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Annotated Bibliography

Those works in the bibliography whose titles are shown in bold type are highly recommended. Summaries of certain publications have been prepared by Webber, Lindberg and Leonard. Summaries of some of these works, are included in the filing cabinet section of Edgeware. To read the summary where available please click on the "read summary" link at the end of the annotation. Annotations presented are from the above noted contributors and (those in quotations) from the annotated bibliography in Kevin Kelly's book, Out of Control.

Note that, in order to help you find publications of interest, resources in this bibliography have been organized into the following categories:

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Introductions to complexity.
These are works for the general reader interested in learning about the basics of complexity. Most are written by journalists.


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  • Briggs, John. (1992). Fractals: The Patterns of Chaos. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster

    (This beautiful book is the visual way into chaos theory and nonlinear dynamics. It tells the story with wonderful fractal images from artists, computers, nature, space, and physiology. The matching prose covers basic concepts of the science in an engaging, elegant manner. You will definitely be glad you added this to your collection.)

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  • Capra, Fritjof. (1996). The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems. New York, NY: Doubleday.

    (Tom Petzinger annotation - "Excellent layman’s overview, with much less anti-industrial ideology than in Capra’s earlier The Turning Point.")

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  • Gleick, J. (1987). Chaos. New York, NY: Viking Penguin.

    ("This bestseller hardly needs an introduction. It’s a model of science writing, both in form and content. Although a small industry of chaos books has followed its worldwide success, this one is still worth rereading as a delightful way to glimpse the implications of complex systems.")

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  • Kelly K. (1994). Out of Control: The Rise of Neo-Biological Civilization. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

    (This popular, insightful, and wide-ranging work pulls important new pattern-building findings from fields as diverse as computer science, biology, physics, and economics, relates them to the new worlds of complexity, chaos theory, and post-Darwin evolution, and lays out the implications for creating complex organizations and systems of all types. Many of his findings are contrary to management traditions and practices.) Read summary.

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  • Lewin, Roger (1992). Complexity: Life At The Edge Of Chaos. New York, NY: Collier Books.

    (One of the best introductions to complexity told by one of the best science writers around. This work chronicles the author’s search for deep understanding of this developing field through fascinating conversations with leading scientists in many fields - biology, computer science, psychology, ecology, physics. Don’t miss it.)

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  • Waldrop, M. M. (1992). Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

    (This one of the best introductions to complexity. Told through the stories of some of the leading contributors to this new science—engineer and psychologist John Holland, economist Brian Arthur, biologist Stuart Kauffman, computer scientist Chris Langton. These contributors come from a variety of disciplines and have come together through the Santa Fe Institute.)  Read summary.

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The science of complexity.
These are works by complexity scientists which go deeper than the introductory books and articles. Still, they are accessible (with some work) to most readers.


   
  • New Article by Brian Goodwin (Spring, 1999).
    "From Control to Participation via a Science of Qualities." ReVision, Vol. 21, No. 4, 2-10.

    Brian Goodwin is a very prominent complexity scientist, with a strong background in biology and mathematics and a deep interest in health. He is a scholar in residence at Schumacher College in the UK.

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  • Brockman, John (1995). The Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific Revolution. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

    (Recommended by Jeffrey Goldstein. A very good compendium of leading complexity (and other) approaches. Chapters by Stuart Kauffman - "Order for Free," Christopher Langton - "A Dynamical Pattern," Doyne Farmer - "The Second Law of Organization," Murray Gell-Mann - "Plectics," Brian Goodwin - "Biology Is Just a Dance.")

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  • Axelrod, R. (1984). The Evolution of Cooperation. New York, NY: BasicBooks.

    (This classic work was the first to suggest a guided mix of cooperative and competitive behavior. Puts forth the Tit For Tat strategy and establishes robust reciprocity as a key to long-term organizational viability. Don’t miss it!)  Read summary
    .


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  • Gell-Mann, Murray (1994). The Quark and the Jaguar: Adventures in the Simple and Complex. New York, NY: W.H. Freemand and Company.

    (The story of complexity from one of its founders, a Nobel Prize winner in physics and member of the Santa Fe Institute faculty.)

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  • Goertzel, Ben. (1993). The Evolving Mind. Langhorne, PA: Gordon and Breach.

