Twenty-five years ago, a young Harvard liberal-arts graduate named James Gleick, then working for the New York Times, became fascinated by an emerging body of science that examined the world not as an orderly chain of being but as a complex, scarcely predictable, sometimes scarcely comprehensible mess of events.
A quarter-century—and a few stock-market crashes, the fall of empires and the decline of civilizations—later, the idea of a chaotic world is commonplace. That is in large part due to the success of Gleick’s book, which made the so-called Butterfly Effect a household term. But 25 years is a couple of lifetimes in science, and there this lively enhanced e-book comes in. In video clips throughout, Gleick—who introduces himself as a journalist, not a scientist—offers brief updates on developments since the original publication. Otherwise, the enhanced version contains the canonical text of the book, with its thorough index and hot-linked words in text that lead, without difficulty, to the extensive back-of-book notes, from which it is easy to navigate back to the main text. Tap on the illustrations, and they fill the screen; readers may wish only that there were more of them. The team at OpenRoad obviously devoted good effort to making this a stable, nearly un-crashable e-book.
Compared to the current paperback edition of the book, the enhanced e-book edition is a bargain, and a very well-made and well-organized artifact indeed.