Books et al.COMPLEXITY

Seeing the forest for the trees

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Science  27 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6229, pp. 1426
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa5153

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"Approximate first, and worry later," says author Sanjoy Mahajan. "Otherwise you never start, and you can never learn that the approximations would have been accurate enough—if only you had gathered the courage to make them." The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering acts a step-by-step guide that enables the reader to tackle fundamental scientific problems through simple back-of-the-envelope calculations. Reviewer Sybil Derrible praises Mahajan's approach to thinking "beyond the equation", and suggests that students, researchers, and teachers will all find value in the reasoning tools described in the book.