Episode 115 The Network Science of Success


Episode 115

The Network science of success

an interview with Albert-László Barabási

November 8, 2018

In this episode, Haley talks with Albert-László Barabási. Barabasi is the Robert Gray Dodge Professor of Network Science and a Distinguished University Professor at Northeastern University, where he directs the Center for Complex Network Research. He is also a renowned author of several books including his newly released book, The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success, which he discusses in-depth during his interview. Barabási shares key takeaways and important lessons from his new book and research on the science of success. He also gives us insights from his journey of learning about and pioneering the young field of network science and shares his hopes for the future of this field.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

What I do on a daily basis is figure out how networks affect our lives...and lately I am very interested in how networks affect us as individuals and how they determine our success.” — Albert-László Barabási

“You cannot understand the complexity of the system without mapping the network out, on the other hand, network science has learned a lot from complexity science on how to analyze these networks and how to look for organizing principles within them. I think only together will we make progress in understanding complex systems.” — Albert-László Barabási

“The first five-six years in network science for me was one failure after the other, but I stuck to it because I sensed that this was really important for us and at the end that persistence paid off.” — Albert-László Barabási

”I really had in mind about a thousand phd students that I was writing for...I was totally amazing when after I published the book [Linked] it became the business book of the year according to some journals.” — Albert-László Barabási

“I feel that it is our responsibility as scientists to translate what we do to a wider community.” — Albert-László Barabási

“Success and your ability to succeed in a given environment is partly affected by networks, but also affected by other things like your performance, like your ability to adjust to your environment. So in the end, the research and consequently the book itself became not only about networks, but about success in general.” — Albert-László Barabási

“Success captures the communities reflection on my performance. What does the community see and how does it appreciate my performance?” — Albert-László Barabási

“Performance is often hard to measure but success because it is distributed and it’s about the community is much easier to measure, much easier to quantify.” — Albert-László Barabási

“So in simple terms, your performance is about you. Your success however, is about us.” — Albert-László Barabási

“Innovation has no age, only productivity does. That is the reason you see so few people making breakthroughs later in their career (but they do exist) it’s not because people later in their career are not creative, but they are not productive. They stop trying. Those who continue to try will be just as successful as the young individuals.” — Albert-László Barabási

“I think what the key is for success is to find a happy moment in whatever you do and don’t rely on external recognition to justify your choices.” — Albert-László Barabási

“One of the things I am doing now is writing down the formulas behind each of the chapters because the book is called ‘The Formula’ and everyone has an expectation that they will see the formula in the book, which is not the case, but behind each of the chapters there is one or several formulas.” — Albert-László Barabási

“I have changed many aspects of my life thanks to the research that went into this book [The Formula].” — Albert-László Barabási

“If I can convey the mechanisms through which success and reward is generated by the community and how you can turn your performance into success, into something the community can benefit from, then I achieved my goal with The Formula.” — Albert-László Barabási

“I always tell my students and postdocs, ‘the force is with us’ and the reason for that is because the world works as a network, we function within networks, and there is no way we can understand this world without using the tools of network science.” — Albert-László Barabási

”One of the things I learned writing The Formula and doing the research is how important persistence is. If I look back at my life, one of my biggest assets was that I believed in my own ideas and often I was willing to pursue them for four, five years at a time without any sign of success.” — Albert-László Barabási

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