Paul’s New Book is Published
Paul Ormerod, Volterra Partner and co-founder, and author of the bestselling Butterfly Economics and Why Most Things Fail, has completed a fourth book that hits the book shelves in July. ‘Positive Linking: How Networks Revolutionise the World’ shows us the limits of conventional economics and why it needs to embrace the power of networks – through the ’positive linking’ of the book’s title.
Our social and economic worlds have been revolutionised. The Internet has transformed communications and for the first time in human history, more than half of us live in cities. We are increasingly aware of the choices, decisions, behaviours and opinions of other people. Network effects – the fact that a person can and often does decide to change his or her behaviour simply on the basis of copying what others do – pervade the modern world.
The financial crisis has shown us that conventional economics is drastically limited by its failure to comprehend networks. Paul Ormerod, argues that as our societies become ever more dynamic and intertwined, network effects on every level are increasingly profound. ‘Nudge theory’ is popular, but only part of the answer. To grapple successfully with the current financial crisis, businesses and politicians need to grasp the perils and possibilities of ‘positive linking’.
As Ormerod shows, network effects make conventional approaches to policy, whether in the public or corporate sectors, much more likely to fail. But they open up the possibility of truly ‘positive linking’ – of more subtle, effective and successful policies, ones which harness our knowledge of network effects and how they work in practice.
The book is based on Paul’s Royal Society of Arts pamphlet ‘N squared: public policy and the power of networks’. A podcast of Paul’s talk on this at the RSA in November 2010 is here. There is a Financial Times op-ed piece here.
An finally, of course, order your copy of Paul’s new book here!