The study of economics and the physical sciences has been an interest of mine for some time.  Over the past two years I have been seeking examples of the application of nonlinear dynamics and complexity theory in economic research.  It turns out it’s a hot new field!

The journey led me to unexpected discussions in areas such as political science, sociology, anthropology, language theory, cognitive science, computer science and finance.  For example, Albin’s search for a scale from which to measure degrees of complexity in his dynamical models led him to Chomsky’s early work on defining the complexity of languages.  That was a pleasant surprise to me!

Reflecting on my readings it occurred to me that a mapping of the books I came across might be illuminating.  Using a neat program named iThoughts, I created a map (below) that graphically presents the linkages between subject matter, author and book.

Many of the books in the map are technical .  I do own all of these books.  Some I have read multiple times and many have become “go-to” reference books.

A few of my very favorite titles are listed below:

  • Adam’s Fallacy – Duncan Foley
  • Barriers and Bounds to Rationality – Peter Albin
  • Currency Wars – James Rickards
  • Debt:  The first 5000 years – David Graeber
  • Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos – Steven Strogratz
  • On Anarchism – Noam Chomsky
  • The Self Made Tapestry – Philip Ball

All of the books in this shortened list are approachable by anybody except Albin and Strogratz (These two being quite technical). Albin’s book contains an introduction by Duncan Foley that is the best overview description of complexity theory I have ever read (and I have read a few).  It’s a treat.  Strogratz is one of those rare teachers that can make the hard easy.

Use this link to obtain a PDF document that possesses working hyperlinks to (the image below does not have active hyperlinks).