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The Essence of Chaos

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  114 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Chaos surrounds us. Seemingly random events -- the flapping of a flag, a storm-driven wave striking the shore, a pinball's path -- often appear to have no order, no rational pattern. Explicating the theory of chaos and the consequences of its principal findings -- that actual, precise rules may govern such apparently random behavior -- has been a major part of the work of ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 1st 1995 by University of Washington Press (first published January 1st 1993)
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Duffy Pratt
I picked this up because I'm interested in studying markets and technical analysis. The Black Swan talks a bit about fractals and the Mandelbrot set. One of the interesting thing about some fractals is that the part resembles the whole. In technical analysis, there are several techniques that apply to charts, and the period of the chart doesn't matter. The same sorts of things work on weekly, daily and hourly charts, etc.... Another part of technical analysis is Elliot Wave theory. Without getti ...more
Jul 18, 2009 DJ rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone with "mathematical maturity" and an interest in chaos
Shelves: popular-physics
At last, a somewhat respectable introduction to chaos for anyone not repulsed by a bit of math. Lorenz may not be as polished a writer as James Gleick, but his knowledge of the field, its mathematics, and its development is unrivaled.

The majority of the book is spent exploring several examples of chaotic systems in detail. The book is not necessarily packed with equations (those are saved for the appendices) but it does require some "mathematical maturity" (essentially, you must be able to read
A Great Primer On Chaos Theory.

Edward Lorenz takes a complicated topic and makes it accessible for all people, regardless of prior knowledge of chaos theory. He provides interesting and easy to follow examples of chaos, fractals and complexity. The illustrations are helpful and he includes a glossary of terms to aid the beginning chaos enthusiasts to quickly become familiar with the terminology. Mr. Lorenz gives a brief history of chaos and explains how it is used in the study of mathematics, me
Jun 13, 2011 May added it
Shelves: mathematics
I do agree with the reviews, but am perhaps a bit more positive. Here's my thoughts.

The Essence of Chaos is a valiant effort to try to describe the concepts behind chaotic and limited-chaotic systems. He chose some interesting examples, but there might have been others that have greater universal appeal. He stops just at Mandlebrott just short of some of the more interesting possibilities of Chaos theory in describing social system. That's unfortunate. But, hey, it's a short book!!

Mar 20, 2008 Leland is currently reading it
i'm reading about 5 books on chaos theory and fractal geometry. i'm doing research on the mandelbrot set for a mathematics seminar. basically, after my resarch, i'll rate each of the books on mathematical insight, helpfulness, and essentially how easy it is to read ( although this is an extremely complicated level of math and sometimes hard to follow even the easiest of texts)
In Essence of Chaos (Lorenz 1993) breaks down Chaos Theory in layman's terms. Excerpt: Appendixes present the first publication of Lorenz's seminal paper "Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wing in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?"; the mathematical equations from which the copious illustrations were derived; and a glossary.
I'm re-reading this on a lark. My youngest son sometimes brings Chaos theory to mind. :) It's a fasinating read. Don't fear the math. You can understand most of it w/out an advanced understanding of mathmatics.
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