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Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread-The Lessons from a New Science (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 30. Januar 2014

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  • Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread-The Lessons from a New Science
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Pressestimmen

The Economist:
Social Physics is filled with rich findings about what makes people tick. Using millions of data points measured over a long period of time in real settings, which Pentland calls ‘living laboratories,’ the author has monitored human behavior on an unprecedented scale…Pentland’s research also offers lessons for policymakers and business people. He advances a new way to protect privacy by creating something of a property right for personal information…Social Physics is a fascinating look at a new field by one of its principal geeks.”

John Abele, Co-Founder, Boston Scientific:
“Understanding, predicting and influencing human behavior has been the goal of social scientists (and leaders anywhere) since the beginning of time. Pentland’s Social Physics is a major contribution to this field. By using communication tracking analysis and occasionally human sensors along with big data, he and his team are evolving a new discipline with a unique taxonomy and ontology that brings a higher level of quantification and rigor to a challenging and inherently complex field. Like Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds it will spawn further work and research in a rapidly expanding new body of knowledge.”

John Seely Brown, Former Chief Scientist, Xerox Corporation and director of Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC):
“Read this book and you will look at tomorrow differently. Reality mining is just the first step on an exciting new journey. Social Physics opens up the imagination to what might now be measurable and modifiable. It also hints at what may lie beyond Adam Smith’s invisible hand in helping groups, organizations and societies reach new levels of meaning creation. This is not just social analytics. It also offers pragmatic ways forward.”

Reed E. Hundt, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, CEO of the Coalition for Green Capital:
“From his MIT aerie, eagle-eyed Alex Pentland has seen the future. His wise and stimulating book teaches us how ideas spring up, flow, and spread. Applying his lessons, we can act collectively to solve previously intractable social, economic and political problems. We can make organizations more productive. We can even have government achieve its proper purposes, with greater fairness and less cost. As challenges like widening inequality and runaway climate change seem to exceed our ability to design solutions, Pentland’s data-driven, reality-based, yet sunny optimism about tomorrow should be eagerly welcomed by all readers.”

Stephen M. Kosslyn, Former Dean of Social Science, Harvard University; Former Director, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University; Founding Dean, Minerva Schools at KGI:
“Sandy Pentland lives in the future—and it shows. This book will not only whisk you up to speed on cutting-edge research at the interface of technology, behavioral science, and the social world, but it will also give you a good sense of what could be next. Professor Pentland brilliantly analyzes how new ideas flow and how, with the emergence of the ‘data-driven society,’ they will increasingly influence every aspect of our lives.”

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Alex "Sandy" Pentland directs MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program and co-leads the World Economic Forum Big Data and Personal Data initiatives. He helped create and direct MIT’s Media Laboratory, the Media Lab Asia laboratories at the Indian Institutes of Technology, and Strong Hospital’s Center for Future Health. His research group and entrepreneurship program have spun off more than thirty companies to date. In 2012 Forbes named Pentland one of the seven most powerful data scientists in the world. His research has been featured in Nature, Science, and Harvard Business Review.


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Format: Kindle Edition
The main argument: The sciences that focus on human behavior, meaning the social sciences, have traditionally relied mainly on surveys and lab experiments in their investigations. While valuable to a degree, these sources of evidence do have their shortcomings. Most significantly, surveys offer but indirect evidence of human behavior (and can also be compromised by deception and self-deception); while lab experiments tend to be somewhat artificial, and fail to capture the complexities of real life.

Recently, however, new digital technology has opened up a whole new way to study human behavior. This proves to be the case since mobile devices and sensors of all kinds are now able to record a dizzying array of human activity—everything from where we go, to what we buy, to whom we interact with and for how long, to our body language, and even our moods etc. When placed in the hands of social scientists these new sources of information can prove very valuable (and are far preferable than either surveys or lab experiments); for they allow scientists to study us in our natural environments—out in the real world—and they also allow scientists to study what we actually do, rather than what we say (which are sometimes quite different).

The method of investigating human behavior in our natural environments using digital technology has come to be called reality mining, and it is revolutionizing the social sciences.

One of the pioneers and leaders in the field of reality mining is Alex Pentland, a researcher out of MIT. Pentland’s main field of interest is using reality mining to explore the properties and patterns of interactions between people—what he calls social physics.
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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Ich habe mir dieses Buch gekauft, weil es auf wissenschaftlich-fundierter Basis erklärt, wie man produktiv sein kann. Der Autor sagt, dass man 50% der Effizienz eines Team mit IdeaFlow erklären kann.

IdeaFlow ist ein Konzept, dass aus Erkundung und Engagement besteht. Ein Team braucht neue Ideen von außen und muss anschließend zusammen halten um diese neuen Erkenntnisse umzusetzen und voneinander zu lernen.

Der Schreibstil ist unterhaltsam und es wird in verständlichem English beschrieben, wie die verschiedenen Studien aufgenommen wurden.

Das besondere bei den Studien ist die Nutzung von vielen Sensoren, wie Smartphones oder Aktivitätstrackern und die Beobachtung einer Gruppe über einen größeren Zeitraum. Dabei werden Millionen von Datenpunkten gesammelt. Dieses Konzept wir als Living Lab bezeichnet.

Der Autor wird nicht müde darauf hinzuweisen, dass er neben seinen Studenten, die alle namentlich genannt werden, immer auch selbst an den verschiedenen Experimenten, Doktorarbeiten und Unternehmen beteiligt ist.

