I met up with Tim Hoang earlier in January and he suggested that I include Nexus: Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Theory of Networks on my reading list. The book’s primary goal is explaining the Small Worlds phenomenon as a modern network theory.
Buchanan begins by explaining Stanley Milgram’s social network experiment of the sixties which revealed that there are rarely more than six steps between any two people on the planet – now known as the principle of six degrees of separation – by which popular culture has forever attached to the actor Kevin Bacon. The author then goes on to explain the clustering tendency of connections in our social networks, in the web and in nature.
Loose connections bridge from one cluster to the next. The author moves beyond network modeling to show how small world theory can be used to understand a diverse range of phenomena from the numbers and location of tributaries to major rivers through to how the AIDS virus spread.
The ideas in the book are as powerful as chaos theory was a decade ago. explaining the Small World phenomenon in this readable and well balanced account of modern network theory. Nexus: Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Theory of Networks by Mark Buchanan
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