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Simplexity: Why Simple Things Become Complex

by Jeffrey Kluger

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4505855,246 (3.13)30
Draws on cutting-edge theories to describe the basic workings of everyday objects and principles in accessible language, covering a wide variety of topics from cell phones and viruses to economics and parenting.

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» See also 30 mentions

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Chaos and complexity are my 2 favorite science ideas, and I have read a lot of books on these topics, so I was expecting to enjoy this book a lot more than I did. There was just too much in this book, at too shallow a level, to be engaging. Kluger introduces concepts and subjects every few paragraphs, never developing most of them, and not laying out the connections between them, at least not well enough that other people could follow the logic that made sense to him when he strung those topics together. I could see that for Klugman there was indeed a careful architecture to his book, but I suspect that a lot of this organization relies on biases, background and other contextual information that the reader cannot be expected to have.

A few diagrams and a system of subheadings, introductory and concluding paragraphs, and some sort of clearly laid out road map for each chapter might have helped, but focusing on fewer subjects and covering them more thoroughly would also have made a huge improvement. After all, the point of this book was, I am guessing, the shapes and dynamics of systems and problems, rather than sports, music, infectious diseases, or any of the other subjects Klugman introduced. Focusing more on these underlying similarities of shape and dynamics and less on distracting the reader with yet another new subject would bring the underlying structures more into focus. ( )
  JBarringer | Dec 30, 2017 |
(and How Complex Things Can Be Made Simple)
  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
Again, done in the tradition of Freakonomics, Sway, and Quirkology, this is an accessible book that encourages the reader to look at both nature and technology in different, nontraditional ways. I appreciated the fact that the author recognized complexity science's limitations throughout the book, especially in areas that had to do with the arts. He was able, however, to make excellent points about patterns that occur in all sorts of other areas, like language, sports, and molecular structure, just to name a few. I'm drawn to these types of books that respect my intelligence but still manage to teach me something new. Another fascinating read. ( )
  cat-ballou | Apr 2, 2013 |
Some rather ordinary examples, and some which were mildly interesting. I kept thinking that I had seen all of this before, though. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Came away wishing that in all those words, there was deeper insight into the ideas explored. ( )
  MacDiva | Oct 22, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jeffrey Klugerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Graham, HolterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To anyone paying attention on the morning of August 29, the death of the little girl at 40 Broad Street did not seem like a terribly remarkable thing. (Prologue)
What might be the three most expensive words ever spoken were uttered on October 15, 1987.
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Draws on cutting-edge theories to describe the basic workings of everyday objects and principles in accessible language, covering a wide variety of topics from cell phones and viruses to economics and parenting.

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