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Jeffrey Kluger


Interesting things don't tend to happen in the simplest of systems, nor in the most complex, but somewhere in the middle. In Simplexity:The simple rules of a Complex World Jeffrey Kluger takes a look at this phenomenon, and how it applies to a wide range of topics. He starts with the problems we face when everyone is following the trends set by others, whether it's leaving a burning building or investing in the stock market. Later he examines the effects of scale in living things, and in particular how long they live, and see whether this can be extended from organisms to organizations.

People are notoriously bad at assessing risks, and Kluger devotes a chapter to examining why this should be. He also has chapters on the problems of tackling poverty, on how babies learn to talk, and on why the instructions for our gadgets are so complicated. The final chapter asks complexity science can be applied to the arts.

The book doesn't really introduce a groundbreaking new concept as claimed in the blurb. Rather it's a fairly typical investigation into the complexities of our world. This isn't so bad, as it's easy to read, and so would provide a good introduction to some of these subjects. The real problem is that it has no recommendations for further reading (in fact it doesn't even have an index), so it's hopeless for following up on a topic which interests you. So it's OK for a bit of light reading, but don't expect too much from it.  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews