Simplexity: The Simple Rules of a Complex World

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9780719568114: Simplexity: The Simple Rules of a Complex World

"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.

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About the Author:

Jeffrey Kluger is a senior editor and writer for Time magazine. With astronaut Jim Lovell, he wrote Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13, on which the 1995 movie Apollo 13 was based. His other books include the critically acclaimed Splendid Solution: Jonas Salk and the Conquest of Polio. Kluger lives in New York City with his wife and daughters.

From Publishers Weekly:

Frustrated by the traffic on narrow bridges? Stunned by the number of buttons on a remote control? Saddened by the lack of basic medical care in the developing world? Kluger (Splendid Solutions) makes the modern world comprehensible, analyzing social and technological systems to reveal that things that seem complicated can be preposterously simple; things that seem simple can be dizzyingly complex. He compares cells to cities to stock markets, renders quarks and fractals accessible and draws parallels between Wal-Mart and AIDS clinics in Tanzania. Although Kluger is prone to hyperbole, his astonishing discoveries require no exaggeration: the book describes how even the most technologically advanced manufacturing plant is infinitely simpler than a humble houseplant with its microhydraulics and fine-tuned metabolism and dense schematic of nucleic acids—and baseball fans will be dismayed to discover that football is, in fact, the more complex of the two games: the possible number of starting configurations before the play even begins is... 31.4 billion. Kluger's findings are likely to incite controversy, confirming his contention that explaining simplicity and complexity is never as straightforward as it seems. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Jeffrey Kluger
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Jeffrey Kluger
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