He’s continuing the evolving story of network research following along some of his own research and that of others. There’s something unsettling or missing here in the jump to preferential attachment. What is causing preferential attachment to occur? This may be a factor of the individual settings in which things are happening, but it feels like a major missing piece from an otherwise organic feeling mathematical/theoretical perspective.
It’s an interesting overview of the subject of network science and complexity. Potentially good if you know nothing of the area at all, or if you’re about to delve heavily into the topic. I’m breezing through it quickly with an eye toward reading his more technical level networks textbook that came out two years ago as well as some of his papers in the area.
Some of the pieces so far are relatively overwritten given that it’s now more than 15 years later… but the general audience then probably needed the extra back story. The only math so far is at the level of simple logarithms and the few equations are buried in the footnotes.
There are some useful rules of thumb he’s introduced for the generalists and engineers in the crowd like the idea of things that fall into an 80/20 Pareto rule are very likely power law models.
He’s repeated some common stories about Paul Erdős and Alfréd Rényi. I hadn’t heard the story about Erdős saying there were too many plus signs on the Notre Dame campus–that was kind of cute. I did enjoy that he’d dug at least an additional layer deeper to pull up Frigyes Karinthy’s short story “Chains” to introduce the original(?) conceptualization of the idea of Six Degrees of Separation.
I’ll circle back later for additional highlights and annotations.
I ran across a link to this textbook by way of a standing Google alert, and was excited to check it out. I was immediately disappointed to think that I would have to wait another month and change for the physical textbook to be released, but made my pre-order directly. Then with a bit of digging around, I realized that individual chapters are available immediately to quench my thirst until the physical text is printed next month.