Here's a book I can't help but recommend, and highly. Linked: The New Science of Networks by Transylvanian physicist Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, vividly explains how everything from websites to global financial meltdowns are connected. The emergence of of the web as an organizing principle in our lives gives the book particular resonance right now. But it would be a terrific read even if we weren't becoming ever more interrelated. Barabasi's book provides an engaging look at how scientists today limn the dynamics of networks ranging from electrical power grids to terrorist organizations to the path of a virus among individuals. Yet whereas Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point, which covers similar turf, charms the reader with anecdotes, Barabasi keeps you reading with his deep understanding of the science and his expansive coverage of networks throughout history in a range of settings. He provides the science behind ideas like Six Degrees of Separation, the 80/20 rule, and how the rich get richer. His book calls to mind Complexity by Mitchell Waldrop, another scientific work that had no business being so compelling. And yes, I did say Transylvanian physicist.

Posted by tom at May 14, 2002 12:26 AM
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