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. info
Hardcover 336 pages  
ISBN: 1401303013
Salesrank: 1968174
Published: 2008 Hachette Books
Amazon price $18.75
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Hardcover 256 pages  
ISBN: 0719568110
Salesrank: 2992604
Weight:1.15 lbs
Published: 2007 John Murray
Marketplace:New from £3.90:Used from £0.58
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Hardcover 256 pages  
ISBN: 0719568110
Weight:1.15 lbs
Published: 2007 John Murray Publishers Ltd
Amazon price CDN$ 33.99
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 33.99:Used from CDN$ 10.29
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Product Description
Why are the instruction manuals for cell phones incomprehensible?
Why is a truck driver's job as hard as a CEO's?
How can 10 percent of every medical dollar cure 90 percent of the world's disease?
Why do bad teams win so many games?

Complexity, as any scientist will tell you, is a slippery idea. Things that seem complicated can be astoundingly simple; things that seem simple can be dizzyingly complex. A houseplant may be more intricate than a manufacturing plant. A colony of garden ants may be more complicated than a community of people. A sentence may be richer than a book, a couplet more complicated than a song.

These and other paradoxes are driving a whole new science--simplexity--that is redefining how we look at the world and using that new view to improve our lives in fields as diverse as economics, biology, cosmology, chemistry, psychology, politics, child development, the arts, and more. Seen through the lens of this surprising new science, the world becomes a delicate place filled with predictable patterns--patterns we often fail to see as we're time and again fooled by our instincts, by our fear, by the size of things, and even by their beauty.

In Simplexity, Time senior writer Jeffrey Kluger shows how a drinking straw can save thousands of lives; how a million cars can be on the streets but just a few hundred of them can lead to gridlock; how investors behave like atoms; how arithmetic governs abstract art and physics drives jazz; why swatting a TV indeed makes it work better. As simplexity moves from the research lab into popular consciousness it will challenge our models for modern living. Jeffrey Kluger adeptly translates newly evolving theory into a delightful theory of everything that will have you rethinking the rules of business, family, art--your world.