    (Written by a mathematician and computer scientist, this book presents some highly original interpretations of complex systems cutting across several disciplines but winding-up in a complexity theory of cognitive processes and brain functioning. Highly technical mathematical constructs are put at the end of each chapter in a special appendix, thereby, making the book accessible to the non-mathematician. Recommended not only for its discussion of many areas of complexity science, but also for its capacity in inspiring the reader to see complex and nonlinear systems in a new way.)

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  • Goodwin, Brian. (1994). How the Leopard Changed Its Spots: The Evolution of Complexity. New York, NY: Touchstone.

    (Tom Petzinger annotation - A layman’s guide to how complexity science may explain the forms and structures of life.")

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  • Guastello, Stephen. (1995). Chaos, Catastrophe, and Human Affairs: Applications of Nonlinear Dynamics to Work, Organizations, and Social Evolution. Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    (Stephen Guastello, a professor of psychology internationally known for his pioneering work in the application of nonlinear dynamics to psychological research in a host of different areas including organizational psychology, leadership, and design, offers a very useful review of his major research. Some of the material requires some element of mathematical and research methodology sophistication.)

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  • Holland, John H. (1998) Emergence: From Chaos to Order. Reading, MA: Helix Books
  • (The latest book by one of the founders of complexity demonstrates how a small number of rules can generate systems of great complexity and novelty. In understanding the patterns generated, like in board games such as chess, Holland shows how we can gain deeper understanding of complex systems in life.)

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  • Holland, John H. (1995). Hidden Order: How Adaptation Builds Complexity. Reading, MA: Helix Books.

    (Tom Petzinger annotation - "This book is pure science - no history, no flag-waving - but it is startlingly clear and thoughtfully concise at 172 pages. John Holland is the father of genetic algorithms....you’ll find much more here that explains how systems adapt in both nature and the man-made world.")

  • Kauffman, S. A. (August, 1991). "Antichaos and Adaptation." Scientific American.

    ("A very accessible summation of Kauffman’s important major ideas, with nary an equation in it. Read this one first.")

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  • Kauffman, Stuart (1995). At Home in the Universe. New York, NY & Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

    (The lay person’s version of The Origins of Order - fresh insights into strategy making, system building from nature’s viewpoint. Tom Petzinger annotation - "A bit daunting in spots, it goes further than other books in exploring what complexity theory might mean for the future of economics and organizations. And Kauffman’s speculations on the origins of life are thrilling.")

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  • Kaye, Brian. (1989). A Random Walk Through Fractal Dimensions. NY: VCH.

    (Probably the best introduction to the fascinating world of fractals, moreover, it doesn’t demand a mathematical background at all. Wittily written, Kaye sprinkles his book with fascinating tidbits of word etymology that spurs creative ideas in the reader.)

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  • Lorenz, Edward. (1993). The Essence of Chaos. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.

    (Written by the meteorologist Edward Lorenz who first discovered what later was termed "chaos." Looking at chaotic systems from a unique and creative perspective, Lorenz draws out the meaning of such characteristics of chaotic systems as sensitive dependence on initial conditions, strange attractors, aperiodicity, and stability/instability. Although, this book is written for a non-mathematical audience, it does require careful reading and thought. Highly recommended as a work from the original "chaologist" as well as the creative and original way Lorenz describes chaos.)


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  • Merry, Uri. (1995). Coping with Uncertainty: Insights from the New Sciences of Chaos, Self-Organization, and Complexity. Westport, CN: Praeger Publishing.

    (Tom Petzinger annotation - "Extremely approachable overview.")

 

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  • Peak, David & Frame, Michael. (1994). Chaos Under Control: The Art and Science of Complexity. New York, NY: W.H. Freeman.

    (One of the best introductions to complexity sciences covering the whole gamut of the field including complex, adaptive systems, nonlinear dynamics and chaos, fractals, cellular automata, neural nets, and genetic algorithms. This book is extremely clear and well-written but it does require college level mathematics. Probably has the best description of the logistic map, fractals, and cellular automata in the literature.)

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  • Prigogine, Ilya, and Isabelle Stengers. (1984). Order Out of Chaos: Man’s New Dialogue with Nature. New York:, NY: Bantam Books.

