Book Reviews: The Trouble with Physics, Not Even Wrong

Two recent popular science books provide a startling peek into the deep scientific and sociological troubles in the world of superstring theory. Not Even Wrong by Peter Woit and The Trouble with Physics by Lee Smolin together triangulate the core of the trouble. If you, like me, have been distracted from the foundational problems of physics by the ongoing two-decade fascination with chaos and complexity in the popular literature, now is the time to get back to observing the “deep” stuff. It is starting to get seriously interesting again.

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Book Review: Wikinomics

Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams

Despite the name, which suggests both a me-too jumping on the Levitt/Dubner Freakonomics bandwagon and a possible reductive identification of all evolving Web technologies with wikis, this is a surprisingly good book, written at a calibrated level of abstraction, with a tasteful blend of concepts, anecdotes and statistics. It has none of the anecdotes-of-a-gunslinger-economist machismo of Freakonomics, and the wiki in the title is synecdoche, not reductive imagining.

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