Reading this book
This is a long book densely packed with ideas and results, and to read all of it carefully is a major undertaking. The first section of Chapter 1 provides a basic—though compressed—overview of some of key ideas. Chapter 2 describes some of the basic results that led me to develop the new kind of science in the book. Every subsequent chapter in one way or another builds on earlier ones. Some people will probably find the sweeping conclusions of the final chapter of the book the most interesting; others will probably be more interested in specific results and applications in earlier chapters.
These notes are never necessary for the basic flow of any of the arguments I make in the book—though they often provide context and important supporting information, as well as considerable amounts of new primary material. Specialists in particular fields should be sure to read the notes that relate to their fields before they draw any final conclusions about what I have to say.
I have written this book with considerable care, and I believe that to those seriously interested in its contents, it will repay careful and repeated reading. Note that in the main text I have tried to emphasize important points by various kinds of stylistic devices. But in packing as much as possible into these notes I have often been unable to do this. And in general these notes have a high enough information density that it will be rare that everything they say can readily be assimilated in just one reading, even if it is quite careful.