    (Tom Petzinger annotation - "A compelling historical account of the limitations of Newtonian science and the dynamics of complexity by a Nobel laureate in chemistry, with an emphasis on thermodynamics and dissipative structures." For the scientists in the crowd, this is one of the works which triggered the development of the science of complexity. A must read for those interested in the phenomena of self-organizing systems.)


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Complexity and organizations.
These works explore the implications of complexity for organizational theory, management and leadership.


  • Arthur, W. B. (July - August, 1996). "Increasing Returns and the Two Worlds of Business." Harvard Business Review, July-August,1996, pp. 100-109.

    (There are two worlds of business: The decreasing returns world is the processing of bulk goods (the "Halls of Production") and products with little incorporated knowledge; The increasing returns business has to do with knowledge based-industry (the "Casino of Technology") and interlinked webs of technologies. This award winning author argues that different organizational orientations, skills, and approaches to planning are required for these two worlds.)

  • Begun, James W. , "Chaos and Complexity: Frontiers of Organization Science," Journal of Management Inquiry, vol. 3, no. 4, December, 1994, pp. 329-335

    (An early call by the author for organizational theorists and practitioners to tap chaos and complexity science to advance understanding of life in organizaitons. James Begun is Professor of Healthcare Management and Director of the Master of Healthcare Administration Program at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.)

  • Caulkin, Simon (July - August, 1995). "Chaos Inc." Across The Board, July/August, 1996, pp. 32-36.

    (An easy to read introductory article on complexity and potential uses within organizations. Written for business executives.)

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  • de Geus, Arie (March - April, 1997). "The Living Company." Harvard Business Review, pp.51-59.

    (Has the makings of classic article. Arie de Geus explores what nature can teach executives about narrowing the large gap "between the average and maximum life expectancies of the corporate species." Argues for supporting ideas at the margins, giving people space and freedom to explore, building communities within organizations, fostering collaborative learning. A book by the same name, The Living Company, has just been published (1997 copyright) by the Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA.)

  • Dooley, K. (1997). "A Complex Adaptive Systems Model of Organizational Change." Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, 1 (1): pp. 69-97.

    (A highly readable and informative exploration of how organizational change can be understood in terms of complex, adaptive systems theory. Moreover, the author brings together the essential theories touching on CAS in terms of organizational change including autopoiesis, system dynamics, chaos, and self-organization (dissipative systems). Then, the author presents a model of change based on a complexity framework derived from work in cellular automata.)

  • Dooley, Kevin and Johnson, Timothy L. (1995). "TQM, Chaos and Complexity." Human Systems Management, Vol. 14, pp. 287-302.

    (A superb article which explores what chaos and complexity theory offer to traditional thinking about quality improvement. Includes a comprehensive set of references.)

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  • Eoyang, Glenda. (1997). Coping with Chaos: Seven Simple Tools. Cheyenne, WY: Lagumo Corp.

    (At long last, an eminently practical book for how leaders throughout all levels of organizations can apply main findings from chaos and complexity theories. An organizational complexity practitioner and owner of her own computer company, Glenda Eoyang provides jargon-free explanations as well as specific pointers for various situations facing managers based on seven principles of complex systems: 1. the Butterfly Effect; 2. Boundaries; 3. Feedback Loops; 4. Fractals; 5. Attractors; 6. Self-organization; and, 7. Coupling. Highly recommended!)
    http://www.chaos-limited.com/order.htm
  • Gersick, Connie (1992). "Revolutionary Change Theory: A Multilevel Exploration of the Punctuated Equilibrium Paradigm." Academy of Management Review, Vol. 16, No. 1, 10-36.

    (The idea that a deep structure enhances system stability over time gives a novel approach to understanding resistance to change. Packaging periods of major change into compact revolutions allows for isolation of events for research and intervention. These paradigm changes are being observed in several different areas.)

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  • Goldstein, Jeffrey (1994). The Unshackled Organization: Facing the Challenge of Unpredictability Through Spontaneous Reorganization Portland, OR: Productivity Press.

    (This is one of the few management books on the implications of complexity and nonlinear systems theory for the management of organizations. It is well done and offers up the self-organization approach to major change in contrast to more conventional approaches.)   Read summary.


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  • Huber, G.P. & Glick, W.H., ed. (1993). Organizational Change and Redesign: Ideas and Insights for Improving Performance. New York, NY: Oxford Press.

    (Sound ideas for improving managerial performance under conditions of accelerating change. Weick’s chapter "Organization Redesign as Improvisation" is a classic. "Downsizing and Redesigning Organizations" chapter by Cameron, Freeman and Mishra presents some of the first research results on downsizing and redesign. A number of the findings are consistent with complexity principles. This work should be on your ready reference shelf.)

  • Hurst, David K., and Zimmerman, Brenda J. (December, 1994). "From Life Cycle to Ecocycle: A New Perspective on the Growth, Maturity, Destruction, and Renewal of Complex Systems." Journal of Management Inquiry, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp. 339 - 354.

    (A fresh view of cycles of development and decline of organizations which goes beyond the S curve concept. The authors, using the complexity framework, explore strategies for helping organizations adapt and remain relevant in light of the ecocycle metaphor.)

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  • Hurst, David K. (1995). Crisis & Renewal: Meeting the Challenge of Organizational Change. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

    (Tom Petzinger annotation - "Fresh and insightful look at corporate change through the lens of complexity, enriched with revealing historical research.")

  • Katel, Peter (July, 1997). "Bordering on Chaos." Wired, pp.98-107.

    (The article tells the story of a Mexican cement company, Cemex, which has put complexity theory in action and has grown over ten years to become the world’s third largest cement company, with over 20,000 employees, and 486 plants.)

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  • Kelly, Kevin, New Rules for the New Economy: 10 Radical Strategies for a Connected World. 1998. Viking Press

    (Kelly, executive editor or Wired, offers his thoughts on making your way in an economy increasingly driven by networks, providing 10 rules. Here are a few of them: No Harmony, All Flux; Seeking Sustainable Disequilibrium; Let Go at the Top; Embrace the Swarm; The Power of Decentralization. As in his previous book, Out of Control, Kelly shows a remarkable ability to capture, synthesize and present in memorable ways the essence of important new trends and developments in science, technology, economics, and communications.)

  • Lane, D. & Maxfield, R. (April, 1996). "Strategy under Complexity: Fostering Generative Relationships." Long Range Planning, Vol. 29, pp.215-231."

    (Strategy in the face of complex foresight horizons is an ongoing web of practices that interpret and construct the relationships that comprise the world in which the organization acts. Strategy and the future are discovered through generative relationships - those that produce unforeseen value and new possibilities. Authors provide guidance on where to look and how to foster productive generative relationships. Hunch is that this article will become a classic in the management literature.)  Read summary.


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  • Levine, Rick; Locke, Christopher; Searls, Doc; and Weinberger, David. (2000). The Cluetrain Manifesto: The end of business as usual. Cambridge: Perseus Books.

    Taken from the foreward written by Thomas Petzinger, Jr.-

    "To rip off what rock critic Jon Landau once said about Bruce Springsteen: I've seen the future of business, and it's THE CLUETRAIN MANIFESTO. At first you may be tempted to hide this book inside the dust jacket of CUSTOMERS.COM or something equally conventional, but in time you'll see the book spreading. It will become acceptable, if never entirely accepted. It will certainly become essential. Why am I so sure? Because like nothing else out there, it shows us how to grasp the human side of business and technology, and being human, try as we might, is the only fate from which we can never escape."

    For a peek at the 95 theses contained in the manifesto, visit the authors' web site at: http://www.cluetrain.com
  • Lewin, Roger (November 29, 1997) "It’s a Jungle Out There," New Scientist, pp. 30 - 34

    (A view of businesses, markets and economics as ecosystems and complex systems presented by a well-known science writer. This perspective, supported by examples from the business world, helps us see differently.

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  • Lewin, Roger and Birute Regine. (January 1998). "The Soul at Work." New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

    Like the diversity of the companies that are examined in the stories of this helpful book, The Soul at Work examines a wide range of methods to transform the stale workplace into one of healthy change and innovation. Its exploration of organizational dynamics suggests people-centered, relationship-focused working environments that foster commitment and respect.



  • Lindberg, Curt & Taylor, James (Summer, 1997). "From the Science of Complexity To Leading In Uncertain Times." Journal of Innovative Management, pp. 22-34.

    (An article which introduces the science of complexity to managers and explores the implications of the science for leadership and the role of the executive.)

