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Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous…

Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order (Penguin Press Science) (edition 2004)

by Steven Strogatz

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7921218,156 (3.97)2
At the heart of the universe is a steady, insistent beat, the sound of cycles in sync. Along the tidal rivers of Malaysia, thousands of fireflies congregate and flash in unison; the moon spins in perfect resonance with its orbit around the earth; our hearts depend on the synchronous firing of ten thousand pacemaker cells. While the forces that synchronize the flashing of fireflies may seem to have nothing to do with our heart cells, there is in fact a deep connection. Synchrony is a science in its infancy, and Strogatz is a pioneer in this new frontier in which mathematicians and physicists attempt to pinpoint just how spontaneous order emerges from chaos. From underground caves in Texas where a French scientist spent six months alone tracking his sleep-wake cycle, to the home of a Dutch physicist who in 1665 discovered two of his pendulum clocks swinging in perfect time, this fascinating book spans disciplines, continents, and centuries. Engagingly written for readers of books such as Chaos and The Elegant Universe, Sync is a tour-de-force of nonfiction writing.… (more)
Title:Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order (Penguin Press Science)
Authors:Steven Strogatz
Info:ePenguin (2004), Kindle Edition, 362 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, Ebooks

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Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order by Steven H. Strogatz

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I am fascinated by the topics of Chaos, and complexity. Sync dovetails nicely into both of those. This book is made richer and more interesting by the details the author uses to clarify concepts, and anecdotes about his personal involvement as well as comments about the personalities of the major thinkers involved. I come away wanting to read more of his books and anxious to learn more about sync ( )
  waldhaus1 | Nov 30, 2018 |
Excellent if somewhat (though, mildly) redundant follow up to [a:James Gleick|10401|James Gleick|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1304671926p2/10401.jpg]'s [b:Chaos: The Making of a New Science|64582|Chaos The Making of a New Science|James Gleick|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327941595s/64582.jpg|62690]. ( )
  tlockney | Sep 7, 2014 |
Interesting read and very accessible. The author is intent on keeping non-scientist readers along for the ride. Ultimately, though, I finished the first section and don't really have much interest in going forward. I'll probably keep this one on the nightstand for those evenings when I don't feel like reading fiction. It's not bad, I'm just not sure how the next section (which is about the exploration of heart function works with spontaneous order) is much different other than in the names and experiments carried out. It seems pretty obvious that the results will be the same. ( )
  evanroskos | Mar 30, 2013 |
In this book, Strogatz introduces a truly beautiful idea: that of synchrony.
However, Strogatz sticks to his "no math equations" principle to the point that many explanations are vague. For example, in discussing exponential and linear growth rates, a simple diagram containing plots and formulas is practically essential for an intuitive grasp. Strogatz clumsily describes the rates in words. A dose of math, such as relevant plots and the explicit Lorenz equations, would make this book much more revealing to readers interested in math while not turning off those who are not.
1 vote ftong | Jun 6, 2012 |
This is a fantastic book packed with insights and wonderful ideas. Its subject is the power of synchronisation, or as the book’s subtitle puts it, ‘the emergence of spontaneous order’.
Our approaches to managing pretty much anything, including organisations is based on increasingly complex structures of processes and control, yet this focus on plans, objectives and goals appears to be absent elsewhere in the universe.

The book provides a history of the growing realisation that self-organisation is a powerful and inspiring force that can be found throughout almost all natural processes, from those of sub-atomic particles, through to those that span the universe.

Entwined beautifully with the history and progress of this area of science, Steven interleaves his personal experiences in the field which not only illuminate the bigger picture but also injects the sense of adventure and joy of discovery involved in the pursuit of new ideas. In doing so it provides insights into how mathematics, simulation and imagination can be entwined to explore new ideas. The result gives a real sense of fun to be had.
Skilfully Steve paints the picture of fascinating ideas whose core is fundamentally mathematical, without recourse to equations. Indeed the imagery he uses to create clear understanding is very impressive.

The book covers a lot of ground from the behaviour of massed fireflies, electronic circuits, the functioning of our hearts. All these sources of synchronicity are explained beautifully and lead to numerous insights that will be of great value for anyone seeking an alternative to the current focus on increasing use of control as the basis for managing our people, organisations and society.

The epilogue to the book points to a new dawn for science with an end to reductionist thinking.
Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote Steve55 | Sep 4, 2011 |
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