The Social Atom

The Social Atom

Why the Rich Get Richer, Cheaters Get Caught, and your Neighbor Usually Looks Like You

Book - 2007
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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 neighborhoodswill 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.


REVIEWS:
"...offer fascinating ways to approach worldly problems." - USA Today Click here to see the full review from USA Today
"beguiling behavorial study...he's on to something big."- Bloomberg News


"Likely the Blink or Freakonomics of 2007, theoretical physicist Buchanan's new book explains how we replicate the behavior of people we admire, and stick close to people with shared fundamental bonds such as ethnic heritage."- Time Out Chicago "Everything we think about why we do what we do is wrong because we can't help but think and act like individuals, understanding the world around us with anecdote and simple stories. But as Mark Buchanan brilliantly demonstrates with examples from the world all around us, there's a bigger force at work that explains the world far better. Surprisingly, th

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury : Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers, 2007
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9781596910133
1596910135
Branch Call Number: 302.35 B918s 2007
Characteristics: xii, 242 p. : ill. ; 22 cm

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StarGladiator
Jun 14, 2014

So, did this pop physicist predict Brat's creaming of Eric Cantor in the republican primary in Virginia? Didn't think so . . . . In this book's description: The idiosyncrasies of human decision-making have confounded economists and social theorists for years. Umm.....few so-called economists today even understand credit default swaps [unregulated insurance fraud], rehypothecation, securitization, et cetera. No doubt there are volumes of fundamental information they also can't comprehend.

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crm57d
Mar 18, 2014

Argues convincingly that social "patterns" such as wealth distribution, genocides, segregated neighborhoods, and many etc., can arise mathematically from simple explanations of human interaction. Implies continuing dynamism rather than the equilibrium much of economic and social theory assumes.

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