A Crude Look at the Whole: The Science of Complex Systems in Business, Life, and Society
ISBN: 0465055699
EAN13: 9780465055692
Language: English
Publication Date: Jan 5, 2016
Pages: 272
Dimensions: 1.11" H x 9.13" L x 6.57" W
Weight: 1.58 lbs.
Format: Hardcover
Publisher:
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Book Overview

A top expert explains why a social and economic understanding of complex systems will help society to anticipate and confront our biggest challenges

Imagine trying to understand a stained glass window by breaking it into pieces and examining it one shard at a time. While you could probably learn a lot about each piece, you would have no idea about what the entire picture looks like. This is reductionism -- the idea that to understand the world we only need to study its pieces -- and it is how most social scientists approach their work.

In A Crude Look at the Whole, social scientist and economist John H. Miller shows why we need to start looking at whole pictures. For one thing, whether we are talking about stock markets, computer networks, or biological organisms, individual parts only make sense when we remember that they are part of larger wholes. And perhaps more importantly, those wholes can take on behaviors that are strikingly different from that of their pieces.

Miller, a leading expert in the computational study of complex adaptive systems, reveals astounding global patterns linking the organization of otherwise radically different structures: It might seem crude, but a beehive's temperature control system can help predict market fluctuations and a mammal's heartbeat can help us understand the heartbeat of a city and adapt urban planning Read More chevron_right

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