotic system.
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on September 18, 2008
Having read several books about Chaos Theory, and having been promised a user-friendly and yet academic book on the subject, this book fell a little short. Certainly academic, not so easy for someone who does not have a solid background in the sciences and mathematics fields. The various sections cover much of the recent research, and if you can get past the equations, you get a more complete sense of the progression in the subject.
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on February 15, 2010
Chaos is not randomness and randomness is not chaos. Ed Lorenz, one of the founding fathers of chaos theory, has produced a book aimed at explaining chaos theory to the public, starting and ending on the same point- common usage has incorrectly rendered "chaotic" and "random" to be synonyms. Randomness implies that there are no equations to govern the evolution of a system, while chaos implies that the system is incredibly sensitive to its initial conditions, but there are equations behind the curtain. A pinball machine, flipping coins, tossing dice, and the global weather are all examples of chaotic systems, despite what your math teachers might have told you. Along the way you get a small dose of the history of the field and the relevant higher-level mathematics.

Lorenz does, I think, a pretty good job of explaining the subject. The more mathematically inclined reader will find all the details and differential equations in the appendix of the book, but for the most part you do not need to have that much of a mathematical background to understand the main points of the book. Sometimes the explanations do get a little hairy, and might require a second read. Lorenz makes analogies with simple systems and everyday occurrences (such as a pinball machine and skiing down moguls) in engaging language mostly free of jargon. I would recommend this book if you are interesting in learning about the basics of chaos theory. I haven't yet read Gleick's famous Chaos: Making a New Science, but this seems like an excellent place to start.
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on July 21, 2000
Lorenz has done it again. This is a terrific inside look at chaos by the man who made Gleick's book possible. And it had a few interesting new ideas too--who would have thought there was a different way to present fourth-order Runge-Kutta? Who would have thought Runge-Kutta could convert a phase-space circle to a nice-looking fractal attractor? A good book for the air plane.
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on July 8, 2013
This book exceeded my expectations, and the in-depth discussion of chaos theory and sensitive dependence on initial conditions was extremely intriguing.
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on May 26, 2013
It is for me a reference book. I keep going back to it and propose it to others. I could read it and understand although I am not an expert
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on February 27, 2009
I read this book when it was snowing outside in the Sierras. I was immediately able to correlate this book with the chaotic snow fall.

Extremely good read.
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