  • Maguire, Steve. (1997). "Strategy as Design: A Fitness Landscape Framework." Cahier de Recherche. CETAI (CENTRE D’ETUDES EN ADMINISTRATION INTERNATIONALE. HEC (Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales. Montreal: Universite de Montreal. Another version will appear in Y. Bar-Yam (Ed.), Proceedings of the International Conference on Complex Systems, Boston, MA: New England Complex Systems Institute (In Press).

    (An excellent application of Kauffman’s N/K Model, including the concept of fitness landscapes, to corporate strategy and planning. The author presents strategy as a design problem in which fitness landscapes can be of assistance in evaluating the adaptive value of specific strategic initiatives. The article, although technical at times, is very accessible to the non-specialist. Highly recommended.)

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  • McMaster, Michael D. (1995). The Intelligence Advantage: Organizing for Complexity. Douglas, Isle of Man: Knowledge Based Development Co., Ltd.

    ("Intelligence is the source of an organization’s capacity for survival." The book combines complexity theory and postmodern thought to describe a new era of leadership as we move away from the "iron cage" of Newtonian thinking.)

  • Nohira, Nitin & Berkley, James D. (Summer, 1994). "An Action Perspective: The Crux of the New Management." California Management Review, Vol. 36, #4, pp. 70-92.

    (The search for rational, linear designs are not the point in a non-linear world. The identification and reliance on pragmatic action will suggest the direction of future actions. Designs are a part of action but are not given special privilege. This article compares and contrasts the design and action perspectives.)  Read summary.


  • Petzinger, Thomas, Jr. (1996, 1997, 1998). Various short pieces (i.e. "How Creativity Can Take Wing At Edge of Chaos," "This Company Uses Sound Business Rules From Mother Nature," "At Deere They Know A Mad Scientist May Be A Firm’s Biggest Asset," "Self-Organization Will Free Employees To Act Like Bosses," "How Lynn Mercer Manages a Factory That Manages Itself," "June Holley Brings a Touch of Italy to Appalachian Effort,""The Rise Of The Small, And Other Trends To Watch This Year" ) in a column called - The Front Lines. Wall Street Journal, July 12, 1996, October 18, 1996, January 3, 1997, March 7, 1997, October 24, 1997, November 21, 1997, January 9, 1998 and other dates.

    (This fine journalist from the Wall Street Journal is closely following the business implications of complexity; and we’re lucky he is because he is uncovering many useful examples and stories of complexity at work.)

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  • Stacey, Ralph D. (1992). Managing the Unknowable: Strategic Boundaries Between Order and Chaos in Organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

    (Stacey maintains that the old maps are no good because we are sailing through uncharted waters. It is impossible to predict long term changes in the future of a system. Answers and direction emerge.)  Read summary.

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  • Stacey, Ralph D. (1999). Strategic Management & Organisational Dynamics: The Challenge of Complexity. Third Edition. New York: Financial Times Prentice Hall.

    (New frameworks for sensemaking in organizational life from the new sciences. Doing operations on the edge of chaos to be a creative organization. One of the best works on the management and leadership implications arising from the science of complexity.)

  • Stacey, Ralph D. (April, 1996). "Emerging Strategies for a Chaotic Environment." Long Range Planning, Vol. 16, pp. 182-189.

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  • Sweeney LB and Meadows D. The Systems Thinking Playbook Durham, NH: IPSSR, 1995.

    The Playbook is a wonderful collection of exercises that bring down-to-earth some of the key insights from systems thinking. The exercises are suitable for meeting starters, training sessions, and retreats. Most take only a few minutes to do using common items, but the impression from the learning can last forever. Extensive debrief notes will help you pull out the key points.
  • Waldrop, M. Mitchell. (October - November, 1996). "The Trillion-Dollar Vision of Dee Hock." Fast Company, pp. 75-86.

    (Fascinating article about Dee Hock and how he used the principles of distributed control, a mix of collaboration and competition, simple rules, and diversity in the organization of VISA and his current drive to help social, environmental and community organizations use the concepts from complexity and chaos theory.)

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  • Wheatley, Margaret J. (1992). Leadership and the New Science: Learning About Organization from an Orderly Universe. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

    (An examination of science and the ways it affects what we know about the world and organizations; helped usher in a much greater appreciation for what nature and modern science can teach us about management. Work is a bit dated now and a little weak in the science.)  Read summary.


