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The Perfect Swarm: The Science of Complexity in Everyday Lifeby Len Fisher
Synopses & Reviews
One of the greatest discoveries of recent times is that the complex patterns we find in life are often produced when all of the individuals in a group follow the same simple rule. This process of self-organization” reveals itself in the inanimate worlds of crystals and seashells, but as Len Fisher shows, it is also evident in living organisms, from fish to ants to human beings. The coordinated movements of fish in shoals, for example, arise from the simple rule: Follow the fish in front.” Traffic flow arises from simple rules: Keep your distance” and Keep to the right.”
Now, in his new book, Fisher shows how we can manage our complex social lives in an ever more chaotic world. His investigation encompasses topics ranging from swarm intelligence” to the science of parties and the best ways to start a fad. Finally, Fisher sheds light on the beauty and utility of complexity theory. An entertaining journey into the science of everyday life, The Perfect Swarm will delight anyone who wants to understand the complex situations in which we so often find ourselves.
Book News Annotation:
Drawing inferences from animal 'swarm intelligence' to understand human behavior (e.g., follow the first fish becomes stay to the right in a crowd), the PhD-holding author of popular science books presents interesting examples of decision-making in groups and networks. Complexity theory helps explain the rules behind collective adaptability/fads. Photos illustrate the principle of self-organization. Fisher migrates between England and Australia. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The IgNobel Prize-winner and author of Rock, Paper, Scissors applies science-based solutions to seemingly complex problems in life.
The process of "self-organization" reveals itself in the inanimate worlds of crystals and seashells, but, as Len Fisher shows, it is also evident in living organisms, from fish to ants to human beings. Understanding the "swarm intelligence" inherent in groups can help us do everything from throw a better party to start a fad to make our interactions with others more powerful. Humorous and enlightening, The Perfect Swarm demonstrates how complexity arises from nature's simple rules and how we can use their awesome power to untangle the frustrating complexities of life in our ever more chaotic world.
About the Author
Len Fisher, Ph.D., is author of Rock, Paper, Scissors; Weighing the Soul; and How to Dunk a Doughnut, which was named Best Popular Science Book of the Year by the American Institute of Physics. He lives in Wiltshire, England, and Blackheath, Australia.
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