- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (January 15, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0671872346
- ISBN-13: 978-0671872342
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 98 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
COMPLEXITY: THE EMERGING SCIENCE AT THE EDGE OF ORDER AND CHAOS 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a service we offer sellers that lets them store their products in Amazon's fulfillment centers, and we directly pack, ship, and provide customer service for these products. Something we hope you'll especially enjoy: FBA items qualify for FREE Shipping and Amazon Prime.
If you're a seller, Fulfillment by Amazon can help you increase your sales. We invite you to learn more about Fulfillment by Amazon .
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
The Washington Post If you liked Chaos, you'll love Complexity. Waldrop creates the most exciting intellectual adventure story of the year.
Heinz Pagels physicist I am convinced that the nations and people who master the new sciences of complexity will become the economic, cultural, and political superpowers of the next century.
The New York Times Book Review Lucidly shows physicists, biologists, computer scientists and economists swapping metaphors and reveling in the sense that epochal discoveries are just around the corner....[Waldrop] has a special talent for relaying the exhilaration of moments of intellectual insight.
Douglas R. Hofstadter author of Götel, Esther, Bach One comes away from Complexity both intellectually excited by ideas and emotionally involved with the people struggling to formulate them. This is a deep tale of science in the making.
About the Author
M. Mitchell Waldrop has his doctorate in elementary particle physics and is the author of Man-Made Minds. He spent ten years as a senior writer for Science magazine, where he is now a contributing correspondent.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Author Waldrop tells stories and explores the personalities of the men and women who made the Santa Fe Institute happen, thereby creating a tale that enlightens the reader on many intellectual levels. This book was written in 1992, but it is timeless.
It described how experts from different disciplines were brought together under one roof, physicists, economists, biologists, mathematicians etc. The idea being that they could cross stimulate each other from their own field, as Complexity exists in all areas of human lives and endeavours.
It's a fascinating read.
What, more specifically did we learn?
1. We got a taste of the concept of increasing returns and the failures of rational expectations theory (with respect to the limitations of Economics).
2. We learned about why the Second Law of Thermodynamics is often misunderstood/ misused in the context of trying to explain evolution.
3. p.140. The author gave us some very subtle observations about (1) the extreme specialization/ lack of overlap of the disciplines that makes interdisciplinary work difficult; (2) the nature of mathematics as it is used in Physics vs. Economics-- in the first case as a TOOL to build models that correspond to physical things but in the second more as a demonstration of intellectual prowess with explanatory power secondary.
There were a few things about which I had questions.
1. p. 39, Waldrop suggested that the proof of a theory was not in its predictive powers, but in its explanatory powers. But the thing is: theories can be made that explain anything. Isn't the proof of the pudding in predictive powers/ testability?
The author has also done a yeoman's work of making (what could/ should be) a highly mathematical topics something that has not a single graph or equation in it (and therefore very accessible to non mathematicians).
There was, however, a downside.
1. This book could have benefited from a "cast of characters" that was put either at the front or the back. There were just so many people involved in this that it was hard to keep them all straight.
2. I can see that the author had to choose between a straight recitation of facts related to cases involving complex systems and keeping a story arc for a popular audience. But a bit better of organization might have helped. There were quite a few topics discussed in here, and they all just got blurry (and that was 1/3 of the way into the book). Nor were they easy to relocate for rereading of points for which a reader might like further clarification/ to discuss with a friend. So, the author talked about economic systems, evolutionary biology (at the level of population genetics and then again at the level of the molecular self assembly of the first self-replicators).
3. There was not diagram/ graph the first in this book. I know that he was trying to keep it simple, but in point of fact, people who are liable to pick up a book about something like this could follow the arguments if they were made quantitatively and in more depth.
4. The book was too long. It was about 348 pages of text, and it feels like he could have said what he wanted to say in 200.
Verdict: This book is 20 years old this year. It is only worth a second hand purchase price. But a lot of the concepts are still interesting. It's not quite worth the time it took to read, but would have been if it were only 200 pages.
If you are looking for an efficient way to increase your knowledge of complexity theory then go elsewhere.
Most recent customer reviews
I certainly was a little off when I started reading the book.Read more