Book Review: Linked by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi

November 9, 2006 - Get free updates of new posts here

Are you on MySpace? Are you old school and have a Friendster account? Do you remember the website Six Degrees? My friend Noah Brier lent me this book in New York and I was surprised I never heard about it before. I would say this book laid the foundation for all research on social networks.

Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means

This book really is the foundation for tipping point and all social networks today. However, the book is a bit repetitive and overly technical in some places. Some highlights from the book include:

  • The real history of how the theory of 6 degrees of separation began.
  • How the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon game started.
  • How computer viruses spread and how Mafiaboy used networks to take down Yahoo!, eBay and Amazon.
  • The success of hubs and nodes and how people like Vernon Jordan became ‘networked’.
  • Power laws, Metcalfe’s law and other ways to track growth of networks.

Noah’s Recommendation: Don’t buy it. Read the reviews at Amazon to get a sense of the book. If you really want to know the history behind 6 degrees of separation and networks in general then you should read it.

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3 responses to “Book Review: Linked by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi

  1. Bjorn Reply

    i must say your website’s getting more and more engaging. I haven been back in a month and i am guilty of it, i know. ;P but i read till this far and what i want to say is i read the book linked as part of my thesis.

    Its really good for the academically inclined to get clued in on networks but the only good part is probably about 2-3 chapters in the middle right after barabasi started talking about scale-free networks after the erdos and renyi section and before he started talking about the technical details of his work…

    i had some new ideas on structuring networks for personal networking and online user interaction after reading such heavy stuff so it might be useful for those who want a fresh perspective on social networks..