Complexification Paperback – 1 Apr 1995
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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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.