Finished Reading: Emergence By Steven Johnson

Cover of "Emergence: The Connected Lives ...

Cover via Amazon

I finished Emergence by Steven Johnson over the weekend and even though I had read it around three years ago I took a lot from it this time. It is amazing with emergent behavior that ants, brains, cities and even software have so much in common. I became interested in this because of the stock market and how it is a complex adaptive system and the effects of emergent behavior on it. This also makes me want to read Out of Control by Kevin Kelly to get a better understanding of this subject.

I love this quote from page 234 of the book:

“But understanding emergence has always been about giving up control, letting the system govern itself as much as possible, letting it learn from the footprints.”

This statement helped me realize even as a county commissioner, that there are certain parts of county government that I should study and see if they would run more efficiently as bottom-up as ants and cities do. Also, in studying companies in which to invest, how does using emergent behavior make these companies more efficient and effective.


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