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A book that challenges my view of studying and developing complex, interconnected technological systems, through a somewhat original and refreshing erspective.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
What disappointed you about Overcomplicated?
The author, despite being a "complexity expert" seems utterly unable (or uninterested) to answer the big questions: 1. How much of a problem--other than "wow! really big and scary!" is it that complexity grows exponentially in the modern world, and 2. What techniques can be used to combat it?
Famously, he uses the debunked "Toyota unintentional acceleration" scare as one of his key points that "Gee, things have gotten so complex that _nobody_ fully understands why things happen in systems like this." Similarly, he constantly lectures from either anecdote or example, quoting science columnists or opinion leads for data instead of actual science or research. Where he does offer "statistical" data, beyond "just lots and lots", it usually devolves into the form of "Well, if you assume multiplied by " you get ". Never mind whether either such number exists in the original example being talked about, or whether there might be other factors which limit the growth of the resulting complexity in the model.
He is constantly using false analogies--bordering on non-sequitors--to make his points, and seems allergic to both quoting any actual scientific study or... you know... numbers. Instead, he'll make points by saying that a given psychological phenomena is "just like that Vorhees story" without ever quoting actual research to establish either the extent or effect of it.
Maddeningly, to anyone who actually knows anything about computes and programming, he's also inordinately fond of making "tech-sounding" metaphors while simultaneously pointing to such ridiculously outmoded concepts as "Goto" statements to point out why programs are getting so hard to decipher. I could go on for ages, but I feel like this book has wasted enough of my life already.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful