Simply Complexity: A Clear Guide to Complexity Theory by Neil Johnson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I now understand more about complexity theory, but am less interested in it.

I had hoped that this would be about complexity in human organisations, with examples linked to the workplace, exploring issues such as change management, systems thinking, and game theory … but oh no, there was none of that!

Fair enough, it doesn’t have to be laser-focussed on my own interests, but I grew weary of repeated examples of traffic systems and stock exchanges, and even when the theories are applied to things I care about – like whether to go out to a crowded bar or not – the theory felt lifeless in the hands of such lame examples. It felt like it was over-complicating simple decision-making for the fun of doing so – and hey, I love over-complicating things, so you’d think this would be right up my street, but it felt less like a useful tool for understanding the world, and more like an odd academic plaything of little practical value.

I know that’s not the case.


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