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Simplexity: Why Simple Things Become Complex (and How Complex Things Can Be Made Simple) (Anglais) Broché – 16 juin 2009

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

Kluger makes the modern world comprehensible...[his] findings are likely to incite controversy, confirming his contention that explaining simplicity and complexity is never as straightforward as it seems.—Publishers Weekly

Simplexity...is a study of human behavior, and the way we perceive things and events, and how our perception frequently causes us to make wrong assumptions and to perceive simplicity (or complexity) where it does not exist. The book is sure to be a deserved hit among the ever-growing Freakonomics crowd."—Booklist

"A fascinating journey."—Library Journal

Biographie de l'auteur

Jeffrey Kluger joined TIME Magazine in 1996, mainly writing science stories, and was named a senior writer in 1998. With astronaut Jim Lovell, he wrote Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13, on which the 1995 movie Apollo 13 movie was based. He's written several other books, most recently Splendid Solution, which is about Jonas Salk and the polio vaccine. Mr. Kluger and two other colleagues won the 2002 Overseas Press Club of America's Whitman Bassow Award for their "Global Warming" cover package (April 9, 2001), garnering first place for the best reporting in any medium on international environmental issues. Before joining TIME, Mr. Kluger was a staff writer for Discover Magazine and a writer and editor for the New York Times Business World Magazine, Family Circle, and Science Digest.

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Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 336 pages
  • Editeur : Hachette Books; Édition : Reprint (16 juin 2009)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 1401309933
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401309930
  • Dimensions du produit: 13,3 x 2,2 x 20,3 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 199.294 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Philippe Poux le 23 juillet 2011
Format: Broché
Un début sur les chapeaux de roues ...

Beaucoup de références, d'exemples concrets, de points étonnants, et des pages qui font réflechir. Sociologie et psychologie, tous les axes sont mis en oeuvre pour étudier la science des choses complexes, et voir comment elles s'expliquent parfois simplement ...

Un livre détonnant qui mérite d'exister !
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Amazon.com: 38 commentaires
24 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Starts with a Bang 28 juillet 2008
Par Ken Palmer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This book starts with a bang, and contains occasional flashes of brilliancy. The cover artwork, title, and premise are very appealing. Unfortunately this book doesn't live up to it's parenthetical subtitle of "how complex things can be made simple."

I picked this up at an airport for a good cross-country airplane read. Initially I was very happy with this purchase.

The first two chapters are very interesting, and propose some brilliant insights into human behavior. These insights, like all of the interesting facts in this book, are disappointingly unsupported by any bibliography or source references. Hopefully the publisher will consider adding a bibliography when the edition goes into paperback.

This book fizzles out around chapter 4. There are a few interesting tidbits of information in the sports-centric 6th chapter. But it never seems to pick up the momentum created in the first two chapters.

As a senior software developer I was keenly interested in reading chapter 9, which is technology centered. It's titled "Why are your cell phone and camera so absurdly complicated? Confused by Flexibility." This is where I expected Mr. Kluger to shine on the book's subtitle "How Complex Things Can Be Made Simple." In that respect this chapter was a complete let-down.

The chapter provides an overview of the development of TVs, cell phones, and software, with dips into washing machines and other gadgets. Ultimately it boils down to a list of complaints about the complexity in technology, and a suggestion that simplification will eventually come as a result of market forces.

My expectation was that some insights would be offered on HOW to make the technology simpler. Jakob Nielsen and others have done remarkable work in this arena, though we are still only scratching the surface of making user interfaces "more intuitive." It seems that the intuitive user interface is the mystical gold standard that no-one can seem to get right. But I digress...

Read chapters 1, 2, and 6 for the meat of this book. Then move on to another book in your summer reading list.
20 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Thought provoking paradoxes 22 juin 2008
Par Jijnasu Forever - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
In a well-narrated and thought provoking book, Kluger raises some interesting questions about how we define or tend to view and experience complexity. Organized as a series of (essentially independent) 11 or so chapters, each one focuses on one aspect - herd mentality, instincts, equilibrium, payoffs, scale, objective, fear, silence, flexibility, false targets, and loveliness. A motivating title in the form of a paradox starts the discussion in each chapter. The titles (and the short sub title) alone are interesting enough to provoke one's imagination. The chapters that deal with instincts (analogy of fluid dynamics in traffic management and evacuation procedures) and scale (discussion on Kleiber's observations on animal mass, energy consumption and life spans) stood out the most.