  • Zimmerman, Brenda J. (Spring, 1994) "Chaos and Nonequilibrium: The Flip Side of Strategic Processes," Organization Development Journal, pp.31-38.

    (A paper which contrasts the assumptions of equilibrium and nonequilibrium, or chaos theory, and develops the implications of the two world views for strategic management.)

  • Zimmerman, Brenda J. and Hurst, David K. (December, 1993) "Breaking The Boundaries: The Fractal Organization," Journal of Management Inquiry, pp. 334-355.

    (The presentation of a fractal framework for understanding organizations, in theory and practice.)


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Complexity, medicine and health care.
These deal with what a complexity perspective
offers for medicine and health care
.


  • Elizabeth Pennisi. (April 2000).
    "In Nature, Animals that Stop and Start Win the Race." Science, Vol. 288.

    New research shows that animals in the wild move in cycles-short bursts of movement followed by rest (intermittent locomotion). This important article explores the benefits of such a variable approach to movement. This has lead physiologists to speculate about the value of intermittent locomotion for humans with compromised physiological functioning. The consonance of these findings with the HeartWaves Program of Dr. Irving Dardik is noteworthy. (Dr. Dardik's "The Origin of Disease and Health, Heart Waves: The Single Solution to Heart Rate Variability and Ischemic Preconditioning" is also listed here as a new article (Spring/Summer, 1997).

  • Christopher R. Cole, J.D., Eugene H. Blackstone, M.Dl, Fredric J. Pashkow, M.D., Claire E. Snader, M.A., and Michael S. Lauer, M.D. (October, 1999).
    "Heart-Rate Recovery Immediately After Exercise as a Predictor of Mortality." The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 341, No. 18, 1351-1357.

  • Dardik, Irving I. (Spring/Summer,1997). "The Origin of Disease and Health, Heart Waves: The Single Solution to Heart Rate Variability and Ischemic Preconditioning." Frontier Perspctives, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp18-32.

    (This provocative article explores the concepts of the heart waves and >heart rate variability as indicators of health and disease and proposes a route to increase the fractal complexity, and hence health, of human physiologic systems.)

  • Goldberger, Ary L. (May 11, 1996). "Non-linear dynamics for clinicians: chaos theory, fractals, and complexity at the bedside." Lancet, Vol. 347, May 11, 1996, pp. 1312-1314.

    (A wonderful introductory article for medical personnel by a physician who has delved deeply into human health and physiology from the complexity and chaos perspectives. Suggests new definitions for health and ill-health, and new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. Contains comprehensive reference list of other medically related articles.)

  • Goldberger, Ary L. (Summer, 1997). "Fractal Variability Versus Pathologic Periodicity: Complexity Loss and Stereotypy In Disease." > Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, Vol. 40, pp. 543-561.

    (Here Goldberger develops the case that healthy physiologic systems are characterized by fractal complexity, while unhealthy systems are marked by highly periodic (regular) dynamics and a concomitant loss of adaptability.)

  • Goldberger, A. L.; Rigney, D. R.; West, B. J.: "Chaos and Fractals in Human Physiology," Scientific American, vol. 262, pp. 42-49

    (This pioneering work was the first to suggest how developments in nonlinear dynamics and chaos theory could lead to advances in our understanding of human physiology.)

  • Goldberger, Ary L. (Summer, 1997). "Fractal Variability Versus Pathologic Periodicity: Complexity Loss and Stereotypy In Disease." Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, Vol. 40, pp. 543-561.

    (Here Goldberger develops the case that healthy physiologic systems are characterized by fractal complexity, while unhealthy systems are marked by highly periodic (regular) dynamics and a concomitant loss of adaptability.)

  • Goodwin, James S. (1997) "Chaos and the Limits of Modern Medicine" JAMA, vol. 278, No. 17, November 5, 1997, pp. 1399-1400

    (A provocative short piece which suggests that chaos and complexity theory can contribute to advancing the practice of medicine by viewing people as complex systems and going beyond traditional scientific medicine.)

  • Lindberg, Curt; Herzog, Alfred; Merry, Martin; Goldstein, Jeffrey. (January - February, 1998) "Life at the Edge of Chaos - Health Care Applications of Complexity Science," The Physician Executive, pp. 6-20

    (This article seeks to introduce health care practitioners tot he science of complexity and show how it can be helpful in dealing with both medical and health care organizational issues.)

