Save Big On Open-Box & Pre-owned: Buy "Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another” from Amazon Warehouse Deals and save 78% off the $27.00 list price. Product is eligible for Amazon's 30-day returns policy and Prime or FREE Shipping. See all Open-Box & Pre-owned offers from Amazon Warehouse Deals.
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.
Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
Special Offers and Product Promotions
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
Sensitive to charges of "arrogance", Ball asserts that his work is "not an attempt to prescribe systems of control and governance, still less to bolster with scientific reasoning prejudices about how society ought to be run." Rather he would help us to understand how "patterns of behavior emerge - and patterns undoubtedly do emerge - from the statistical melée of many individuals doing their own idiosyncratic thing." Thus he uses the tools that have recently been developed in nonlinear science to understand collective social behavior. To this end, the historical introduction is followed by a discussion of the concept of probability and the corresponding growth of statistical physics that developed in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The general reader who would understand these important ideas will benefit from the early chapters which clearly expound the notion of a phase change (think of boiling water or melting ice).Read more ›
In some chapters (e.g., "On the road") I would argue that at best, all Critical Mass is doing is importing names from physics to describe similar appearing phenomena in our macro world. However, as the great Richard P. Feynman once said: "simply knowing the name of something is not knowledge". To me at least, there should have been more discussion on experimentation to back up the assertions that the similar appearing phenomena are in fact the same thing. Then it would truly illustrate something deeper. Again, to borrow from Feynman using his famous license plate analogy, if you have already observed the results and then develop a theory it is not science.
I could also have done without some of the condescending comments on the some of the great men that came before that apparently disagreed with the author's politics. For example, when discussing Adam Smith's theories on economics (Rhythms of the Marketplace), the book belabors his theories (e.g., page 180 "...even on its own term's Smith's economic theory was too simplistic to cover the whole story..." or page 184 "...Smith does not endorse the grinding poverty implicit in his words...") In contrast, the author is positively gushing when in the same chapter he describes Karl Marx's theories as "...the most influential of `scientific' economic theories in the nineteenth century..." (page 183) and "Marx's economic vision contained the crucial concept of a market that was potentially unsteady and to oscillate between boom and bust..." (page 186).
Just one man's opinion.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The associate provost requested this book. He was pleased with the cost and timeliness of the delivery.Published 22 months ago by Cindy Williams
good book. it started well andinterseting and it is good going
past the half it gets deeoer requiring slower reading
As a student (not a very good one, arguably :) of social sciences, I've been more than a little disturbed by what I've seen as trying to "prescribe" how people "must" behave using... Read morePublished on February 7, 2013 by Anastasia
I am very impressed with this book. It is dense but the writer's style keeps the text engaging.
I enjoyed how the author managed to link social science to physics historically... Read more
Considerable (and maybe correct) research on history of physics which collects huge amount of (somehow) arbitrary selected citations. Read morePublished on August 6, 2011 by KA
This book was offered me and - it was hit on the nail.
Philip Ball is obviously a very experienced writer. Read more
For the popular-science book reader, this is a gratifying book that never confuses you but still manages to surprise with fresh perspective and new ideas. Read morePublished on January 9, 2011 by harshcritic
I was looking forward to reading this book but I find it hard to read. I read a few pages, and find it interesting, but can't really say what I learned. Maybe its just me. Read morePublished on July 11, 2010 by Tunes Plus