Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age

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W. W. Norton & Company, Feb 17, 2004 - Science - 384 pages
11 Reviews

The pioneering young scientist whose work on the structure of small worlds has triggered an avalanche of interest in networks.

In this remarkable book, Duncan Watts, one of the principal architects of network theory, sets out to explain the innovative research that he and other scientists are spearheading to create a blueprint of our connected planet. Whether they bind computers, economies, or terrorist organizations, networks are everywhere in the real world, yet only recently have scientists attempted to explain their mysterious workings.

From epidemics of disease to outbreaks of market madness, from people searching for information to firms surviving crisis and change, from the structure of personal relationships to the technological and social choices of entire societies, Watts weaves together a network of discoveries across an array of disciplines to tell the story of an explosive new field of knowledge, the people who are building it, and his own peculiar path in forging this new science.
 

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The book is a brilliant introduction to the science of social networks. The author has avoided complicated mathematical tools and instead utilized insightful examples and critical analysis of many simple, everyday experiences; revealing much about the process of scientific discovery itself through the book. It gives deep and convincing explanations for many phenomena observed in everyday life. An excellent read for those who like intuitive thinking. 

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Indicado pelo Ricardo Simoes

Contents

The Connected Age
20
EMERGENCE
25
NETWORKS
28
SYNCHRONY
31
THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
36
THE SMALLWORLD PROBLEM
38
The Origins of a New Science
44
SOCIAL NETWORKS
48
Decisions Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
196
TULIP ECONOMICS
197
FEAR GREED AND RATIONALITY
199
COLLECTIVE DECISIONS
202
INFORMATION CASCADES
205
INFORMATION EXTERNALITIES
208
COERCIVE EXTERNALITIES
213
MARKET EXTERNALITIES
214

THE DYNAMICS MATTERS
51
DEPARTING FROM RANDOMNESS
57
HERE COME THE PHYSICISTS
62
Small Worlds
70
WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS
71
FROM CAVEMEN TO SOLARIANS
75
SMALL WORLDS
79
AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE
84
THE REAL WORLD
93
Beyond the Small World
102
SCALEFREE NETWORKS
105
THE RICH GET RICHER
109
GETTING RICH CAN BE HARD
112
REINTRODUCING GROUP STRUCTURE
115
AFFILIATION NETWORKS
119
DIRECTORS AND SCIENTISTS
122
COMPLICATIONS
126
Search in Networks
131
SO WHAT DID MILGRAM REALLY SHOW?
133
IS SIX A BIG OR A SMALL NUMBER?
136
THE SMALLWORLD SEARCH PROBLEM
140
SOCIOLOGY STRIKES BACK
147
SEARCH IN PEERTOPEER NETWORKS
157
Epidemics and Failures
163
VIRUSES IN THE INTERNET
166
THE MATHEMATICS OF EPIDEMICS
169
EPIDEMICS IN A SMALL WORLD
175
PERCOLATION MODELS OF DISEASE
184
NETWORKS VIRUSES AND MICROSOFT
188
FAILURES AND ROBUSTNESS
190
COORDINATION EXTERNALITIES
216
SOCIAL DECISION MAKING
218
Thresholds Cascades and Predictability
221
THRESHOLD MODELS OF DECISIONS
222
CAPTURING DIFFERENCES
227
CASCADES IN SOCIAL NETWORKS
230
CASCADES AND PERCOLATION
236
PHASE TRANSITIONS AND CASCADES
240
CROSSING THE CHASM
242
A NONLINEAR VIEW OF HISTORY
245
POWER TO THE PEOPLE
249
ROBUSTNESS REVISITED
251
Innovation Adaptation and Recovery
254
THE TOYOTAAISIN CRISIS
255
MARKETS AND HIERARCHIES
261
INDUSTRIAL DIVIDES
265
AMBIGUITY
268
THE THIRD WAY
271
COPING WITH AMBIGUITY
274
MULTISCALE NETWORKS
279
RECOVERING FROM DISASTER
285
The End of the Beginning
291
SEPTEMBER 11
293
LESSONS FOR A CONNECTED AGE
300
The World Gets Smaller Another Year in the Connected Age
308
FURTHER READING
314
BIBLIOGRAPHY
348
INDEX
364
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About the author (2004)

Duncan J. Watts is assistant professor of sociology at Columbia University. He lives in New York City.

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