Sarah Sammis's Reviews > Simplexity: Why Simple Things Become Complex

Simplexity by Jeffrey Kluger
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's review
Jun 13, 2008

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bookshelves: review-copy, released
Read in September, 2008

Simplexity by Time magazine senior writer Jeffrey Kluger tries to explain eleven chapters the complexities of the world and how they can be understood in simple terms. Most of the chapters deal with human systems: the stock market, evacuations during emergencies, social structures, business, sports, technology and the arts.

Kluger's book is a potpourri of topics with enough information to lead to further reading if one is interested. He thankfully keeps himself out of the picture making the book about the topic and thankfully not about his struggle to write the book. Having a book focus on the topic and hand was refreshing after the disappointing Geography of Bliss.

Although my over all impression of the book is positive, I found some of the chapters mind numbingly dull. The opening chapter on the stock market had me preparing to write a negative review. The ending chapter on complexity science in the arts also left me yawning. My favorite chapters came in the last half of the book: the one on linguistics and language acquisition was by far the most interesting one. Another fascinating chapter is the one on the business of technology and how it drives the complexity of product designs.

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