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Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means for Business, Science, and Everyday Life Paperback – April 29, 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A sweeping look at a new and exciting science." —Donald Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief, Science Magazine



"Captivating…Linked is a playful, even exuberant romp through an exciting new field." —Time Out New York

About the Author

Albert-László Barabási is a pioneer of real-world network theory and author of the bestseller, Linked: How Everything is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means for Business, Science, and Everyday Life. At 32, he was the youngest professor to be named the Emil T. Hofmann Professor of Physics at the University of Notre Dame and has won numerous awards for his work, including the FEBS Anniversary Prize for Systems Biology and the John von Neumann Medal for outstanding achievements. He currently lives in Boston and is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Network Science at Northeastern University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; 60387th edition (April 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452284392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452284395
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #587,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Linked focuses on network theory and some of its applications, where networks are defined as dynamic linear graphs. It is written for the non-mathematicians, and in fact does a very good job of giving the reader insight into how the mathematical modeler thinks and works, and what mathematical modeling is (the phrase "dynamic linear graphs" does not actually appear in the text). "Linked" is kind of an intellectual memoir, and especially in the first few chapters, is charming as well as informative. The problem is that Barabasi has an inflated view of the importance and primacy of his work and interests vis-a-vis the general subject of the theory of complex systems. Also, while Barbasi strikes me as intellectually honest, his lack of knowledge of such subjects as cellular biology leads him to erroneous claims for what insights may be attributed to recent work in network modeling. He is on stronger grounds when he discusses narrow subjects such as the links between corporate directors, and Barabasi does seem to know quite a bit about sociological modeling and the Internet. In terms of intellectual stimulation and excitement, Linked does not begin to match up with Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software by Steven Johnson, and I guess I was expecting something more comparable to that book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Albert Barabasi presents the lay reader with a stimulating description of the origins of network theory and recent applications. He describes random networks, small world and scalefree networks. In nonrandom networks the importance of hubs is emphasized. Small world networks are the ones with a well defined averge number of links, and in scalefree ones the density of links scales as a power law. For the many interesting examples discussed, I would like to have seen graphs showing scaling over at least three decades in order to be convinced of scaling. However, in practice, whether a network scales or not may not be so important. I liked best the discussions of terrorism, AIDS, and biology. If one could locate the hubs, then a small world network could be destroyed, but as the author points out there is no systematic method for locating the hubs. Also, destroyed hubs in a terror network might be replaced rather fast, whereas airline hubs could not be replaced so quickly. The book might be seen as indicating a starting point to try to develop a branch of mathematical sociology. For example, the maintainance of ethnic identity outside the Heimat is discussed in terms of networking. Now for a little criticism.
I did not find the discussion of ‚the rich get richer` very helpful because network theory at this stage deals only with static geometry, not with empirically-based dynamics. In fact, the dynamics of financial markets have been described empirically accurately without using any notion of networking. In the text the phrase „economic stability" is used but stability is a dynamic idea, and there is no known empirical evidence from the analysis of real markets for any kind of stability.
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Format: Paperback
Linked traces the developers and development of network theory from 1929 to 2002. Barabasi uniquely combines a sense of the theorist as a person and a personality with a summary of the theory they developed and the constraints it overturned. He also applies these theories to diverse areas from cellular biology to corporate boardrooms and Asian financial markets.
It's easy to see how this book is applicable to Al Qaeda and the current SARS epidemic as well as to your own approach to work. For example, in Chapter 4: Small Worlds, Barabasi relates the Strength of Weak Ties theory of Granovetter that in finding a job "our weak social ties are more important than our cherished strong friendships."
The most suprising thing about the book is that Barabasi takes a rather boring, paradoxically isolated area of dry intellectual inquiry and manages to convey how exciting and applicable network theory is to everyday life.
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Format: Paperback
The beginning of this book promises much more than what is really inside. I agree with one of the reviews that it could have been shortend a lot. The book seems to be written in a style similar to books on more important issue (for mankid, in my opinion), e.g. DNA, with (too) many personal facts of litlle momentum. In my opinion the ideas and "discoveries" reported by the author are not at this level, as the constant use of marvelous adjectives largely scattered in the book seems to suggest. I think that also a book written for the general public should consider humility as a texture on which to build this type of communication.
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This book describes the emergence of an important new area of science, and it's written by Alberto-Laszlo Barabasi, one of the pioneers and leaders in the field. The writing is clear and engaging, so the book should be fairly easy to read by general readers reasonably comfortable with science. Accommodating such a broad audience does limit the technical depth, but there's still plenty of detail, and the book has abundant endnotes which go into further detail and also link the book with the professional literature (pun intended).

The systematic presentation of the book makes it fairly easy to summarize:

(1) Many systems are complex, and thus are not amenable to conventional reductionism. Instead, complex systems typically involve networks.

(2) The study of networks began with "simple" graph theory, and then progressed to random networks in which most nodes have the about the same number of links.

(3) Real-world networks tend to be "small worlds" in the sense that the shortest path from a given node to any other node is typically only several links. This is the case even for networks with millions or billions of nodes.

(4) Rather than being entirely random, real-world networks tend to display clustering, with "weak links" between clusters. These weak links, which may be random, are the key to making these networks small worlds.

(5) Small-world networks tend to have a minority of highly-linked "hub" nodes which shorten the average path between nodes.
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