  • Lipsitz, L. A.; Goldberger, A. L. (1992) "Loss of ‘Complexity’ and Aging: Potential Applications of Fractals and Chaos Theory to Senescence" JAMA, vol. 267, pp. 1806-1809

    (New views of the aging by two leading researchers suggest that it is related to the loss of complex patterns in physiologic systems.)

  • Regaldo, Antonio (1995). "A Gentle Scheme for Unleashing Chaos." Science, Vol. 268, p. 1848.

    (Report on early efforts to restore complexity to physiologic systems by "small, precisely timed pertubations".)

  • Regaldo, Antonio (1995). "A Gentle Scheme for Unleashing Chaos." Science, Vol. 268, p. 1848.

    (Report on early efforts to restore complexity to physiologic systems by "small, precisely timed pertubations".)

  • Weibel, Ewald R. (1991). "Fractal Geometry: A Design Principle For Living Organisms." American Journal of Physiology, Vol. 261 (Lung Cell. Mol. Physiol. 5), pp. L361-369.

    (A fascinating article that explores the possibility that fractal >geometry is a design principle in biological systems. It calls into question the current view that biological structure is "precisely determined by the genetic program of an organism".)

  • Weibel, Ewald R. (1991). "Fractal Geometry: A Design Principle For >> Living Organisms." American Journal of Physiology, Vol. 261 (Lung Cell. Mol. Physiol. 5), pp. L361-369.

    (A fascinating article that explores the possibility that fractal geometry is a design principle in biological systems. It calls into question the current view that biological structure is "precisely determined by the genetic program of an organism".)


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Related Organizational Works
Writings which do not stem from strictly a complexity perspective,
but which are consistent with such a perspective


  • Fishman, Charles (April - May, 1997). "Change: The 10 Laws of Change That Never Change." Fast Company, pp. 64-75.

    (An article which offers some lessons on organizational change primarily from the perspective of the "change agent." Provides a number of company examples. Many of the 10 laws (i.e., "create tension, there is information in opposition, the informal network is as powerful as the formal chain of command, and you get to design your informal network") are consistent with complexity theory.)

  • Hamel, Gary(June 23, 1997). "Killer Strategies That Make Shareholders Rich." Fortune, pp.70-84.

    (A well known business consultant is now writing about the need for genetic diversity, novel experiences, many connections inside and outside the company, and multiple experiments as keys to successful strategies.)

  • Hock, Dee: Birth of the Chaordic Age, , Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. San Francisco 1999

    Dee Hock, the founder and CEO Emeritus of VISA, tells his engaging and wonderfully written story about the creation of VISA, an international organization based more on biological concepts (he calls them chaordic) than on traditional management thinking. While weaving this story, a parallel one is told. It is about his search for fundamental principles of healthy and more natural human organizations and his personal reflections on VISA's development.



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(paperback)

  • Morgan Gareth. (1997). Images of Organization. second edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

    (The newly revised edition of this classic work in the management literature demonstrates through metaphors the multiple ways, realities and dimensions of organizations. The new edition contains expanded chapters, "Unfolding Logics of Change - Organization as Flux and Transformation" and "Learning and Self-Organization: Organizations as Brains" which deal with chaos and complexity theory in organizations.)  Read summary.


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  • Morgan, Gareth. (1993). Imaginization:The Art of Creative Management. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

    (Using a variety of images and metaphors (i.e. strategic termites, spider plants) the author shows how they can become powerful allies in fostering innovation and dealing with real change. He makes wonderful contributions to moving current organizational theory into practice.)

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  • Plsek, P. E. (1997). Creativity, Innovation, and Quality. Milwaukee, WI: ASQC Quality Press

    (Though not written explicitly from a complexity perspective, you will find complexity concepts throughout. The book introduces DirectedCreativity, taking the reader all the way from first principles to application.)

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  • Pfeffer, Jeffrey (1998) The Human equation: Building Profits by Putting People First. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press

(This Stanford Business School professor lays out the research that demonstrates that long-term organizational success (including profits) is tied to management concern for employees. He cites troubling evidence that conventional management wisdom is often wrong and contrary to this research (excessive organizational focus on costs and rewarding short-term financial results rather than people management). Pfeffer believes that it takes courage for corporate leaders to abandon conventional wisdom and design strategies centered on employees, because this means abandoning the crowd.)

