The Human Network PDF/EPUB ¸ The Human eBook


The Human Network A fresh and intriguing look at how our hidden positions in various social structures or human networks shape how we think and behave how our very outlook on life is formed by a distinguished professor of economics at Stanford University Ineuality social immobility and political polarization are but a few crucial phenomena driven by the inevitability of social structures Social structures determine who has power and influence can explain why people fail to assimilate basic facts and can help us understand patterns of contagion from the spread of disease to financial crises Despite their primary role in shaping our lives human networks are often overlooked when we try to account for our most important political and economic behaviors and trends This book illuminates the complexity of the social networks in which we are positioned sometimes unwittingly and can help us to better undertstand why we are who we are as individuals Ranging across disciplines psychology behavioral economics sociology and business and rich with historical analogies and anecdotes The Human Network provides an eye opening and fascinating account of what can drive success or failure in life This book is a blisteringly fast paced high level survey of an area of economic theory that has growing influence and is largely driven by people like Jackson and Kleinberg This is a particularly strong area of study for Cornell's Economics and Information Science programs Although economists typically consider Network Economics to be heterodox or interdisciplinary it has grown to meet the challenges of accounting for externalities in spaces where formerly externalities were phantoms of assumed linear market structuresThis book provides something of an interest especially to economists information scientists and communications scholars Although this book is very high level and gives case after case of successes of the methods of networks it also offers an interesting take on how people can organize and in some cases can't organize to better their lives in a way that is easy to digest Also this book serves as a who's who for theory concepts related to the field But yet there seems to be some missing parts This book is a particularly political one in that it hides some names of real importance to the field This is an attempt to align network economic theory as a counterpart to neoclassical economic theory and Keynesian approaches to policy that is to say politically centerist arguments about the goals of network economic arguments What it does not come as close to mentioning is the fundamentals that come from Hayek and the following neo Austrian movement in modeling for limited information problems in decision making Although this book has been highly recommended by Mechanism Design theorists Maskin and Myerson this does not come an inch closer to mentioning their fellow Nobel Laurette Leonid Hurwicz or his student Myrna Wooders at Vanderbilt who is extremely well cited in areas of networked policy and game theory methods This seems to be somewhat of an oversight or perhaps an explicit political gestureOtherwise I am very pleased with this book as a consumerinformational level read that offers very informed takes on where economics is moving in terms of theory in a highly informational world Lesson of this book Don‘t worry if you don‘t have any friends you‘re less likely to get infections and diseasesJust kidding nevertheless I found it really interesting how the author got into diseases and how they spread especially looking at the current situation that fits the topicHere are some notes I took while readingChapter 2 Power and Influence Central Positions in Networks To have power it’s always best to be uniuely positioned to coordinate others Being the bridge between others and being able to do special favours like the Godfather for example will give you a power position in the network People can still be influential if they only have few contacts and networks if those contacts are influential themselves Rich gets richer concept central people are easier to findmeet and therefore make new friends fasterChapter 3 Difussion and Contagion over half of the people of an american high school 288 people are connected romantically andor sexually to each other even though each individual only has had on average 1 or 2 partners during the course of 18 months this explains how fast and wide a sexual disease can spread even though individuals aren‘t sleeping with a lot of people but they are part of the big network of course this is only a study done in one high school but it‘s about the basic principle interesting excours about the plague in the middle ages Chapter 5 Homophily Houses DividedHomophily you like people that are the same as you and are likely to spend time with them marry them and befriend them gender race income In an american high school friendships are than 15 times likely between the same race than across race In a study 60 % of Women named a Woman their closest friend and 90 % of Men named a Man their closest friendChapter 6 Immobility and Ineuality There are Income differences between students who studied the same at the same college because of social connections of the parents even low paid side jobs eg in a bakery or recycling hire almost entirely by word of mouth because of bad expieriences with random people from the street This is true for where I live you‘re very likely to get your side jobstudent job because one of your friends or siblings work there or because your neighbour knows someone there etc at least thats true for all of my previous jobs and my friends jobs 50 75 % to jobs are found trough contacs „like it or not your fate is closely connected to that of your friends If they are well situated they can help you“ small acuaintances also count the person who sat next to you in history class could be the person you bump into on the street and puts you in touch with your new employer when they hear you are between jobs only 16 of jobs found through contacts come from strong ties the rest from medium or weak tiesAll in all an interesting book a bit repetitive towards the end but that‘s often the case with non fiction If you thought this was a self development book on motivating you to get better position in terms of networking this is not that book Well not uite Still a lot of big ideas to implementThis is where an economics writing for sure written by an economisteconomics professor of Stanford University collides with social issues of networking ranging from making friends and dating and choosing college to contagion of disease to banking system and world's socio economic ineualityAs an International Political Economy student I truly enjoyed this book I've learned a lot from how centrality and influence of our friends really matter how humans used to network historically Ivy League and its privilege microfinancing Chinese guanxi and overall how our social positions could be analyzed through data used in economics Jackson also provides uite a number of charts and graphs on how the nodes of networking work His style of writing is actually very simple and he brought several interesting illustration to complement Considering how this book is actually deeply academics he wrote it in a style where the readers can easily understand his ideas I recommend this book if you enjoy reading about social issues and economy This was a very informative book Detailed enough to really get into the subject and short enough not to be daunting It's not a light reading but it definitely is worth a read

  • Hardcover
  • 352 pages
  • The Human Network
  • Matthew O. Jackson
  • 01 September 2014
  • 9781101871430

About the Author: Matthew O. Jackson

Matthew O Jackson is a professor of Economics at Stanford University He has been researching social and economic networks for than twenty five years


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