This book’s aim is simple. To help you understand what networks are, how they form, what they look like, and how they evolve. This is a new framework, a web-based and interconnected view, for understanding the world and how to navigate it. Networks are present everywhere, we just need an eye to spot them

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Key Takeaways

  1. Amazingly simple and far reaching natural laws govern the structure and evolution of all the complex systems around us. This book will help us understand what those are and why networks from cells to the internet evolve similarly 
  2. Complexity doesn’t allow for us to understand how the parts make the whole. Reductionism breaks down with complexity 
  3. Everything is linked to everything else. We are only beginning to understand the role of complexity in nature and our lives. Networks will come to dominate our understanding of the world and how to navigate it
  4. The construction and structure of graphs (networks) are key to understanding the complex world around us. Small changes in the nodes or links open up new possibilities to emerge. Links (bridges, relationships, etc.) connect nodes. Although the networks all represent different realities, they are all composed of nodes and links. When you randomly add enough links and nodes, something special emerges. Such discipline has a different name for it, phase transition or community, but the network changes so that clusters of nodes connect everyone. 1 link per node is the critical threshold. Anything more than that and you get an interconnected web that communicates. Anything less, and you have a disparate network that doesn’t. As the number of links increases, the number of nodes left out decreases exponentially. Nature does not take risks. By staying close to the threshold. She builds in a large margin of safety 
  5. The power of the web is in the links. Geographic distance is no longer the barrier it once was
  6. Clustering and small world networks are extremely important characteristics. These characteristics help show that week links such as acquaintances help make the network more robust more efficient and more interconnected with fewer links. Take advantage of this in your life by maintaining many weak ties which can expose you to new groups and new information. These dense clusters are considered hubs “connectors” and destroy the random world theory. They are so well connected that they shorten the distance on average between nodes 
  7. The appearance of power laws (such as those exhibited by phase transitions) indicate a transition from disorder to order
  8. Networks always display growth which means the static random hypothesis no longer holds true and nodes are always being added
  9. In real life, linking is never random. Popularity leads to more popularity which leads to certain nodes being exponentially larger and more connected than others. Think Google, Amazon, Facebook and a fat tail of everyone else. This is also known as preferential attachment
  10. Most networks are not a winner take all. the rich get richer scenario. Instead, they are a fitness driven function that allows for the superior product to displace the incumbent
  11. In a networked economy, the hubs continuously get larger. This leads to M&A, making the large even larger. Understanding network effects is the key to surviving in a rapidly adopting, interconnected world 
  12. Too much control and organization slows things down today where power lies in links and ideas. This shifts organization from hierarchical to web-based. From top-down and linear to decentralized, flexible, and robust 
  13. In markets, you aim to drive the hardest possible bargain. But, in networks, you aim for win/win, relationships, reliance and indebtedness over the long haul. 

What I got out of it

  1. A great overview on networks and how prevalent they are in our every day lives. Understanding and honoring them will be valuable regardless of context, industry, or situation

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