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Time magazine writer Kluger (Splendid Solution) here introduces us to the concept of simplexity-the notion that seemingly complex things can be more simple than they appear and that, alternately, seemingly simple things can be more complex than they appear. Like Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point, he uses a single idea to offer readers a peek inside a wide variety of familiar occurrences, taking us on a fascinating journey. Kluger introduces readers to the relatively new field of complexity science, drawing examples from current projects of the Santa Fe Institute, the interdisciplinary scientific research center founded by Nobel laureate Murray Gell-Mann. Following the work of this and other scientists, he explains the complexity and simplicity of phenomena such as why it takes so long for a group of people to leave a burning building, why we're more likely to worry about things that probably won't kill us than about the things that probably will, and why the operating systems in our cell phones are so difficult to master. Though the chapters are only loosely held together, this book is sure to appeal to a broad audience. Recommended for public libraries.
—Elizabeth L. Winter