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Archive for the ‘Networks’ Category

Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means for Business, Science, and Everyday LifeLinked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means for Business, Science, and Everyday Life by Albert-László Barabási
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very nice introduction to networks. The book starts with the first occurrence of networks being described and gives the history of networks were researched and its state as of 2002.
A very interesting read as it covers networks as diverse as network of webpages in the internet to the networking of cells in the human body. It also covers the networking of the terrorists to networking of corporates.
Much more progress must have been done from 2002 onwards.
Some of interesting observations in book are
1. We are more likely to get a job if we were to try getting a job through our acquaintances rather than through our friends as our network of friends would have the same network as ours and it is unlikely that they know too many outside the same circle.
2. It would be an interesting study to check applicability of Pareto’s law to the income earned in the corporates. Would it apply. My hunch says it would.
3. Although the organizations foolishly try to apply the bell curve fitting to its organization if we carry out an analysis it would not be surprising that again 80% of times the same 20% of the associates (if the continue for that long with the organization) would fall in the superlative class in the organization.
4. One observation that the author makes is that more connected an actor is the more likely she is to get more and better roles. The same holds good in the corporate.
5. The author observes, about the Ford car factory, that too much optimization led to tight integration and this led to so much inflexibility that it was necessary to shut down the shop floor for weeks or months to make a change. The same is true of software. The more optimized the software is made, the more tightly coupled it gets and more difficult it becomes making changes.
6. On removing, reducing terrorist networks the author very wisely observes that “If we ever want to to win the war, our only hope is to tackle the underlying social, economic, and political roots that fuel the network’s growth. We must help eliminate the need and desire of the nodes to form links to terrorist organizations by offering them a chance to belong to more constructive and meaningful webs. No matter how good we become at winning each net battle, if we are unable to inhibit the desire for links, the prerequisite for the formation of these deadly self-organized webs, the net war will never end“. A very pertinent observation given our present state of affairs. Are the leaders listening?
A good read.

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