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Introducing Chaos: A Graphic Guide Paperback – 4 Sep 2008

3.2 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books Ltd; New Ed edition (4 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848310137
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848310131
  • Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 1.3 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 243,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"'A beautifully succinct primer... highly recommended' Time Out"

About the Author

Ziauddin Sardar is a hugely renowned writer, broadcaster, journalist and critic. 'Britain's own Muslim polymath' (Independent) has become one of the UK's leading intellectuals and writes on a huge variety of subjects in numerous newspapers and magazines throughout the world. He is also Visiting Professor of Postcolonial Studies at the City University, London.


Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought this might serve as a refresher to Chaos as it's some years since I learnt about it. I found it merely churned out unrelated facts, and what explanations were given were confusing at best. The diagrams are childish, pointless and often totally unrelated to the text. There are several books about Chaos on the market and I'd be surprised if they're not all so much better than this one.
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Format: Paperback
"Amateur Biblical scholar Immanuel Velikovsky was dismissed by astronomers as a complete crank". Then in the next frame "Now with chaos theory scientists can escape from ignorance of their ignorance"

"The cultural equivalent of attractors would be chiefs, tribes, states and what gives us identity" (accompanied by a picture of the Pope and a nice little butterfly)

"Architect Bruce Goff was amongst the first to use strange attractors to organise a force-field of movement inside some of his houses"

I love this one -"Zaha Hadid used fractal geometry to create a building that used the language of planes to enfold difference in continuity". Unfortunately this "conception was never realised" being too (wait for it) "POSTMODERN"

The most generous summing up I could give this book would be "boldly meaningless"; "wrong" would however probably be more accurate.
If you would like to read something of chaos theory without paradigm shifts, postmodernism and pictures of skinny women with cauliflowers growing out of their heads then please, please, please buy another book.
"Deep Simplicity" by John Gribbin is quite a good one.
Some of the "Introducing" series are very good. This one's a stinker.
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My personal exploration of the ideas of improvement and change have led along a path in which quantum physics, uncertainty, chaos and complexity have almost mysteriously become topics of growing relevance. It is fitting then that this book introduced me to one of the features of chaos, the strange attractor, a mechanism that draws a system's behaviour towards particular ways of operating.

Books in this series can be read in a day. They use a mix of text and cartoon style graphics to convey the key ingredients of a subject in a concise and straightforward way. The challenge of describing chaos theory is not a trivial one. Though it may require a couple of re-reads, the book does a pretty impressive job of introducing the key figures in the development of chaos theory, its key concepts and how chaos affects our lives.

I was intrigued for example to find Ray Bradbury Zen in the Art of Writingas the author of `A Sound of Thunder' a short story which predates the development of chaos theory.
At the heart of chaos is that complex systems, which meet a small number of criteria, will produce outcomes that are deterministic, but not predictable. This seems a paradox, and as Niels Bohr said
"How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress."

What is startling is that systems don't have to be very complex to be classed as complex, and the criteria, such as non-linear feedback can be found in most systems. The result is that chaos is all around us. What is intriguing is that science, and our desire to understand has led us to simplify our models of the world in such a way that we've created an alternate chaos free world.
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Format: Paperback
The mixture of collage with black and white print make for striking images. The text is clear and informative, providing a good introduction to a counter-intuative but fascinating area of science.
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I found this book very dull and not informative at all. It did however acquaint one with the basic vocabulary used in Chaos theory, so I imagine it could be of use to some people
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I enjoyed reading it...the cartoons helped...i,m still not sure how it can be applied to anything.
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