Complexity: A Guided Tour
A lovely book that acts as a survey of the wide world of disciplines and research that could fit under the banner of “complexity.”
There are a lot: network/graph theory, cellular automaton, self-organization systems, Turing machines, power laws, evolution, etc. Mitchell covers each one, and circles back at the end to discuss the (sometimes controversial) state of complexity science and research.
The subtitle of “a guided tour” is apt. Mitchell doesn’t go too deep on any one thing. She covers a survey of all sorts of things from a distance. Each one refers back to previous ones, but not so much that you have to have incremental understanding. There were absolutely subjects that mystified me (ex: The Halting Problem), but I still love the book as a whole.
If you have even a passing interest in complexity theory and complex systems but don’t know where to start – this is your book.