Enikő's Reviews > Bursts: The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do

Bursts by Albert-László Barabási
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's review
Nov 16, 2011

liked it
Read from November 16 to 17, 2011

I liked this book a lot, but not for the reasons I was expecting. I thought I wanted to read it so I could learn something. (Who doesn't want to be smarter?) But in the end, I kept with it because it was so gosh-darn entertaining.

There are several things going for this book. One is that the author is very good at writing. He has an engaging style that makes reading his book FUN. It was great when out of the blue he would illustrate what he was trying to explain with a funny yet clearly relevant example. ("You must read fast, as this chapter may soon become irrelevant...") Later, while explaining redundancy, he wrote a footnote saying, "English has 50 percent redundancy, which means that about hlf of th ltrs o ths txt ca be dletd and w cold stll dcipr is mnig." :D

Another thing that I personally liked about this book is that the author is Hungarian, like myself. Although he lives and works in the United States, he has family in Transylvania and speaks fluent Hungarian. Luckily for me, he is also familiar with Hungary's history (which I, to my embarrassment, am not.) His familiarity with Hungarian history resulted in chapters that described his theory of bursts alternating with chapters that illustrated what he had just explained by using Hungarian history as an example. In this way, I learned about György Székely and, as I stated at the beginning, I was thoroughly entertained. Barabàsi not only recounted Székely's story, but he made it dramatic, suspenseful and incredibly real.

The bursts theory seems to me to make sense and yet it is so simple. Once it was explained, I understood it and just leaned back to enjoy the ride. Barabàsi shared many anecdotes and introduced some very interesting people and events along the way.

I would recommend this book. It is a quick and interesting read.

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