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The Amazing Power of Networks: A (research-informed) choose your own destiny book

The Amazing Power of Networks: A (research-informed) choose your own destiny book

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The aim of the book is to show how we can take charge of our networks, in order to improve our chances of doing well in life, whatever our background. In particular, the book provides cutting-edge insights that readers can deploy to help make things better for themselves, their families and their wider communities.

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This book is about our connections to other people and the influence these networks exert over our lives. On the plus side, networks provide us with access to a multitude of resources: from aid and assistance to knowledge and norms. But at the same time, the relationships that link people (or not) are also responsible for a range of social ills.

For example, who you are connected to will determine your likely success at school, whether you will go to university, your future career, the neighbourhood in which you will live, who you will marry and whether or not you will die young.

Given their influence, the aim of the book is to show how we can take charge of our networks, in order to improve our chances of doing well in life, whatever our background. In particular, the book provides cutting-edge insights that readers can deploy to help make things better for themselves, their families and their wider communities. But this book also comes with a twist… better than just reading about networks is giving readers the opportunity to see for themselves how networks operate.

The best way to do this is through active exploration. Interleaved throughout this book, therefore, is the option for readers to embark on a research-informed journey, where readers get to decide which paths to take, which decisions to make and how best to tackle the obstacles that lay in their path. All good preparation for how to think about networks back in the real world…

About the Author

Chris Brown is Professor in Education at Durham University's School of Education. His own interest in networks began with a chance encounter and a leftfield conversation at the age of five, which resulted in a life-changing difference: the idea that after school, there was a thing called ‘university’. In addition to his lived experience in this area, Chris’ research activity is also focused on driving forward understanding as to how networks can be used to improve people’s life chances, as well as close the outcomes gaps that exist between the richest and poorest communities. This work has been recognized from its innovative nature. For example, in 2018 Chris received a Siftung Mercator Foundation Senior Fellowship, one of only six awarded annually. Other recent prizes received by Chris include the 2015 American Educational Research Association ‘Emerging Scholar’ award and the 2016 UCEA Jeffrey V. Bennett Outstanding International Research award. Chris was also recently awarded a significant research grant by the German Foundation Bosch Stiftung to examine the effectiveness of area-based reforms: in themselves a specific form network-based approach to improving the outcomes of the most impoverished communities.

Additional Information

Author Chris Brown
ISBN 9781913622749
No of pages 196
Format Paperback
Publication Date 4 Oct 2021

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