Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age

Front Cover
W. W. Norton & Company, Feb 17, 2004 - Science - 384 pages

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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User Review  - harrda - LibraryThing

This book is a very good introduction to the fascinating world of networked systems - from social groups to computer networks. Why does success breed success in some systems? What does it look like in ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nocto - LibraryThing

A look at the maths behind the idea that there are 'six degreees of separation' and other networking theories. Interesting stuff and I like the fact that the author is not afraid to include plenty of ... Read full review

Contents

The Connected Age
19
EMERGENCE
24
NETWORKS
27
SYNCHRONY
30
THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
35
THE SMALLWORLD PROBLEM
37
The Origins of a New Science
43
SOCIAL NETWORKS
47
Decisions Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
195
TULIP ECONOMICS
196
FEAR GREED AND RATIONALITY
198
COLLECTIVE DECISIONS
201
INFORMATION CASCADES
204
INFORMATION EXTERNALITIES
207
COERCIVE EXTERNALITIES
212
MARKET EXTERNALITIES
213

THE DYNAMICS MATTERS
50
DEPARTING FROM RANDOMNESS
56
HERE COME THE PHYSICISTS
61
Small Worlds
69
WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS
70
FROM CAVEMEN TO SOLARIANS
74
SMALL WORLDS
78
AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE
83
THE REAL WORLD
92
Beyond the Small World
101
SCALEFREE NETWORKS
104
THE RICH GET RICHER
108
GETTING RICH CAN BE HARD
111
REINTRODUCING GROUP STRUCTURE
114
AFFILIATION NETWORKS
118
DIRECTORS AND SCIENTISTS
121
COMPLICATIONS
125
Search in Networks
130
SO WHAT DID MILGRAM REALLY SHOW?
132
IS SIX A BIG OR A SMALL NUMBER?
135
THE SMALLWORLD SEARCH PROBLEM
139
SOCIOLOGY STRIKES BACK
146
SEARCH IN PEERTOPEER NETWORKS
156
Epidemics and Failures
162
VIRUSES IN THE INTERNET
165
THE MATHEMATICS OF EPIDEMICS
168
EPIDEMICS IN A SMALL WORLD
174
PERCOLATION MODELS OF DISEASE
183
NETWORKS VIRUSES AND MICROSOFT
187
FAILURES AND ROBUSTNESS
189
COORDINATION EXTERNALITIES
215
SOCIAL DECISION MAKING
217
Thresholds Cascades and Predictability
220
THRESHOLD MODELS OF DECISIONS
221
CAPTURING DIFFERENCES
226
CASCADES IN SOCIAL NETWORKS
229
CASCADES AND PERCOLATION
235
PHASE TRANSITIONS AND CASCADES
239
CROSSING THE CHASM
241
A NONLINEAR VIEW OF HISTORY
244
POWER TO THE PEOPLE
248
ROBUSTNESS REVISITED
250
Innovation Adaptation and Recovery
253
THE TOYOTAAISIN CRISIS
254
MARKETS AND HIERARCHIES
260
INDUSTRIAL DIVIDES
264
AMBIGUITY
267
THE THIRD WAY
270
COPING WITH AMBIGUITY
273
MULTISCALE NETWORKS
278
RECOVERING FROM DISASTER
284
The End of the Beginning
290
SEPTEMBER 11
292
LESSONS FOR A CONNECTED AGE
299
The World Gets Smaller Another Year in the Connected Age
307
FURTHER READING
313
BIBLIOGRAPHY
347
INDEX
363
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Duncan J. Watts is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research and a founding member of the MSR-NYC lab. He is also an AD White Professor at Large at Cornell University. His research on social networks and collective dynamics has appeared in a wide range of journals including Nature, Science, the American Journal of Sociology, and the Harvard Business Review.

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