Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

I have many people and places to thank for their assistance with my efforts on this book. A decision by the Santa Fe Institute and Princeton University Press to create a series of books demonstrating the advances in the science of complexity was the impetus for this particular book. ...

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Prelude: The Meaning of Diversity

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pp. 1-15

In writing this book, I have been fortunate to be guided and motivated by the efforts of an incredible collection of scholars. The study of diversity and complexity attracts a vast array of scholars from multiple disciplines whose passion, intelligence, and energy inspire awe. ...

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1: On Diversity and Complexity

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pp. 16-53

In this chapter, I pose and answer some basic questions. What is diversity? What is complexity? And, why link diversity and complexity—what does one have to do with the other? First, diversity. Diversity applies to populations or collections of entities. A ball bearing cannot be diverse. Nor can a flower. Diversity requires multitudes. ...

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2: Measuring Diversity

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pp. 54-78

To move beyond loose, informal characterizations of diversity requires formal measures. Without measures, we can at best make qualitative comparisons.11 Any foray into measures obliges the reader to acquire notation, definitions, and subtle distinctions that may lack immediate context and lends an austerity to the text, but so be it. ...

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3: The Creation and Evolution of Diversity

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pp. 79-126

The natural world supports incredible diversity: there are more than thirty thousand species of ants and millions of species of beetles. The British scientist J.B.S. Haldane reputedly once quipped, “the Creator, if he exists, has an inordinate fondness for beetles.” The world constructed by humans has amazing diversity as well: ...

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4: Constraints on Diversity

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pp. 127-147

In this chapter I take up the question of why we see tremendous diversity in some places and not so much in others. For example, why thousands of species of trees but only two species of elephants? Why do rolls of household toilet paper come in one size, while facial tissue is packaged in a range of sizes from larger than a breadbox to smaller than a deck of cards? ...

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5: Variation in Complex Systems

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pp. 148-166

In this chapter I focus on the roles that variation plays in complex systems. Prior to taking on that topic, I provide some scaffolding for what’s to follow. One of my main points will be that variation enhances system level robustness. Therefore, it’s necessary first to clarify the concept of robustness and to distinguish it from stability. ...

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6: Diversity’s Inescapable Benefits I: Averaging

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pp. 167-182

I now begin an analysis of the effects of diverse types on complex systems. I start with two (almost) inescapable benefits of diversity. These benefits go a long way toward explaining why scientifically minded people believe in the value of diversity. ...

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7: Diversity’s Inescapable Benefits II: Diminishing Returns to Types

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pp. 183-195

In this chapter, I show how diminishing returns to type provide a second inescapable benefit of diversity. When diminishing returns to type are present, diverse collections do best. Suppose we had an empirical question as to whether diversity improves performance in some context. ...

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8: Diversity’s Impact in Complex Systems

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pp. 196-248

In the previous two chapters I showed how diversity can improve system performance through averaging and diminishing returns to type. Those results assumed limited interactions between diverse types, and therefore few or no synergies. In this chapter, I describe the myriad ways in which diversity impacts complex systems when interactions are present. ...

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9: Parting Thoughts

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pp. 249-256

In this book, I have introduced definitions and measures of diversity and relied on simple models to explore the effects of diversity in complex systems. I’ve devoted less time to empirical facts about levels of diversity in economic, social, and biological systems. I chose that path not because I deem the facts unimportant. ...

Bibliography

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pp. 257-270

Notes

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pp. 271-280

Index

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pp. 281-291