Despite all the interesting discussions, the chapters are so autonomous, a common thread leading to some substantial conclusions is not apparent. Moreover, it is disappointing to see that the author does not provide a detailed citation list or a reading list for the more curious reader, despite the references to work done at Santa Fe Institute and some books. The chapters do full justice to the main title, though the sub-question in the parentheses of the title doesn't get the attention it deserves..

Overall, an entertaining book that introduces the reader to a very interesting research domain.
12 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Appealing but not very satisfying 20 septembre 2008
Par Djembedrummer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
There are many agreements that I would have with other reviewers who found the book appealing enough to open its cover, but not deeply satisfying - indeed, slipping into the disappointing range the further along I read. I thought that it would reveal something to chew on, to elucidate complexity and simplicity and the relationship of the two, but other than its first chapter with its discussion of a complexity arc, it had no more to add than diluted observations of what happens in complex and non-complex settings. Interesting perhaps, especially in the context of each chapter's probing questions, but basically not much more than storytelling of contrarian conditions (ie, why did the unbeatable team get beat by the pushover). Nice antidotes, but I felt a sportswriter would reveal more and in doing so, be more entertaining to read.

It did succeed, however, in one major area: it got me to buy the book. The cover and table of contents, as Amazon allows, were intriguing enough to order it. It just didn't have the right stuff of Apollo 13 (the author's other noteworthy book).
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Entertaining questions, but not many answers 4 septembre 2008
Par K. Lueders - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Based on the second half of the sub-title (How Complex Things Can Be Made Simple), I was expecting a "how to" approach for finding the underlying simplicity in apparently complex environments. However, the book was more of a collection of articles that "report the news" versus a "how to" approach for practical application. "Freakonomics [Revised and Expanded]: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything" by Levitt & Dubner has a similar flow, but did a much better job of providing insights on the analytics and approaches used to substantiate the causal relationships they assert.

I did find the book enjoyable from an philosophical/entertainment point of view. If you agree with Claude Levi-Strauss' that, "The wise man doesn't give the right answers, he poses the right questions," then you should read the book. In my opinion the real value of the book is that it may open your mind to asking better questions about the nature of complex environments. I specifically enjoyed the chapter on Cell Phone/Camera complexity and believe it's a must read for any manager of software engineers. In addition, I have high hopes that the references to other books will provide the pragmatic material I'm seeking.

In summary, if your are looking for a thought provoking piece on the nature of simplicity and complexity you will enjoy the book, but if you are tasked with making complex environments simple and looking for guidance the book won't further your journey.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Simplistic review of complexity 16 juillet 2009
Par Samuel Martinsson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Kluger sets out to discuss common themes of complexity and simplexity, but unfortunately his knowledge base is far too thin to offer anything worth reading. He has interviewed key people and distilled those discussions to an ethereal mist that carries no weight at all, just vaporware.

If you want to read about simple explanations about complex things, like people escaping from a burning building or analogies between physics, biology and economics, your book is "Critical mass" by Philip Ball. "Complexification" by John Casti is an alternative. If you want more behavioral text, "The Wisdom of the Crowds" by James Surowiecki is much better, in e.g. explaining how groups of people reach decisions vs. personal solutions. Mathematics of sports, e.g. winning streaks is nicely described in a superb book "How the other half thinks; adventures in mathematical reasoning" by Sherman Stein. If stock market "physics" is of interest, then Nassim Taleb's "Fooled by randomness" or Benoit Mandelbrot's "Misbehaviour of markets" are better choices than Simplexity. Risks are covered by Gerd Gigerenzer in "Reckoning with risk" or by Peter Bernstein in "Against the Gods". A general view of interconnected world is offered by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi in his excellent "Linked. The new science of networks".

What all these books have in common is that they actually dwell on their chosen topic, while Kluger throws in a few interesting points, makes the few most obvious observations and moves on. Another guide to the modern world is "Information rules" by Shapiro & Varian. It explains the background economics and technical issues that drive many of the visible trends like "winner take all" markets, or the value of networking.

As for details, Kluger's discussion on how semiconductor plants work (p. 123 on paperback edition) is a collection of misunderstadings and misinformation. Either he has mixed up a semiconductor fab with an electronics assembly plant, or else he (and his informant) have completely missed the whole idea of semiconductor fabrication.

As a final detail, Kluger did not convince me that a lifetime risk of dying from a crashing airplane is 1/10,000 if I live near the airport. Maybe it is true, maybe not, but an individual factoid like this does not add much to my knowledge about risks of modern life.
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