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Scale: The Universal Laws of Life and Death in Organisms, Cities and Companies Paperback – 8 Mar 2018

3.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (3 May 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780225598
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780225593
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 3.6 x 12.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

'The sort of big-ideas book that comes along only every few years . . . This is a book full of thrilling ideas' (Sunday Times)

'Magisterial . . . you reach the end of this profound, revealing book rewarded. West shows how scientific method helps to peel back the hidden reality of our world. The concepts of physics dominated the last century. It is the concepts of biology - of networks, evolution and feedback dynamics - that are going to dominate the next' (Matthew Syed The Times)

'Quite dazzling . . . The book proceeds by introducing one mathematical concept in each chapter (power laws, fractals and so on), and explaining it vividly through numerous examples drawn from biology, history, urban planning, and many other fields . . . written with great joy and a disarming humility' (Steven Poole The Spectator)

'An absolutely riveting read. Like the best detective story, West lays out the amazing challenge of understanding why animals, cities and companies all scale so uniformly and then skilfully lets us into the secrets that his detective work has uncovered. This book captures the spirit of science in the twenty-first century, revealing the deep connections not just across physics and biology but society and life. The book is a perfect balance between the big scientific story and West's own personal narrative. We accompany the author on his quest to face up to his own mortality while at the same time being exposed to the theoretical discoveries that West has pioneered in his groundbreaking work' (Marcus du Sautoy, Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University and author of The Great Unknown )

'This is an important and original book, of immense scope. Geoffrey West is a polymath, whose insights range over physics, biology and the social sciences. He shows that the sizes, shapes and lifetimes of living things - despite their amazing diversity - display surprising correlations and patterns, and that these follow from basic physical principles. He then discovers, more surprisingly, the emergence of similar 'scaling laws' in human societies - in our cities, companies and social networks. This fascinating book deserves a very wide readership' (Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal)

'Scaling is the most important yet most hidden and rarely discussed attribute -- without understanding it one cannot possibly understand the world. This book will expand your thinking from three dimensions to four. Get two copies, just in case you lose one' (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)

'I can think of no more exciting thinker in the world today than Geoffrey West. By bringing a physicist's razor-sharp mind to wonderfully surprising questions - "Why Aren't There Mammals the Size of Tiny Ants?" or "Are Cities and Companies Just Very Large Organisms?" - West forces us to see everything anew, from our own bodies to the mega-cities our species increasingly chooses to inhabit. Scale is a firework display of popular science' (Niall Ferguson)

'Trees, brains, hallucinogenics and even imaginary monsters are considered in this joyous, mind-boggling study of scientific methods' (Telegraph, Top 50 Best Books of 2017)

'An enchanting intellectual odyssey . . . also a satisfying personal and professional memoir of a distinguished scientist whose life's work came to be preoccupied with finding ways to break down traditional boundaries between disciplines to solve the long-term global challenges of sustainability . . . Mr West manages to deliver a lot of theory and history accessibly and entertainingly . . . Provocative and fascinating' (New York Times)

'It's rare in the history of science that someone has a big, bold, beautiful, stunningly simple new idea that also turns out to be right. Geoffrey West had one. And Scale is its story' (Steven Strogatz, Professor of Mathematics, Cornell University and author of The Joy of X )

Book Description

A startlingly original 'theory of everything' that invites us to rethink our understanding of the connections between human civilization and the laws of nature.

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17 customer reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

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