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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for policy makers of any hue in the public sector, 25 April 2014
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This review is from: Positive Linking: How Networks Can Revolutionise the World (Kindle Edition)
This is a book which shines a robust, academic yet accessible spotlight on a force that has been at work in human affairs for millenia, but which is still only barely understood - networks. A reader of this review, or indeed of the blurb for the book itself, may scoff at such statements as amounting to little more than repeating what should be blindingly obvious to any educated reader. Unfortunately, in scoffing, such people may be exposing their own ignorance of the effects of networks, which are real and ever present, and their potential benefits for better, but not perfect, policy development and implementation. Ormerod grounds his thesis in what he identifies as a key flaw of economic thinking as it has evolved over the last century or so - that there is an optimum model of human behaviour, and therefore for policy development, which can be developed by those in a position of authority and thereafter implemented. He makes a very convincing case that such a viewpoint simply does not acknowledge the reality of life as lived by people. He clearly has little time for the underpinnings of modern economic thinking, arguing that it needs to embrace a more holistic view of society. He is careful to point out that he is not arguing for no government, but for more thoughtful government, predicated on a greater sense of distributed leadership throughout society. He is also very honest in describing how the literature on network effects is still very much in its infancy, and that much more research and learning is required. He hints that some of the deeper mysteries of network effects may never be discovered, due largely to the paradox of human nature, which is so universal and yet so unique to each individual. When you add to the equation the complex dynamics of human relationships, it highlights the achievement of the author in making such a complex, challenging and even provocative topic so accessible and so fascinating. Can't wait to read more!
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