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Worlds Hidden in Plain Sight: The Evolving Idea of Complexity at the Santa Fe Institute, 1984–2019

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  53 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Over the last three decades, the Santa Fe Institute and its network of researchers have been pursuing a revolution in science.

Ignoring the boundaries of disciplines and schools and searching for novel fundamental ideas, theories, and practices, this international community integrates the full range of scientific inquiries that will help us to understand and survive on a
Paperback, 396 pages
Published April 27th 2019 by Santa Fe Institute Press
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Collin Lysford
Jun 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm a huge fan of complexity science and the Santa Fe Institute specifically, so this book was an easy pickup for me. It's a broad retrospective divided into three main parts: "Mavericks" (1984 - 1999), "Unifiers" (2000-2014), and "Terraformers" (2015+). However, the very thing that makes complexity science so exciting right now - the fact that it's a white-hot, fast-evolved field - sort of counts against it with the Mavericks section, which is overwhelmingly made up of tentative first steps tha ...more
Explaining the complexity of evolution in biological and non-biological systems

This is an edited book that discusses the evolutionary science of complex systems that includes diverse subjects as, matter (non-life) to life transitions, and evolution, which includes biological evolution, and evolution of, economics and technologies, educational system, rural and urban structures, political structures, and banking systems. There are 37 chapters from various teams active in complex science research
Taylor Pearson
Apr 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: complexity, science
On the topic of complexity, I recently finished World Hidden in Plain Sight, a collection of essays and papers on complexity.

I would give certain essays in the is book two or three stars and others four or five. As someone who has read a lot on the topic, I still found quite a few new insights and a deeper exploration of concepts like ergodicity.

I would highly recommend about half of this book, specifically, chapters: 1,6,8, and 9-19 are fantastic. Many of the early chapters struggle to articula
May 14, 2020 marked it as to-read
recommendation: [Transcript of Episode 10 - David Krakauer - The Jim Rutt Show]( ...more
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lots of little readable packages of ideas. Yum.

The essays (although they read more like short talks) on complexity cover areas like biology, markets and society. Some I just skimmed with interest ("Why people become terrorists", "Beehives and voting booths") and some I want to follow up in more detail.
Bhaskar Kumawat
Mar 13, 2020 rated it liked it
The book says a lot with a little payoff in terms of understanding, maybe because of the broad areas it delves into. However, I did enjoy a couple of the essays to the point of noting them down for further review, which was probably the idea behind this all along. (And these are a goldmine of good references to read further)

Would not recommend if you're looking for something that looks at complexity in a more formal fashion. Would recommend if you're already working on something related and are
Peter Gelfan
Aug 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Complexity science has been around in some of its nascent forms for over a century, but it picked up a lot of speed in the last thirty-odd years. In essence, it’s an attempt to understand and learn to deal with complex interactions that cannot be boiled down to reductionist determinism, such as weather forecasting, economics, ecology, and human psychology. When enough things are mutually influencing one another, you can’t fully understand the system or predict its behavior by finding out everyth ...more
I loved a lot of this. My felt rating was at a 4 moving to 5 until I hit the last third, which is a collection of many 6-page articles originally published in Christian Science Monitor. With a few exceptions, these pieces were oversimplified or over-condensed to the point where, despite being enjoyable, they almost approached pseudo-science in their tone (the effort to make complexity "digestible" is probably a worthy goal, but it cannot avoid being somewhat oxymoronic). But then I got to the la ...more
Zin Khant Aung
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lovely book summarising research and elegant ideas over the last three decades.
It’s full of wonderful insights such as ‘nearly every assumption listed in the engineering axioms is violated by complex systems. So, what leads us to believe that we can use the insights of classical engineering to predict and control these systems?’

But it does have awful unreadable sentences such as ‘we begin the search for cognitively principled effective theories using what we know about component cognition to inf
Adj Prof Clayton Williams
An enjoyable overview

This isn't an academic work. It provides an overview of some of the thinking from the SFI.

Predictably, some of it is groundbreaking and offers new paradigms in the authentically Khunian sense, while others are a little more pedestrian.

A fun read so in all.
Glen J. Bertini
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Essays of unequal value

A large collection of essays by various authors is sure to include some stories among the pearls. Some pearls were riveting and yielded dozens of highlighted passages. You have to be willing to sort through the stories. In the end I found what I was looking for.
Joni Baboci
A great review of the exciting work on nonlinear dynamic systems conducted at the Santa Fe Institute in the past decades. The book is extremely accessible with the third section, especially written for a general audience.
Morgan Plume
Aug 24, 2020 rated it did not like it
Most of the scientists Jeffrey Epstein donated money to were associated with the Santa Fe Institute.

It's not complex, they are pervs and the science part of the institute is basically a cover for the rape part of the institute.

It's all a game to them, it's in their culture.
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A collection of essential writing from an essential institution.
Denis Romanovsky
Unexpectedly great list of essays on complexity science. Many fresh ideas from different areas. These guys from Sante Fe Institute know their stuff. The future is in complexity science - no doubt!
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