It's Complicated

Beyond the Zonules of Zinn: A Fantastic Journey Through Your Brain

By David Bainbridge

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The human brain has been described as the "three-pound universe." David Bainbridge says the structure of the brain is still the best way to understand it. This book is a fascinating explanation of our most complex organ.
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Chaos Theory Tamed

By Garnett P. Williams

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This may be the introduction to chaos theory I've been looking for. Reviewers say it does not require a lot of mathematics, and they praise it highly. I gave it a quick look, and like what I saw. Hmmm...
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Complexity: A Guided Tour

By Melanie Mitchell

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This is a scholarly but highly readable trip through chaos theory, cellular automata, and networks. Several reviewers praise it as a very good introduction to the field of complexity.
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Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book About the Way and the Power of the Way

By Ursula Le Guin, translator

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Stewart Brand, editor of The Whole Earth Catalog, called the Tao Te Ching a cybernetic holy book. It is the second-most translated book in the world, and it deals with issues of communication, control, and complexity. I have read several translations, and found Ursula Le Guin's among the more poetic. Robert G. Henricks and D.C. Lau have also done wonderful versions of this classic.

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Learn to Play Go

By Janice Kim

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Chess is okay. But there are 361 positions to occupy on a go board, and instead of taking out the king, the object is to surround territory. The rules are simple, but the possible variations make this a strategy and tactics game for anyone wanting a real challenge. Of ancient Asian origin, it is becoming more popular in the West because of a manga/anime series, Hikaru No Go. Awesome!
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Making Things Work: Solving Complex Problems in a Complex World

By Yaneer Bar-Yam

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Part 1 presents concepts, and in Part 2 the author discusses real world problems such as war, health care, education, and international development. Bar-Yam writes about "relating the nature of the problem to the nature of the solution, a kind of yin-yang complementarity." There are some annoying editorial boo-boos, but the book's practical approach makes deciphering those mistakes worthwhile.

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Seven Life Lessons of Chaos: Spiritual Wisdom from the Science of Change

By John Briggs and F. David Peat

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The authors of another popular book on the science of chaos, Turbulent Mirror, give us more food for thought here. For example, the butterfly effect is the phenomenon of a tiny action, when amplified throughout a system, having unexpectedly disproportionate effects. They write that, "Paradoxically, the insights of the newest science share the vision of the world presented in many of the world's oldest indigenous and spiritual traditions." I found it easy to read and enlightening.
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Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking

By R. Buckminster Fuller

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Buckminster (Bucky) Fuller said that thought has shape. To follow the shape of his thought, I recommend this and Synergetics 2, published a few years later. Synergetics 2 has the index, which helps one navigate through that thought (It really does.). If you find these difficult to read, I recommend his I Seem to Be a Verb, and Critical Path. Synergetics, according to Arthur C. Clarke, was "The distilled wisdom of a lifetime."
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The Knowledge Web: From Electronic Agents to Stonehenge and Back -- And Other Journeys Through Knowledge

By James Burke

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Burke demonstrates interactive and serendipitous connections among ideas, events, people and innovations. The chapter on feedback systems hops from neural networks to computers that simulate the brain's workings to studies of the physiology of animal emotion. It is an entertaining, if somewhat chaotic journey.

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Thinking in Systems: A Primer

By Donella Meadows

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An organism (You're one.) is a system. As is a family, a society, or a population. Donella Meadows does a wonderful job helping us look at things and their behaviors as systems, as opposed to linear, A causes B-type explanations. Highly recommended.
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