- Series: Introducing
- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Icon Books; Fourth Edition edition (December 15, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1848310137
- ISBN-13: 978-1848310131
- Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.5 x 6.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Introducing Chaos: A Graphic Guide Fourth Edition Edition
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About the Author
Ziauddin Sardar is a hugely renowned writer, broadcaster, journalist and critic. 'Britain's own Muslim polymath' (Independent) has become one of the UK's leading intellectuals and writes on a huge variety of subjects in numerous newspapers and magazines throughout the world. He is also Visiting Professor of Postcolonial Studies at the City University, London.
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Top Customer Reviews
It was a mistake.
I would not say much about this. The author did introduce Chaos, not really Chaos theory, to the readers. He tried his best, I believe, to make things easy to understand by simplifying things... However, in doing so, he had just created Chaos.
Hence, this book is probably one of the best examples of "How Simplicity creates Complexity and Chaos"... a simple scheme found in Complex systems (like complex Cellular Automata which emerged from a simple set of rules).
One thing, while a lot of names (technical terms) were introduced, almost all of them are left unexplained. And I think only "introducing" is never enough. (Well, it was the name of the book afterall... this book wasn't named "Explaing Chaos" :)
There are other good books on Chaos for layperson. And, in fact, "Introducing Fractal Geometry" did a far better job than this one.
You can probably learn as much about Chaos theory by reading the Wikipedia article. If I'm going to buy a book, I want something more. Perhaps a deeper exploration into one practical application of Chaos theory that shows it as a real science with a purpose. One is almost left with the impression that Chaos theory is more a post-modern criticism of western science rather than a true alternative explanation of phenomenon.
Books in this series can be read in a day. They use a mix of text and cartoon style graphics to convey the key ingredients of a subject in a concise and straightforward way. The challenge of describing chaos theory is not a trivial one. Though it may require a couple of re-reads, the book does a pretty impressive job of introducing the key figures in the development of chaos theory, its key concepts and how chaos affects our lives.
I was intrigued for example to find Ray Bradbury Zen in the Art of Writingas the author of `A Sound of Thunder' a short story which predates the development of chaos theory.
At the heart of chaos is that complex systems, which meet a small number of criteria, will produce outcomes that are deterministic, but not predictable. This seems a paradox, and as Niels Bohr said
"How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress."
What is startling is that systems don't have to be very complex to be classed as complex, and the criteria, such as non-linear feedback can be found in most systems. The result is that chaos is all around us. What is intriguing is that science, and our desire to understand has led us to simplify our models of the world in such a way that we've created an alternate chaos free world. When we try to understand we trim off the twiddly bits and treat systems as linear. So for example our geometry is based on straight lines, yet in nature everything is raggedy edged. The fractal, is a way of seeing and appreciating the raggedness of the world and this is explored further in a related title in the series, Introducing Fractal Geometry.
This volume provides an easily accessible introduction to what is I believe an important element of any real understanding of effective change processes,
Perhaps further evidence of a `strange attractor' at work are the references in the final chapter to the inherent understanding of chaos within non-western cultures and belief systems such as Taoism, Buddhism Islam and Sufism. It even includes a picture of a symmetrical fractal decoration of the vestibule ceiling of the Chenar Bagh Madresseh School in Isfahan Iran. Isfahan being one of the places I visited when invited to speak recently in Iran.