Product DescriptionSelf-organized criticality, the spontaneous development of systems to a critical state, is the first general theory of complex systems with a firm mathematical basis. This theory describes how many seemingly desperate aspects of the world, from stock market crashes to mass extinctions, avalanches to solar flares, all share a set of simple, easily described properties.
“…a’must read’…Bak writes with such ease and lucidity, and his ideas are so intriguing…essential reading for those interested in complex systems…it will reward a sufficiently skeptical reader.” -NATURE
“…presents the theory (self-organized criticality) in a form easily absorbed by the non-mathematically inclined reader.” -BOSTON BOOK REVIEW
“I picture Bak as a kind of scientific musketeer; flamboyant, touchy, full of swagger and ready to join every fray… His book is written with panache. The style is brisk, the content stimulating. I recommend it as a bracing experience.” -NEW SCIENTIST
Amazon.com Review. . . In print, at least, what might seem arrogant comes across as a kind of innocent, childlike enthusiasm, a lack of concern for anything but the sheer joy of figuring things out. His ruthless simplifications of geology, evolution, and neurology pay off because, as Bak notes, his models describe behavior that is common across these domains. This universality means that trampling across others’ turf is not only acceptable, but almost mandatory, if the underlying principles are to be exposed. Finally, for the most part, Bak wants the reader to grasp the basic logic of his arguments; only rarely does he try to persuade with flights of poetic language or brute intellectual authority.