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Complexification Paperback – 1 Apr 1995

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Paperback, 1 Apr 1995
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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About the Author

John L. Casti is a member of the faculty of the Santa Fe Institute and a professor at the Technical University of Vienna. He divides his time between Santa Fe, New Mexico and Vienna. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8dc680d8) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e06db4c) out of 5 stars Some interesting points, but very uneven. 27 Sept. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
While parts of this book were very thought-provoking, too many details were either left out or skimmed over to allow this book to stand alone. For example, the formula the author supplies to calculate the eccentricity of a simplex couldn't possibly produce the results he gives in the adjoining table; some are infinite, and the formula as he states is specifically designed to avoid such results. If you're really interested in catastophe theory or chaos theory, make sure you read this book where you have other reference materials on hand.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e06c4d4) out of 5 stars Does not promote understanding 8 Nov. 2013
By Matthew Gerke - Published on
Format: Paperback
It's hard to imagine who is the intended audience of this book. He skips over most of the math, but he still tells the reader mathematical conclusions. Things like "From this it can be shown that [some coefficient he doesn't really explain] is generally strongly positive in the presence of chaos." I'm just not sure how useful it is to me to tell me that a test for chaos exists but not explain to me, even conceptually, what the test does or why it works. I think there's some smart stuff in there, but it's too well hidden to be useful. The only reason I got as far as I did was because I was already familiar with a lot of the examples from Chaos: Making a New Science. The examples in Complexification were almost impossible to follow without prior familiarity with the models.
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e06dce4) out of 5 stars Good intro to some complex ideas 29 April 2002
By S. A. Corning - Published on
Format: Paperback
I found this to be an easy to read introduction to current hot topics in science and math. Catastrophe theory, Complexity, Chaos, and emergence. There is also an excellent listing of resources with commentary in the back of the book, called, "to dig deeper". I am an engineer with an MBA, so found a number of the examples very interesting. For the curious, (or less technically adept), this is very well written. Mr. Casti goes quickly from theory to "real world" examples. His illustrations are also very helpful to understanding the basic principles. Most books on complexity contain way too much math for the average reader, or are very simplistic, "Ubiquity" as an example. I think you will find a nice balance here.
21 of 35 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8fbef390) out of 5 stars Crap. Total crap. 10 Jan. 2001
By Chris Redford - Published on
Format: Paperback
Forgive me for the inarticulate title, but that about sums it up. In this book, John Casti uses misleading chapter titles and open-ended explanations to new scientific theories to explain what he thinks should be the foundation of the "science of surprise".
Now, don't get me wrong: open-ended material is not always a bad thing. Especially with new theories on chaos and related subjects that have not yet been given a strong leg to stand on; it is great to give readers a little insight so they can come up with some of their own conclusions. But there is a difference between presenting an interesting question then suggestion some well-thoughtout solutions and presenting an interesting question and jotting down a quick answer by using unproven assumptions.
One example of this is when he explains the irrationality of common sense and bases almost his entire argument on the fact that many people will take $100 dollars today instead of $120 dollars next week and $1,300,000 in a year instead of $100 today. If you read that whole chapter, you will find little more than this explaining why common sense is a faulty way of thinking other than an accident made by an unattentive engineer. Granted, I agree (for my own reasons), but these two situations are not a very good explanation for why common sense in decision making is unwise.
And from what I read and skimmed through, basing solutions off of unstable assumptions and unique situations seems to be what Casti is best at. He uses many words to explain some of the simplest theories in this scientific genre and too few words for the most complex. His thoughts hold little order and several times chapters and paragraphs don't even finish the thoughts that he starts.
I am giving it two stars because eventually he does correctly rattle off some of the basic theories, and he includes a couple of interesting situations and questions.
If you want a good read from the area of unpredictable science, try Chaos : Making a New Science by James Gleick.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8dcd5e94) out of 5 stars Complexification 15 Feb. 2013
By Michael B. Loader - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is illuminating. It sheds light on forces and trends which are not always apparent. It shows a light on the hidden realities.
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