- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199798109
- ISBN-13: 978-0199798100
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.1 x 6.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 115 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,635 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: A Guided Tour 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
“All theoretical models are wrong, but some are useful.” Both inevitable error and promising usefulness abound in the bold conceptual models that Mitchell surveys in exploring the nascent science of complexity. Readers will marvel at the sheer range of settings in which complex systems operate: from ant hills to the stock market, from T cells to Web searches, from disease epidemics to power outages, complexity challenges theorists’ intellectual adroitness. With refreshing clarity, Mitchell invites nonspecialists to share in these researchers’ adventures in recognizing and measuring complexity and then predicting its cascading effects. Concepts central to thermodynamics, information theory, and computer programming all come into focus in this foray into the recesses of complexity. Still, the analysis illuminates more than explanatory frameworks (such as network diagrams and genetic algorithms); piquant personalities (including Stephen Jay Gould and John von Neumann) also receive illuminating scrutiny. Though Mitchell acknowledges the doubts of skeptics, she still expresses hope that persistent complexity researchers will yet weld their disparate accomplishments into a coherent paradigm. Mind-expanding. --Bryce Christensen --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Melanie Mitchell's book is most enjoyable, truly inspiring, skillfully written, and, above all, beautifully clear. The author's enthusiasm and passion for the field make the book fascinating to read. Her rigor, clarity, and healthy skepticism make the book sound and the field scientifically stronger. It is an excellent and rigorous account of the scientific field of complexity. She proves by example that it is possible to explain complex systems science with rigor, breadth, depth, and- above all-exquisite clarity. * Artificial Life *
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 70%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I read many of the one and two star grumbles below before I posted this. Somehow, they missed the point of her book. The world is far more complex and fascinating than we imagined. She integrates birds, broccoli, social networks, earthquakes, and economic concepts by presenting some of the hidden common factors.
Is this complete? No. The field seems to be at a similar point to where the mathematics was before the birth of Leibnitz and Newton. On the other hand, you might suddenly see a connection no one else has. Here is an example. There is a similarity between the studies of cities, information theory concepts, and ants. Enjoy the exploration.
However, along with Soft Systems Methodology, the hope of a science of complex systems seems to have eluded us; and it does not look now that we will ever get there. It book seemed a little over optimistic given that the quest had run its course and in retrospect the personal details seem no longer all that relevant.
So I was left a little disappointed as much by the subject as the exposition. Buts its worth a read just to see if you reach the same conclusions.
As an experienced computer scientist, primarily with "von Neumann" machines, but also with some experience in connectionist architectures, her explanations of all material with which I *am* familiar are as economical and lucid as any I've seen. Her explanations of systems further afield from my comfort zones -- cellular automata, genetic algorithms, etc. -- have me feeling comfortable with my understanding of them in a way that no previous treatment has achieved.
I'm about to order her book on celluar automata, and at this point I'd buy (and recommend) anything she writes without hesitation. Scientists who are also excellent writers are rare as hens' teeth -- to use the title of a work by one of the few other hugely literate scientists, the late (and very much lamented) Stephen Jay Gould, who.
I don't know whether this niche constitutes a genre, but if so Mitchell is a master of the genre.
From a technical standpoint, Mitchell's Ph.D. adviser was Doug Hofstadter -- a pedigree that is quite evident. She's got me wanting to re-read Goedel, Escher, Bach -- no mean feat, since that's a huge undertaking.
If you have any interest in complexity, buy this book.
Having read many scholarly papers on these topics, I can vouch for the clarity and accuracy of her work. She certainly doesn't need any endorsement, though; as a successful doctoral student under the renowned Doug Hofstadter and now a professor at Santa Fe, she is in the inner circle of complexity scientists today. If only her book had come out a year or two ago! It puts in one place many ideas we used to have to search out and integrate on our own!
One note: the mathematics of complexity science can be daunting. Dr. Mitchell has done a terrific job expressing & explaining those concepts. Unlike many of the complexity books in print, hers is both intelligent and accessible. Highly recommend it!