The Bactra Review   The Self-Made Tapestry
Peter Steven's Patterns in Nature (Boston: Little, Brown, 1974) would form an honorable exception, but was written when the modern study of pattern formation was just gathering steam, and so is now quite outmoded. It is in any case long out of print. Ian Stewart and Martin Golubitsky's Fearful Symmetry (Penguin, 1992) is excellent, but devoted to broken symmetry, an only partially-overlapping topic; Arthur Winfree's When Time Breaks Down: The Three-Dimensional Dynamics of Electrochemical Waves and Cardiac Arrhythmias (Princeton U.P., 1987) is also specialized, to excitable media and biological rhythms. Ilya Prigogine's popular works do not bear speaking of. Per Bak's How Nature Works: The Science of Self-Organized Criticality (NY: Copernicus, 1996), while not the tissue of philosophical horrors that Prigogine's books are, is most objectionable on scientific grounds, to which we'll return. I know of no other books from the last quarter century which are not either technical, or the works of obvious fruitcakes, or devote more than passing attention to pattern formation and self-organization. (I'd be very happy to learn of exceptions!)