Bootstrapping complexity

So, last week I posted my remix of Kevin Kelly’s book “Out of Control”. And soon after putting the remix online, I sent a note with a link to Kevin Kelly to make him aware of the remix, hoping that he would approve.

He did approve. Much more than I expected. And it didn’t take him long to reply:

I LOVE the remix! I wish you had been my editor. There is only one thing missing from this fantastic remix – a better title. I was never happen with the book’s title and now that it is more focused, the need is even greater. What would you call it?

Whoa! Initially, I hadn’t considered changing the title as I wanted to make it as clear as possible where the material came from. Good titles are notoriously difficult to find, and I’m sure that Kevin has thought quite a bit about this one.

Considering the remix as a new whole work, I found that it was the notion of bootstrapping and self-organization that had kept me reading the book initially: the recurring patterns of self-sustaining systems, which I knew were to be summed up at the end of the book. What appealed to me was the fact that the book not only describes self-organisation but also invites further experimentation.

So I picked my title with that in mind: “Bootstrapping Complexity” plays on the fact that the book not only describes how complexity comes about but also how complex a venture self-organization really is. In this way, the title meant to signal a positive empowerment to explore self-organization – both by reading the book and by experimenting on the basis of the book.

I’ve updated the remix with the new title. The new PDF version is here.


  1. Dear Andreas,

    Congratulations with your enterprise. It is really worth the book.
    The title sounds good. Yet I want to know what you really had in mind when you used this term as a title. Self-organizing is to my mind not really bootstrapping of nature, although it may be linked to it.
    Bootstrapping needs a mechanism and I wonder if you really describe that mechanism.
    I link bootstrapping with Rescher’s idea of complexity as self-potentiating, which is more powerful than self-organizing.
    But the question remains: what turns complexity into bootstrapping complexity.
    Maybe you can inform me about your ideas on that.

    Ton Jorg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *