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Publisher's Summary

The tendency to synchronize may be the most mysterious and pervasive drive in all of nature. It has intrigued some of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century, including Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Norbert Wiener, Brian Josephson, and Arthur Winfree.

At once elegant and riveting, Sync tells the story of the dawn of a new science. Steven Strogatz, a leading mathematician in the fields of chaos and complexity theory, explains how enormous systems can synchronize themselves, from the electrons in a superconductor to the pacemaker cells in our hearts. He shows that although these phenomena might seem unrelated on the surface, at a deeper level there is a connection, forged by the unifying power of mathematics.

©2003 Steven H. Strogatz (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Sync is a wonderfully lucid and thoroughly entertaining story of the emerging science of synchrony." (Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe, Professor of Physics and Mathematics, Columbia University)
"Inspiring... offers a real sense of what it's like to be at the beginning of Something Big." (New Scientist)
"Beautifully written and breathtaking in scope, SYNC tells both a personal and a scientific story." (Charles S. Peskin, Professor of Mathematics and Neural Science, New York University)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    166
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    134
  • 3 Stars
    54
  • 2 Stars
    22
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    10

Performance

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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    118
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    96
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    45
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    15
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    12

Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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    132
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    102
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    33
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    15
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    8
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Deep and comprehensive book about science of sync

This must be the best pop-sci book I've read this year. The reason I liked it is simply because it is deep and well written. Author really dives into details of how a particular research was done and how a particular phenomenon works. He provides metaphors, which are helpful, if somewhat obscure at times (though this provided a rich source of laughter for me). Being a scientist myself, I found his analogies quite precise and revealing.

Books like this one are rare. Most pop-sci books are 80% personal stories or anecdotal evidence, and only 20% science (good example is "The Talent Code" I read just before this book). This one is 20% stories, 80% science. And in this ratio stories can actually be enjoyable and funny.

I said it once and I'll say it again: leave the content of pop-sci books to actual scientists. They'll almost always do a better job than journalists.

The narration is OK. I didn't find any flaws except for mispronunciation of Christoph Koch's surname (he is German, so it is not what you would expect). I didn't particularly care for the intonations of the voice, I think for a scientific book they were at times a bit too dramatic.

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Excellent content, terrible reader

The content is awesome. The reader sounds like he's narrating ghost stories: slow, breathy, and mostly just weird. Use Audible's playback speed feature and set it at 1.5x and the reader's jarring voice becomes a non-issue.

But the book is friggin' cool for anyone interested in how order arises from disorder.

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  • Story

SYNCHRONICITY

Sync…is a puzzling audio book written about synchronicity by Steven Strogatz. It is puzzling because of its 4 out of 5 star review by Audible.com listeners. Strogatz’s audio book and his TED lecture and YouTube’ videos are difficult to appreciate. His theory of sync is broadly acclaimed by himself and others but utility appears either unclaimed or unexplained. Of course, science is science and utility often comes long after discovery.

Strogatz’s sync is a state of being that was unknown to the general public until his 2003 book. The theory of sync infers the truth of “spooky action at a distance” (aka “entanglement”) which may open a door to communication speeds greater than the speed-of-light. Such an improvement in communication speed would overturn a fundamental law of physics (nothing exceeds the speed of light, according to Einstein). When humans reach the stars, the principle of sync could make interstellar communication possible. Sync phenomena may be a critical component of humanity’s future but today it seems more like a magician’s parlor trick.

In the end, even if Strogatz is correct about sync, existence remains mired in an unpredictable, probabilistic, and chaotic world.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Headline much more interesting than content

What disappointed you about Sync?

"How Order Emerges from Chaos in the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life" .. wow now that should be really interesting I thought to myself upon reading the title... Well, I kept yawning my way throughout the first three chapters more than an hour later..

As I was unable to continue, my review may not be fair as I haven't listened to the whole book.. I just could not..

Would you ever listen to anything by Steven Strogatz again?

No, even at 1.25x speed...

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Worst book I have listened to. Don't waste yr time

What disappointed you about Sync?

The author is fascinated about fireflies, and it's mentioned throughout the book. There is little else in the book other than brief mention of other systems.
Certainly the title is misleading..

What could Steven Strogatz have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Not written it

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Slow robotic narration

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No

Any additional comments?

I ebony trust audible reviews again, only Amazon's

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • J
  • in a chair
  • 08-15-13

Good book, terrible reading

Any additional comments?

The reading of this book is truly terrible. The reader sounds like he is telling a ghost story, or perhaps having some kind of stomach spasm? ... for the whole book. He speaks absurdly slowly, with ridiculous annunciation, and a very breathy, tense voice. It's awful. I had to bump it up to 1.5x just to tolerate it.

The actual content of this book is quite good! I found parts to be too high-level and wanted a lot more detail, but Strogatz did explicitly state his intention to give a nontechnical overview of the topic, which he accomplished. It's interesting, covers many varied topics, and keeps a coherent scientific narrative. Plus added personal anecdotes about being a professional science researcher.

Recommended as a print book ... not recommended as an audiobook unless you like 1.5x speed.

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An Excellent Science Audio Book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book to friends interested in broadening their knowledge of curious sciences. This book skirts the pictures, formulas and diagrams which can be frustrating to listeners, but still delivers a deep understanding of the subject.

Sync is a terrific counterpart to James Gleick's Chaos. Strogatz and Gleick Both hint at the profound implication that everything relates to this self organizing property.

Any additional comments?

I know I'm giving all 5 stars to this review. I'm just a layperson, and this book did not fail to deliver thought provoking, real, material in an understandable way. Maybe a science major would have a lesser opinion, but I'd still feel we would agree it was a good audio book.

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  • Story

Insightful

What did you like best about Sync? What did you like least?

The simplistic intro to the topic enticed me to continue. It follows logic and can be applied to a variety of life situations.
The middle-end was a bit beyond what I was looking for, more technical than necessary for my interest.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Sync?

Snowflakes!

What aspect of Kevin T. Collins’s performance would you have changed?

For my interest, I would like for the author to continue with a more practical application of the subject. For other readers, this might be just what they're looking for.

Was Sync worth the listening time?

Not for me but I did not read through to the end.

Any additional comments?

Have a nice day!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Stretching the topic

If you could sum up Sync in three words, what would they be?

The subject of this book is synchronicity in nature, and perhaps the author stretches the meaning of the word to fit chaos theory and other sectors of physics. He is contrary to the Jungian thoughts of synchornicity and of scientists who favor Jung.

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  • Heidi
  • Maple Valley, WA, United States
  • 08-06-12

For the amateur scientist

Would you listen to Sync again? Why?

I will listen to this again if only to pull threads of my understanding in a little tighter. After listening to such an arc of theoretical/cutting edge science one tends to imagine the insights of sudden genius just lurking a hair breadth away.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The universe really...

Which scene was your favorite?

When Alan Alda walks into Strogatz's office

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. I wanted to and did savour the thoughts that bubbled up in between sections.

Any additional comments?

It is hard to know who will appreciate Sync, lovers of Science and Math certainly. But organizational theorists of every stripe should see something here as well.