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Social Atom Why the Rich Get Richer, Cheaters Get Caught, and Your Neighbor Usually Looks Like You

ISBN-10: 1596910135
ISBN-13: 9781596910133
Edition: 2007
Authors: Mark Buchanan
List price: $24.95 Buy it from $3.00
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Description: The idiosyncrasies of human decision-making have confounded economists and social theorists for years. If each person makes choices for personal (and often irrational) reasons, how can people's choices be predicted by a single theory? How can "any"  More...

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Book details

List price: $24.95
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Publication date: 6/5/2007
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 256
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.50" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.880
Language: English

The idiosyncrasies of human decision-making have confounded economists and social theorists for years. If each person makes choices for personal (and often irrational) reasons, how can people's choices be predicted by a single theory? How can "any" economic, social, or political theory be valid? The truth is, none of them really are. Mark Buchanan makes the fascinating argument that the science of physics is beginning to provide a new picture of the human or "social atom," and help us understand the surprising, and often predictable, patterns that emerge when they get together. Look at patterns, not people, Buchanan argues, and rules emerge that can explain how movements form, how interest groups operate, and even why ethnic hatred persists. Using similar observations, social physicists can predict whether neighborhoods will integrate, whether stock markets will crash, and whether crime waves will continue or abate. Brimming with mind games and provocative experiments, "The Social Atom" is an incisive, accessible, and comprehensive argument for a whole new way to look at human social behavior.

He holds a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of Virginia. He has been an editor and writer for Nature and New Scientist.

Think patterns, not people
The "human" problem
Our thinking instincts
The adaptive atom
The imitating atom
The cooperative atom
Together, apart
Conspiracies and numbers
Forward to the past

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