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Understanding Complexity

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  386 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Recent years have seen the introduction of concepts from the new and exciting field of complexity science that have captivated the attention of economists, sociologists, engineers, businesspeople, and many others. These include tipping points, the sociological term used to describe moments when unique or rare phenomena become more commonplace; the wisdom of crowds, the arg ...more
60 pages
Published 2009 by The Great Courses
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Otto Lehto
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An outstanding series of lectures. One of the best courses I've ever taken, both in delivery and contents. I might be biased, since I was already extremely interested in complexity. However, it is hard not to be impressed by the structure of the lectures and the enthusiasm of the speaker. Highly recommended.
Joe Kraus
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I picked this one up because Scott Page is an old college friend, and hearing his voice – not so much as a reader as a lecturer – was part of the deep pleasure of listening to it. I remember him back in his student government days with the same mix of seriousness and good humor – putting energy into the work but never taking himself too seriously.

So, biased as I am, I declare his presence, his voice, worth the price of admission.

But there’s much more here as well. I guess I could have provided a
Tarmo Tali
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not to mention interesting topic, this is probably one of the most amazing learning experiences I ever had.
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was FASCINATING!! Highly recommended, but with one big caveat.

The caveat is that this book isn't actually about complexity but rather about complex systems. That might seem like a minor distinction but on the heels of Big History: The Big Bang, Life On Earth, And The Rise Of Humanity I've been wrestling ever since with his contention that the arc of existence is toward ever greater complexity. A comment from someone in the past year or two noting that computer science is really the stu
Sri Shivananda
This is organized as a set of lectures and is a great introduction to complexity science. This is the first time I listened to a lecture set and I like it as an additional learning tool. I was looking to put structure to my thinking on complexity as a concept and this set of lectures helped me immensely.
B.A. Wilson
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
So. This was complicated. I'm not sure if I feel smarter or stupider now. Perhaps a bit of both, so I think that means these lectures were effective.
Vivek Kotecha
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a nice, brief introduction to the subject. Explains many concepts like self organised criticality, agent based modeling, phase transitions, tipping points, emergence etc.. in complex systems. Highly recommend
Kent Winward
Jan 19, 2020 rated it liked it
The Great Courses really probably ought to be re-titled, "Pretty Decent 101 Courses."
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite Great Courses. There's lots in here that's both practical and explanatory. I think tipping points are crucial to understand in many different areas of life, and diversity isn't just about ethics, it's logistically best practice in a complex system.
Jan Hrubý
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: complexity, systems
Really interesting introduction into complex systems and the way of thinking.
Mapping Mount Fuji into real life, agent-based models, crashes, the importance of slack in certain systems, optimization, and a ton of other useful information.
The author/narrator is great as well. I've already looked up his books for further reading.
Kristian Norling
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very good primer!
Joseph L.
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Watch a detailed review along with my favorite ideas and takeaways at:
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This course touches on many different topics to try to explain and illustrate complexity (such as systems, networks, economics, evolution, and games). It's good in providing a framework around complexity. When the rules are known and the outcome is predictable, it's simple (like a game of tic-tac-toe). When the rules are not known and the outcome is unpredictable, it's chaos. Complexity is in the range between those two extremes. The subject of complexity isn't mature enough that it could be exp ...more
Kunal Sen
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A rare and distinctive example of taking something complex and making it completely understandable, without oversimplification. Moreover, it is a topic every curious person should know about. Many of the interesting phenomenon we encounter in real life, be it, consciousness, biology, climate change, or financial markets, can only be understood by seeing them as complex systems. I would strongly recommend this series of lectures to all my friends.
Lis Carey
This is a set of interesting, entertaining, informative lectures on the science of complexity.

Much of the world we live in consists of complex systems, inherently changing, always in motion, or, as the author says, "dancing." They can't be controlled, but if we take the time to understand them, we can influence them. Properly applied, this could help prevent financial crashes, or prevent or contain epidemic. It can help design buildings better designed to enable people to evacuate safely in the
Carl Rannaberg
Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very nice introduction to complexity theory with approachable examples and explanations. It discusses rugged and dancing landscapes, exploration vs exploitation dilemma, game theory, evolution, networks, algorithms, global vs local optimums, robust and fragile systems, emergence etc.

One of the takeaways was that in order to solve complex problems as a leader you need diversity:
* Rotate peoples jobs and offices
* Create parallel work teams
* Bring in outsiders
* Hire people with diverse training
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This author-read audiobook from Great Courses is well presented. Chapters are the right length to present complicated ideas so they can actually be absorbed. Examples are well-chosen to illustrate concepts. He is obviously used to the lecture format. Complexity theory explains much of our modern world and will become increasingly more pertinent as our lives and worlds become more complex. So glad I started with learning about it with this presentation.
Terry Croyle
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I recommend that the subject of complexity be part of the education of lawyers (and the politicians they often become), doctors (and the administrators/businessmen they must become), educators (and the social-experimenters they too often are forced to become), those who are politically left/right/middle, and anyone else who dares to wander a bit from their comfy black or white world view and strive, instead, toward cultural literacy. Nice job by Professor Page !
F. Rafael
Sep 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
An excellent introduction to a very interesting subject, which has a lot of space to further study. I felt that this course could be more aptly named "Introduction and Intuition of Complexity", as I am now out of the course without understanding much of how complexity works, but having a clear idea of what it is and in what scenarios it is usually found.

A good and easy read or listen about a topic that will surely be greatly developed in years to come.
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read_2019
While it does not go deep into the subject, this is an excellent and thoroughly accessible introduction to the science of complexity. Scott Page is a talented and articulate lecturer who makes the subject into a compelling narrative. Highly recommended if you're looking for an audio-based introduction.
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a lecture on Complex systems. It covers all the basics concepts in Complex systems. But what really stood out was how simple examples Scott used to explain the concepts, take them apart and then put them back together. It is an audio version and it will need most of your attention to follow through the entire concept. But it was a blast going through this material.
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The most important thing I've ever heard regarding social phenomena
Succeeds where game theory and especially system design fall short
The rules of complexity make understanding and even predicting the world possible
The social science equivalent of Physics of Life by Adrian Bejan
Jun 27, 2020 added it
I was completely new to the concept of complexity as an academical subject, so this book was an eye opener, and it helped to put into terms some things that wandered at the back of my mind and I had no idea how to call or to express. For that alone it was worth the read. Since, however, I have nothing else to base or trace comparisons, I won't be rating this book any stars.
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I did not know complexity was a subject this rich and with such depth. I found it a little hard to follow at times, but it was one of the best courses I've gone through this year. I will certainly look for other books on the subject to understand more of this fascinating concept.
Douglas O'laughlin
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very good intro to the subject, I think I’m going to become obsessed with this topic, what a great course and an interesting subject.
Saad Ali
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great intro to complexity theory. Will definitely be looking for more on the subject.
Carey Renee
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
File this one under audiobooks for nerds who are studying systems theories in their doctoral program. (That would be me).
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding! Professor Page covers this fascinating topic in a way that is accessible to people who lack an advanced math degree, but do have intellectual curiosity.
Nov 09, 2019 rated it liked it
While the subject matter of these lectures is increasingly important they come off a bit dry as a whole.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very good
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