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22 Reviews
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let's Vote On It
In many ways this book is a continuation of How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer. Whereas Lehrer explores the edge between actually thinking about our choices versus going with your gut, Len Fisher's The Perfect Swarm: The Science of Complexity in Everyday Life explores some of the surprising mathematics of decision-making. If you have 100 candidates for a job, you should...
Published on March 31, 2010 by Robert Carlberg

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lessons in complexity from nature.
The Perfect Swarm is one of a crop of books that explore the emerging scientific thinking of complexity and order. The subtitle `The Science of Complexity in Everyday Life' and the somewhat playful book title hint that this is one of the more populist books on the subject.

Fisher covers a broad spectrum of subjects and around 30% of the book is devoted to an...
Published on September 3, 2011 by Steven Unwin


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3.0 out of 5 stars First half good, the rest not so much., April 17, 2014
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Mathias Sundin (Norrkoping, Sweden Sweden) - See all my reviews
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The first half if this book is pretty good. Really good actually. But it doesn't keep that standard until the end, where it is pretty basic.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not a book in complexity science or swarm theory., March 31, 2014
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This book is written from a sociology perspective. There is not a tremendous amount on complexity science or swarm theory, but more of observations of these phenomenon. Ultimately this book is focusing on what happens in certain situations and not why it happens, and giving advice how to act given those situations.

None of the insights offered in this book were particularly inspired. Most of the examples given I would classify as general knowledge, and often the examples were quite contrived to simulate reality.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nature's Rules for Complex and Collective Behavior, October 25, 2013
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Len Fisher's "The Perfect Swarm" is a great reference for understanding the science behind human complexity and everyday life. He describes the concept of swarm intelligence by using examples in nature and comparing them to human behavior and self-organization, all while using whimsy and amusement to frame his text. Fisher states that out of chaos, mathematical patterns emerge to create order, and this order can be seen from coral and ants to sand dunes and bees. What's more, he describes how the collective intelligence of swarms can help humans make better decisions as groups and as individuals within a group. Using humor only adds to Fisher's narrative and provides a break from the mathematical conceptual foundation of the swarm intelligence paradigm. Ultimately, Fisher provides a solid model for revealing how complexity emerges from simple rules in nature, and how humans can imitate those behaviors to better understand our chaotic world. Although I have not yet read Fisher's book "Rock, Paper, Scissors," I am eager to do so simply because of this engaging and enlightening book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting viewpoint, May 10, 2013
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1oak (St. Louis, MO) - See all my reviews
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For anyone who loves math or the types of tv shows that are on National Geographic, Science and Discovery channel, this book will be a big hit. Readable while covering complex content.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Strong start, weak finish, March 13, 2013
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The first 5 or so chapters are really interesting and include examples and (non-technical) explanations. But, then things really start to drag as the author veers way off the topic of "swarm" and into a bunch of unrelated topics.

I would have preferred at least a bit of an explanation to some of the results that were presented. Presumably one can find this in the notes, but having at least the outline of the proof would have been helpful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and practical book on complexity, August 13, 2011
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This book has an easy to read style with lots of examples on difficult complex problems and solutions that you can use in your everyday life. First it starts with preliminary information on swarm dynamics, then moves to using teams to solve complex problems. It talks about connectors which is explained in much detail in The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. There are lots of examples on cognitive behaviors like how does forgetting help to solve problems.

If you are new to the topic of complexity and like to have practical information without going too much into the theory, this would be the right book to start.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent first look at swarms and complexity to get an ..., November 20, 2014
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Excellent first look at swarms and complexity to get an understanding of what it is all about. well written easy to follow
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, August 21, 2014
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A very interesting book. From bees to people walking in crowds, all kinds of systems discussed, even inorganic ones.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for students of human behavior, August 10, 2014
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must read for sociology and psychology students.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, December 2, 2014
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Arrived on time and is exactly as advertised.
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The Perfect Swarm: The Science of Complexity in Everyday Life
The Perfect Swarm: The Science of Complexity in Everyday Life by Len Fisher (Paperback - March 8, 2011)
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