Bursts: The Hidden Patterns Behind Everything We Do, from Your Email to Bloody Crusades

Overview

The bestselling author of Linked returns with a ground breaking new theory that will enthrall fans of The Tipping Point

Can we scientifically predict our future? It's a mystery that has nagged scientists for perhaps thousand of years. Now Albert-L?szl? Barab?si-the award-winning author of the sleeper hit Linked- explains how the digital age has yielded a massive, previously unavailable data set that proves the daily pattern of human activity isn't random, it's "bursty." We work ...

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Bursts: The Hidden Patterns Behind Everything We Do, from Your E-mail to Bloody Crusades

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Overview

The bestselling author of Linked returns with a ground breaking new theory that will enthrall fans of The Tipping Point

Can we scientifically predict our future? It's a mystery that has nagged scientists for perhaps thousand of years. Now Albert-László Barabási-the award-winning author of the sleeper hit Linked- explains how the digital age has yielded a massive, previously unavailable data set that proves the daily pattern of human activity isn't random, it's "bursty." We work and fight and play in short flourishes of activity followed by next to nothing.

Compellingly illustrated with the account of a bloody medieval crusade in sixteenth-century Transylvania and the modern tale of a contemporary artist hunted by the FBI, Bursts reveals that we are far more predictable than we like to think.

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What People Are Saying

Clay Shirky
In Linked, Barabási showed us how complex networks unfold in space. In Bursts, he shows us how they unfold in time. Your life may look random to you, but everything from your visits to a web page to your visits to the doctor are predictable, and happen in bursts. (Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody)
Nassim Taleb
Barabási is one of the few people in the world who understand the deep structure of empirical reality. (Nassim Taleb, author of The Black Swan)
Nicholas A. Christakis
Albert-László Barabási, famous for his work on networks, now brings a physicist's penetrating eye to a sweeping range of human activities, from migration to web browsing, from wars to billionaires, from illnesses to letter writing, from the Department of Homeland Security to the Conclave of Cardinals. Barabási shows how, when we closely observe human behavior, a pattern of bursts appears in what has long seemed a random mess. These bursts are both mathematically predictable and beautiful. What a joy it is to read him. You feel like you have emerged from the water with your back to the sun, invigorated, to see a new vista that, while it had always been there, you had just never seen. (Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., Harvard University, coauthor of Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives)
Ogi Ogas
Bursts is a rich, rewarding read that illuminates a cutting-edge topic: the patterns of human mobility in an era of total surveillance. Once again, Barabásí reveals the mathematical code concealed within the apparent chaos of modern life. Central to Bursts is the notion that human behavior is not random, but precisely follows the shape of a power law, resulting in a rare number of high-mobility outliers with fascinating implications for street traffic, cellular communications, and homeland security.

The narrative structure of Barabási's provocative book mimics the very pattern of bursts, as abrupt and seemingly random jumps through the lives of a post-modern sculptor, a medieval Hungarian revolutionist, and Albert Einstein eventually converge on a single harmonious theme: that our actions are governed by a deeper meaning that can only be deciphered through the brave lens of mathematics. (Ogi Ogas, Ph.D., and Sai Gaddam, Ph.D., Boston University)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452297180
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/31/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 690,462
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Albert-László Barabási is a pioneer of real-world network theory and author of the bestseller, Linked: How Everything is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means for Business, Science, and Everyday Life. At 32, he was the youngest professor to be named the Emil T. Hofmann Professor of Physics at the University of Notre Dame and has won numerous awards for his work, including the FEBS Anniversary Prize for Systems Biology and the John von Neumann Medal for outstanding achievements. He currently lives in Boston and is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Network Science at Northeastern University.

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Table of Contents

1 The Best Bodyguard in the Business 1

2 A Pope Is Elected in Rome 15

3 The Mystery of Random Motion 21

4 Duel in Belgrade 37

5 The Future Is Not Yet Searchable 43

6 Bloody Prophecy 55

7 Prediction or Prophecy 61

8 A Crusade at Last 71

9 Violence, Random and Otherwise 77

10 An Unforeseen Massacre 91

11 Deadly Quarrels and the Power Laws 97

12 The Nagylak Battle 109

13 The Origin of Bursts 117

14 Accidents Don't Happen to Crucifixes 129

15 The Man Who Taught Himself to Swim by Reading 133

16 An Investigation 147

17 Trailing the Albatross 155

18 "Villain!" 165

19 The Patterns of Human Mobility 171

20 Revolution Now 183

21 Predictably Unpredictable 191

22 A Diversion in Transylvania 207

23 The Truth about LifeLinear 213

24 Szekler Against Szekler 225

25 Feeling Sick Is Not a Priority 229

26 The Final Battles 243

27 The Third Ear 251

28 Flesh and Blood 263

Notes 271

Illustrations 297

Acknowledgments 299

Index 303

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