Insgesamt ein wichtiges Buch für die populäre Wissenschaft, welches hilfreich ist um menschliche Strukturen zu verstehen und optimal aufzusetzen.
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I happened to read the interview that Alex Pentland gave to DER SPIEGEL some months ago. After that I was very curious to learn more about social physics. Thus, I have ordered a copy of the book and started reading. This book is written for the public and I found it to be a real turnpager. The author describes his fascinating ideas in a very comprehensible way.

Nearly all of us are working in teams together with very different people and many of us have asked ourselves why some projects succeed and some become a complete desaster. In my opinion, often the so-called "chemistry" between the co-workers is a crucial aspect for success (unless the project is useless from the very first moment). So far, this might just have been a suspicion and no one was able to really measure the quantity and quality of cooperation (of course you can look at the result, but by then it might be too late) .

Alex Pentland has developed the software tools to measure and analyse the chemistry or better say the physics between people that work together or even live together in larger groups, villages or cities. Alex Pentland's working horse is the smartphone. He uses it as an intelligent sensor to monitor whom people meet, how they talk, how active they are and so on. In his book there are instructive examples that show how his analyses help to improve work-flow and outcome. Thus, social science becomes to a large extent computer science on big data.
I know that many people (especially in Germany) see much potential for misuse of the sensitive data that have to be collected for such a social physics survey.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x99ffbfc0) von 5 Sternen 85 Rezensionen
49 von 52 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x99faa7e0) von 5 Sternen Endless self promotion ruins the book 16. Februar 2014
Von A Synthetic Biologist - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Why did the author write this book? Was it to inform the public about the recent advances in sociology, made possible by our ability to constantly monitor people's behavior and use that "big data" to model social interaction in novel ways? Was the author specifically interested in informing the public about his research, because he wants us to share his excitement? Or is this book a simple self-serving attempt at self-promotion? This book appears to be mostly self-promotion, with some interesting research sprinkled throughout.

The book reads like a plea for a nobel prize, or maybe to drum up some venture capital support. Each chapter focuses on a specific research area of the author. In some cases, the author will also mention related research from other scientists. He then gives an example of how he was able to predict something new using his approach. That is OK, however it would be nice to learn about other research not originating from the author's lab. But in every case, the author then says something along the lines of, "This work was published in the Nature journal, Nature Communications", or something along those lines. This is off-putting and unnecessary - it just sounds like boasting. An example of the predictive power is more interesting to read than where it was published, and highlighting that is is a Nature-branded-journal just sounds shallow. He then follows it up with, my graduate student and I founded a company based on this work called "Millenia Informatics", or something along those lines. Uck. Neither of these last two points would be so off-putting if he ever made similar comments about other peoples successes, but he does not.

I was very annoyed by this format, and it made it difficult for me to engage with the book. However, the examples of how "big data" will change society for the better were mostly interesting, albeit mostly relegated to the author's own research.
47 von 50 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x99d5e4d4) von 5 Sternen Good material but not really new 7. Januar 2014
Von Dr. Cathy Goodwin - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
I was intrigued by the term "social physics," but ultimately agree with other reviewers: it's not clear why physics offers the best metaphor for explaining social interactions. I would agree with that reviewer: if you're going to use a metaphor, go with epidemiology.

But then the most frustrating part of the book is that there's no need for a new name. The authors address the points raised by other psychologists who study social influence. We are influenced by contact with our peers.

One of the more original concepts is the notion that we're influenced by observing behaviors of others, not just being with them. And being able to observe behavior is more important than the closeness we have to those being observed. That makes sense. As Pentland says, if we see lots of people eating donuts, it's easy to rationalize our own choices of bad food.

For the most part, the book just doesn't offer anything radically new. I chose 4 stars because the authors do introduce some new research techniques. Most likely the regular, non-ARC edition will be more helpful because readers will have access to charts and diagrams.

It would have been good to integrate the math into the main text and perhaps include some explanations for people who don't deal with equations every day. That step would make a contribution to differentiate the book from others on related topics.
65 von 73 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x99ebada4) von 5 Sternen Some Mildly Interesting Techniques for improving Communication-intensive Workplace Productivity 21. Februar 2014
Von Herbert Gintis - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
There is not much interesting social theory here, and the massive use of data is deployed for rather mundane ends. Of course idea-based enterprises should benefit from social science research. But the results are of limited interest beyond this use.

I was drawn to this book because I believe that better social theory demands better and more varied data for testing. But this book presents no social theory and tests nothing. It just is creative data mining. Boring to me.

I was continually assaulted by the author's self-promotion. This book is not for social scientists, but rather for businesses that might hire the author and his coworkers. Boring to me.
31 von 33 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x99d4e294) von 5 Sternen Too much self centric 2. März 2014
Von Augustus - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
It appears a biographical journey of the author at MIT disguised in the apron of social physics, that hides the message of the narrative.
24 von 25 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9b575738) von 5 Sternen good idea poor execution 24. April 2014
Von Ted Shaikewitz - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
The ideas behind this book seem good, but the author does not provide much hard evidence to back them up. Most evidence comes in the form of pointing out what esteemed journal published the data. The small area where I am knowledgeable contained inaccurate information. The book seems to be a paean to his isolated genius, and an advertisement for his many companies. I would have liked to see more use of the group wisdom that the book celebrates, and more real data.
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