Simplexity: Why Simple Things Become Complex (and How Complex Things Can Be Made Simple)

Simplexity: Why Simple Things Become Complex (and How Complex Things Can Be Made Simple)

by Jeffrey Kluger
     
 

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ISBN-10: 1401303013

ISBN-13: 9781401303013

Pub. Date: 06/03/2008

Publisher: Hachette Books

"Using real world examples, such as traffic flow, politics and baby linguistics, the author makes the theories of 'simplexity' accessible to the layperson...Kluger makes complex science seem simple."
--Kirkus

"Kluger makes the modern world comprehensible...his astonishing discoveries require no exaggeration..[his] findings are likely to incite

Overview

"Using real world examples, such as traffic flow, politics and baby linguistics, the author makes the theories of 'simplexity' accessible to the layperson...Kluger makes complex science seem simple."
--Kirkus

"Kluger makes the modern world comprehensible...his astonishing discoveries require no exaggeration..[his] findings are likely to incite controversy, confirming his contention that explaining simplicity and complexity is never as straightforward as it seems."
--Publishers Weekly

"Simplexity...is a study of human behavior, and the way we perceive things and events, and how our perception frequently causes us to make wrong assumptions and to perceive simplicity (or complexity) where it does not exist, The book is sure to be a deserved hit among the ever-growing Freakonomics crowd."
-Booklist

Why are the instruction manuals for cell phones incomprehensible Why is a truck driver's job as hard as a CEO's How can 10 percent of every medical dollar cure 90 percent of the world's disease Why do bad teams win so many games

Complexity, as any scientist will tell you, is a slippery idea. Things that seem complicated can be astoundingly simple; things that seem simple can be dizzyingly complex. A houseplant may be more intricate than a manufacturing plant. A colony of garden ants may be more complicated than a community of people. A sentence may be richer than a book, a couplet more complicated than a song.

These and other paradoxes are driving a whole new science--simplexity--that is redefining how we look at the world and using that new view to improve our lives in fields as diverse as economics, biology, cosmology, chemistry, psychology, politics, child development, the arts, and more. Seen through the lens of this surprising new science, the world becomes a delicate place filled with predictable patterns--patterns we often fail to see as we're time and again fooled by our instincts, by our fear, by the size of things, and even by their beauty.

In Simplexity, Time senior writer Jeffrey Kluger shows how a drinking straw can save thousands of lives; how a million cars can be on the streets but just a few hundred of them can lead to gridlock; how investors behave like atoms; how arithmetic governs abstract art and physics drives jazz; why swatting a TV indeed makes it work better. As simplexity moves from the research lab into popular consciousness it will challenge our models for modern living. Jeffrey Kluger adeptly translates newly evolving theory into a delightful theory of everything that will have you rethinking the rules of business, family, art--your world.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781401303013
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
06/03/2008
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.72(w) x 8.48(h) x 1.04(d)
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

Table of Contents

Contents Prologue....................18
CHAPTER ONE Why is the stock market so hard to predict? Confused by Everyone Else....................47
CHAPTER TWO Why is it so hard to leave a burning building or an endangered city? Confused by Instincts....................77
CHAPTER THREE How does a single bullet start a world war? Confused by Social Structure....................113
CHAPTER FOUR Why do the jobs that require the greatest skills often pay the least? Why do companies with the least to sell often earn the most? Confused by Payoffs....................137
CHAPTER FIVE Why do people, mice, and worlds die when they do? Confused by Scale....................159
CHAPTER SIX Why do bad teams win so many games and good teams lose so many? Confused by Objective....................189
CHAPTER SEVEN Why do we always worry about the wrong things? Confused by Fear....................210
CHAPTER EIGHT Why is a baby the best linguist in any room? Confused by Silence....................232
CHAPTER NINE Why are your cell phone and camera so absurdly complicated? Confused by Flexibility....................255
CHAPTER TEN Why are only 10 percent of the world's medical resources used to treat 90 percent of its ills? Confused by False Targets....................282
CHAPTER ELEVEN Why does complexity science fall flat in the arts? Confused by Loveliness....................303
Epilogue....................309
Author's Notes....................313
Index

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