- Paperback: 306 pages
- Publisher: Knowledge Press; 1 edition (May 30, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0965632822
- ISBN-13: 978-0965632829
- Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #428,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Making Things Work: Solving Complex Problems in a Complex World 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Part I explains concepts central to complex systems, such as: parts, wholes and relationships; patterns; networks and collective memory; possibilities; and evolution. The second and major part of the book focuses on how we can apply complex systems ideas to help solve such major real-world challenges as: military warfare and conflict; health care (the system and errors); learning and the educational system; international development; enlightened evolutionary engineering; and global control, ethnic violence and terrorism. The first hurdle is to comprehend these problems using our knowledge of complex systems and then begin to address them using a complex systems framework.
The book is intellectually refreshing and bold. Its content is expansive, enlightening, and mind-stimulating.
The two that really caught my eye were an otherwise throwaway bit about Macedonian phalanxes that displayed some ignorance, and...
On p156, in the discussion on how easy it would be to drastically reduce medical errors with one fix, there's a horrible mathematical/probability error. It proposes a hypothetical ten-step process to medical procedures, with a 1% error at each INDEPENDENT step (this is important) leading to an overall ~10% chance of error [no error = (1-0.01)^10 = 90.4%] being applied to the patient. His easy solution is to introduce redundancy at just one step, making that one step's likelihood of error 1% of 1%, or 0.01%; which is a correct construction. However, he then goes on to say that this one adjustment would reduce the total, final chance of error to 99.9%... and this is TOTALLY INCORRECT. It's EMBARRASSING. Such an adjustment would make the final chance of error 8.7% [no error = (1-.01)^9*(1-.0001) = 91.3%], a relative reduction of 9% and an absolute reduction of 0.9%, not his calculated relative reduction of 99% and absolute reduction of 9.9%. He (apparently) incorrectly assumed that this one redundancy would reduce errors at all steps to 0.Read more ›
For a more technical treatment, I'd recommend Yaneer's earlier book or better yet, take a course at NECSI.
This book is must reading for decision makers in industry and government. A well-thumbed copy should be found on the shelf of any person claiming to think deeply about "transformation."
Bar-Yam applies key principles of complex systems to many of the large and seemingly insoluble problems that we face as a society and gives us a reason to hope by providing new ways of understanding and addressing them. Bar-Yam's approaches are not simplistic panaceas. Implementation requires new ways of thinking and acting.
The only caution I have is that, for most people, it takes time and mental discipline to be able to use these powerful ideas effectively.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is more than I thought about the complex problems. I've change my point of view about everything around me. Read morePublished on March 23, 2014 by Antonio Flavio da Costa Freire
The book serms to present interesting concepts, but it is not objective and tends to go over and over and over about the same topic. Read morePublished on March 13, 2014 by Filipe Assis Scatena
Thanks to his author i decided to prepare another postgraduate studies in complex science... It's unfortunate that politicians don't think since they don't "work" like himPublished on December 21, 2013 by RF/RCS Engineer
The reason I had given "Making Things Work: Solving complex problems in a complex word," a five star rating, was because I realized that I llacked a basic understanding of... Read morePublished on May 18, 2013 by Rose Waldman
Great book -- read several sections of it for a course. Am going to buy my own copy.Published on June 3, 2010 by T. J. Lindberg
If you want to understand how the world around you is functioning, you only need to read this book. It will provide you foundation/concepts which are universal i.e. Read morePublished on April 13, 2008 by Chander Chawla
This is a wonderful book, essential in the complex world we live in. It explains how to apply insight from one of the newest branches of science, complexity, to every day problems. Read morePublished on October 8, 2007 by J. Carlos Aguado
"Making Things Work" provides a great background into the study of complex systems (something that I knew very little about beforehand) and then continues on to apply those... Read morePublished on January 31, 2005 by Cameran Young