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  • Schon, D. A. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner. New York, NY: BasicBooks

    (In this classic text, adult learning and change expert Donald Schon lays out his basic theories about how professionals develop new skills through purposeful reflection.)

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  • Stacey, Ralph D. (1999). Strategic Management & Organisational Dynamics: The Challenge of Complexity. Third Edition. New York: Financial Times Prentice Hall.

    (A comprehensive management text book which traces the development of the field and also presents some of the author’s work on complexity, including the helpful certainty and agreement matrix.)

  • Wenger, Etienne (July - August, 1996). "Communities of Practice: The Social Fabric of a Learning Organization." Healthcare Forum Journal, pp. 20-26.

    (Some fresh ideas about how to foster genuine learning in organizations. Many of the suggestions are consistent with complexity principles.)

 
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General Interest
These works by scientists underpin
some aspects of complexity



   
  • New Article by Paul Trachtman (February, 2000).
    "Redefining Robots." Smithsonian, 97-112.

    A fascinating report on Mark Tilden's surprisingly life-like robots that learn and remember.

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  • Bohm, David. (1980). Wholeness and the Implicate Order. London: Routledge.

    (Tom Petzinger annotation - "The great quantum physicist delves into the holistic structure of everything. A powerful (if mathematically daunting, in parts) book.")

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  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

    (Tom Petzinger annotation - "A wondrous examination of consciousness and happiness as emergent phenomena, based on research by the University of Chicago psychologist. The only self-help book I recommend.")

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  • Hoagland,Mahlon and Dodson, Bert.(1995). The Way Life Works: The Science Lover's Illustrated Guide to How Life Grows, Develops, Reproduces and Gets Along.

    (An authors' note sums it up the well: "When we-biologists and artists-first met in 1988, we discovered that we all shared a fascination with the unity of life-how deep down, all living creatures from bacteria to humans, use the same materials and ways of doing things. We began exploring ways we might share our wonder with others, and came to believe we could achieve our purpose through an intimate merging of science and art. In the process, we hoped to persuade our audience that a deeper understanding of nature would enhance their appreciation of its beauty-and thereby enrich their lives.")

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  • Leopold, Aldo. (1987). A Sand County Almanac And Sketches Here and There. New York: Oxford University Press..

    "View this beautiful work as a gift from one of the first ecologists and the acknowledged father of wildlife conservation to all those seeking a deeper understanding of nature's complex living systems, our biota. Leopold's perceptive insights foretold many of the essential principles of complex adaptive systems."

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  • Smoot, George. (1994). Wrinkles In Time. New York, NY: Avon.

    (A story by perhaps the greatest living cosmologist of his discovery, which Stephen Hawking called the "most important of the century, if not of all time," confirming the big bang theory and leading to an understanding that matter is not distributed uniformly throughout the universe. As he traces the development of the universe from the moment of creation until the present, he outlines some of the most basic principles of life, such as phase transitions and the increasing complexity of life’s systems. Would be surprised if some of life’s basics did not show up in organizations.)  Read summary.


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  • Volk, Tyler. (1995). Metapatterns: Across Space, Time, and Mind. NY: Columbia University Press.

    (Not specifically arising out of complexity science per se, this book offers a remarkable journey through "metapatterns" of nature and society that are in many ways congruent with similar patterns being revealed in complexity theory. A very exciting and inspiring read!)

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  • Wilson, Edward O. (1992). The Diversity of Life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    (This world famous biologist and Pulitzer Prize winner explores the fundamental role played by diversity in earth’s living systems.)

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  • Wilson, Edward O. (1994). Naturalist. Washington, DC: Shearwater Books.

    (Edward Wilson tells the story of his life and his many path-breaking scientific discoveries, a number of which (i.e. self-organization, simple rules, biodiversity) were central to the development of the science of complexity.)

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  • Wilson, Edward O. (1998) Consilience: Unity of Knowledge, New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.

(Another groundbreaking endeavor by one of the most respected and broadest thinking scientists of our time. This Pulitzer Prize winning author and world famous biologist showcases his argument for what he calls consilience - proof that everything in our world is governed by a small number of fundamental natural laws.)

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  • Axelrod, Robert and Cohen, Michael D. (2000) Harnessing Complexity: Organizational Implications of a Scientific Frontier.

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