Is there a 'physics of society'? Philip Ball's investigation into human nature ranges from Hobbes and Adam Smith to modern work on traffic flow and market trading, across economics, sociology and psychology. Ball shows how much of human behaviour we can understand when we cease trying to predict and analyse the behaviour of individuals and look to the impact of hundreds, thousands or millions of individual human decisions, in circumstances in which human beings both co-operate and conflict, when their aggregate behaviour is constructive and when it is destructive. By perhaps Britain's leading young science writer, this is a deeply thought-provoking book, causing us to examine our own behaviour, whether in buying the new Harry Potter book, voting for a particular party or responding to the lures of advertisers.
Recommend this book
Add your recommendation
Only registered users can recommend books. Please use the buttons below to either create a new account, or sign-in to an existing account.
Exquisitely produced and painstakingly researched... Ball writes patiently and eloquently.. Exciting... A rousing call-to-arms, and an elegant answer to the shallow tradition of British empiricism. - Independent
In his fascinating new book, Critical Mass, Philip Ball tells the story of this research in a comprehensive and often captivating way... Ball delves far beyond today's headlines... Impressively clear and breathtaking in scope... Substantial, impeccably researched and...persuasive. For anyone who would like to learn about the intellectual ferment at the surprising junction of physics and social science, Critical Mass is the place to start. - Nature
Lucid, accessible and engaging... Ball makes a persuasive, comprehensive case and it's a welcome antidote to popular individualistic thought. - Glasgow Herald
Critical Mass fizzes with ideas and insights - The Guardian
more than a book, this in an intellectual curiosity - Independent on Sunday
Lucid, accessible and engaging - Glasgow Herald
A dazzlingly informed book... I can promise you'll be amazed - Bill Bryson, Daily Express
Formerly Editor for physical sciences, including quantum psychics, at leading science magazine Nature, Philip Ball is now a full-time science writer. He lives in London and has written a number of science books.