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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars IT'S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL, 17 July 2003
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The issue that drew me to this book was the unbelievable statement that it begins with. The claim is made that ANY individual in the world is mysteriously connected to any other through 6 close links i.e you know someone who knows someone else etc. etc. So for example, myself, an occupant of the North-East of England, could in principle contact someone deeply embedded in the Amazon jungle thorugh just 6 people connected by given relationships.
My first reaction was of course (as yours probably is) "What a load of tosh" but I was certainly intent on finding out what this gent Mark Buchanen had to say. I was quickly convinced by his argument that this indeed could be the case. Not wanting to give too much away, the amazing idea quoted at the beginning turns out to be a deeply engrained result of the way almost any network in nature organises itself. The author compares the population network with other complicated systems such as the internet and ecosystems resulting in stunning similarities between systems that intuitively do not bear any resemblence. His statements into the theory come from intensive simulations carried out by scientists currently working in the field.
A very minor criticism of the book lies in the fact that this field of science is extremely underdeveloped. A very new subject such as this has little material on which to base a review book such as this. Consequently, much of the text involves looking at a small amount of network theory from different angles and illuminating with different examples. This however could be advantageous for those who like a more relaxed pace of learning.
Nevertheless I am glad that I picked up this book as it provides an extremely lucid and easy to read introduction to the fascinating modern science of networks. The book seems extremely accessible to the average member of the public - well worth a read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars HIDDEN DESIGNS, 6 Sep 2003
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
Buchanan points out the hidden networks that tie together both the physical world and the world of consciousness, showing that amongst other things the Internet, electrical grids, the brain and the global economy are all systems with an underlying pattern that shares nature's design.
Physics, biology and other sciences have uncovered a multitude of unexpected connections between the operation of the human world and the functioning of other seemingly unrelated things. Many networks that seemed to be random are turning out to have a hidden order as revealed by the discipline of Complexity Theory.
The most interesting sections are those on the Internet, on the spread of AIDS and on economic systems. The author's conclusion is that many aspects of the world are indeed simpler than they appear on the surface and that there is a hidden and powerful design that binds everything together.
This fascinating book confirms many of the findings that I have encountered in other titles like Universality by Mark Ward and Hidden Connections by Fritjof Capra. It concludes with a set of explanatory notes and a thorough index. Small World is a stimulating and thought provoking work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Underlying Patterning", 8 Feb 2004
Anyone intrigued by tricky scientific problems and their solutions will be amply satisfied by this clear account of the "small-world" phenomenon. We've all experienced it: perhaps while on holiday abroad you meet someone who lives on your street; or when travelling by train you sit next to someone who years ago knew your parents. Buchanan details how recent discoveries in various scientific fields show these not to be coincidences, but indications of a peculiar "underlying patterning" in the systems and networks that populate nature and civilisation. And although the opening chapters contain the most excitement, it is fascinating and readable throughout.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underlying patterns, 29 Oct 2004
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Small World: Uncovering Nature's Hidden Networks (Hardcover)
Buchanan points out the hidden networks that tie together both the physical world and the world of consciousness, showing that amongst other things the Internet, electrical grids, the brain and the global economy are all systems with an underlying pattern that shares nature's design.

Physics, biology and other sciences have uncovered a multitude of unexpected connections between the operation of the human world and the functioning of other seemingly unrelated things. Many networks that seemed to be random are turning out to have a hidden order as revealed by the discipline of Complexity Theory.
The most interesting sections are those on the Internet, on the spread of AIDS and on economic systems. The author's conclusion is that many aspects of the world are indeed simpler than they appear on the surface and that there is a hidden and powerful design that binds everything together.
This fascinating book confirms many of the findings that I have encountered in other titles like Universality by Mark Ward and Hidden Connections by Fritjof Capra. It concludes with a set of explanatory notes and a thorough index. Small World is a stimulating and thought provoking work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars IT'S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL, 17 July 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The issue that drew me to this book was the unbelievable statement that it begins with. The claim is made that ANY individual in the world is mysteriously connected to any other through 6 close links i.e you know someone who knows someone else etc. etc. So for example, myself, an occupant of the North-East of England, could in principle contact someone deeply embedded in the Amazon jungle thorugh just 6 people connected by given relationships.
My first reaction was of course (as yours probably is) "What a load of tosh" but I was certainly intent on finding out what this gent Mark Buchanen had to say. I was quickly convinced by his argument that this indeed could be the case. Not wanting to give too much away, the amazing idea quoted at the beginning turns out to be a deeply engrained result of the way almost any network in nature organises itself. The author compares the population network with other complicated systems such as the internet and ecosystems resulting in stunning similarities between systems that intuitively do not bear any resemblence. His statements into the theory come from intensive simulations carried out by scientists currently working in the field.
A very minor criticism of the book lies in the fact that this field of science is extremely underdeveloped. A very new subject such as this has little material on which to base a review book such as this. Consequently, much of the text involves looking at a small amount of network theory from different angles and illuminating with different examples. This however could be advantageous for those who like a more relaxed pace of learning.
Nevertheless I am glad that I picked up this book as it provides an extremely lucid and easy to read introduction to the fascinating modern science of networks. The book seems extremely accessible to the average member of the public - well worth a read!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Networks, 16 July 2002
By 
B M Cross (Lisieux France) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Small World: Uncovering Nature's Hidden Networks (Hardcover)
If you have ever bumped into a friend in Outer Mongolia and tried to explain this to yourself using the laws of probability, and then on the way back passed a friend of a friend riding the other way on a Yak, you will end up mentally dumping everything you ever knew about averages and probability. Panic not, read Mark Buchanan's book, 'Small World' and your confidence in a scientific, predictable, orderly world will be restored.
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Small World: Uncovering Nature's Hidden Networks
Small World: Uncovering Nature's Hidden Networks by Mark Buchanan (Hardcover - 13 Jun 2002)
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