It was my first introduction to complexity theory and it is written by a master of readability.
It contains so many important topics. I had never realised that Alan Turing, after inventing the computer and winning the war, as told by Andrew Hodges in Enigma, had then kicked off the science of morphogenesis, explaining how you can get different species by switching on the same genes at different stages of gestation.
This book was my wonderful introduction to so many others dealing with the sciences of chaos and complexity:
- Six degrees about small world networks by Duncan Watts
- sync by Steven Strogatz
- At Home in the Universe by Stuart Kauffman about fitness landscapes
- How Nature Works by Per Bak about sandpiles and self organized criticality; an excellent explanation of complexity science
- Smart swarm by Peter Miller
- The Information by James Gleick although his Chaos (not reviewed on this blog) is perhaps better
Other books not reviewed on this blog on this topic include:
- The Wisdom of Crowds
- Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell about fads
- Ubiquity which is brilliant about fractals and power laws
- Critical mass by Philip Ball which is a brilliant explanation about phase changes
This is a life changing book.
January 2012; 235 pages