Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order by Steven Strogatz
Rating: **** 1/2
Superb read! My one and only small quibble is the paucity of illustrations. Strogatz mentions at one point that the Lorenz attractor is fascinating but hard to describe in words. He then goes on to try and describe it! Just show us already! I already knew what the Lorenz attractor looked like but I can imagine other readers' frustration. In another location, it was about how someone is amazed by what he sees on his screen -- again I felt cheated at not being able to experience the same feeling. I can understand that Strogatz's intentions (or perhaps it was the intention of his editor and publisher) was to not scare away the non-mathematically inclined with complicated-looking charts. But tantalising yet nebulous textual descriptions actually detract from that very goal. If it had a few illustrations to complete this otherwise superb book, it would be a 5 for sure.
I posted a link to the review on my Twitter account and was astonished to see a quick and truly humble reply from Strogatz himself!
Humility definitely helps when it comes to exploring new ideas -- something that Strogatz is obviously very, very good at -- yet I wouldn't say humility is all that common in the academic community!