豆瓣评分: 8.4


From one of the most influential scientists of our time, a dazzling exploration of the hidden laws that govern the life cycle of everything from plants and animals to the cities we live in. Visionary physicist Geoffrey West is a pioneer in the field of complexity science, the science of emergent systems and networks. The term “complexity” can be misleading, however, because what makes West’s discoveries so beautiful is that he has found an underlying simplicity that unites the seemingly complex and diverse phenomena of living systems, including our bodies, our cities and our businesses. Fascinated by aging and mortality, West applied the rigor of a physicist to the biological question of why we live as long as we do and no longer. The result was astonishing, and changed science: West found that despite the riotous diversity in mammals, they are all, to a large degree, scaled versions of each other. If you know the size of a mammal, you can use scaling laws to learn everything from how much food it eats per day, what its heart-rate is, how long it will take to mature, its lifespan, and so on. Furthermore, the efficiency of the mammal’s circulatory systems scales up precisely based on weight: if you compare a mouse, a human and an elephant on a logarithmic graph, you find with every doubling of average weight, a species gets 25% more efficient—and lives 25% longer. Fundamentally, he has proven, the issue has to do with the fractal geometry of the networks that supply energy and remove waste from the organism’s body. West’s work has been game-changing for biologists, but then he made the even bolder move of exploring his work’s applicability. Cities, too, are constellations of networks and laws of scalability relate with eerie precision to them. Recently, West has applied his revolutionary work to the business world. This investigation has led to powerful insights into why some companies thrive while others fail. The implications of these discoveries are far-reaching, and are just beginning to be explored. Scale is a thrilling scientific adventure story about the elemental natural laws that bind us together in simple but profound ways. Through the brilliant mind of Geoffrey West, we can envision how cities, companies and biological life alike are dancing to the same simple, powerful tune.


Geoffrey West is a theoretical physicist whose primary interests have been in fundamental questions in physics and biology. West is a Senior Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory and a distinguished professor at the Sante Fe Institute, where he served as the president from 2005-2009. In 2006 he was named to Time’s list of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.”


@ 慕容复 Highly recommended! It looks at life and death by integrating a physicist’s angles with sociologist’s perspectives, and compares the commonalities and differences as far as lifecycle is concerned among animals, human beings, companies, cities, … very inspirational. @ clover 一个跨界物理学家竟能取得这么多成就!想去Santa Fe Institute朝圣 @ 麦克疯 希望West活到超过120! 把这些研究再推动推动 @ 麦克疯 希望West活到超过120! 把这些研究再推动推动 @ Sparton 生物学思维还是很有好处的,英文也很优美 @ interskh 再一次被物理学家的视角震撼到了。想认知世界,还是物理学家和数学家最牛逼。减掉的一分因为实在太罗嗦,扯了太多故事和人物介绍,看着忒辛苦。最后对奇点的解释没明白,为啥突然就superexponential了。然后扯到公司也有点牵强。 @ Ed121 有点车轱辘话了 @ clover 一个跨界物理学家竟能取得这么多成就!想去Santa Fe Institute朝圣


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