Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another : Being an Enquiry Into the Interplay of Chance and Necessity in the Way that Human Culture, Customs, Institutions, Cooperation and Conflict Arise

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004 - Human behavior - 644 pages
Is there a 'physics of society'? Ranging from Hobbes and Adam Smith to modern work on traffic flow and market trading, and across economics, sociology, psychology, Phillip Ball shows how much we can understand of human behaviour when we cease to try to predict and analyse the behaviour of indiviuals and look to the impact of hundreds, thousands or millions of individual human decisions, whether in circumstances in which human being co-operate or conflict, when their aggregate behaviour is constructive and when it is destructive. By perhaps Britain's leading young science writer, this is a deeply thought-provoking book, causing us to examine our own behaviour, whether in buying the Harry Potter book, voting for a particular party or responding to the lures of advertisers.

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User Review  - Beholderess - LibraryThing

As a student (not a very good one, arguably :) of social sciences, I've been more than a little disturbed by what I've seen as trying to "prescribe" how people "must" behave using statistical ... Read full review

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User Review  - hcubic - LibraryThing

Why is society organized the way it is? Is it possible to use some of the laws of the physical universe to understand why and how national economies, stock and commodity markets, companies and clubs ... Read full review


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