Monday, September 29, 2008

Six Degrees, Duncan J. Watts

Six Degrees
Duncan J. Watts

Six Degrees is subtitled "The Science of a Connected Age". It discusses the emerging science of networks, and does so with some flair, though I found the first half more interesting than the second half.

In the first half, Watts actually discusses the science of networks in some detail, with charts & graphs. He explains how he and others worked out some interesting results in network science, and even shows where they made assumptions that others overturned. For me, this portion of the book was fascinating, and fun reading.

The second half loses that level of detail and instead becomes more of a survey of ongoing work in networks and how it can apply in the real world. There are some interesting stories here, but nothing quite grabbed me the way the first half did.

In any event, if you're interested in the Small World Problem, or (more colloquially) whether or not everyone really is only six degrees of separation apart, this is an interesting read.