Originally published on Goodreads

Chaos: Making a New Science

Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick is the story of how chaos theory was popularized in different fields of study. In Chaos, Gleick looks at how the science of chaos was developed. It’s pretty interesting to follow how researchers in different fields somehow discovers how the theory is not as it seems. How simple systems are not just simple systems but can evolve into complex systems. And how these researchers through their curiosity and open-mindedness were able to see that perhaps there’s a new paradigm and a new theory to be discovered.

Unfortunately I don’t think this book is very well written. The purpose and point of the book is quite hard to see. Does Gleick want to tell us about chaos? In that case the explanations are few and far between and when an explanation of chaos is attempted, it doesn’t quite adequately explain it. Perhaps this is more to tell the human side of chaos? How recognition might not always come but the pursuit of truth is more important. In this case I am unconvinced as the structure doesn’t allow that to come across. The book seems to be more about individuals and looks to be split up into small autobiographies. Finishing this book, I’m not really sure what it was I was supposed to get out of it. The most interesting point for me was how Kuhn’s theory of scientific revolutions was exemplified but other than this I don’t feel like I got anything else out of the book.

This is then not a book about chaos theory. It’s more a collection of stories of the people who helped bring about chaos theory and their struggles in doing so.

2 out of 5 stars.