I just re-read this little book and feel invigorated anew!
In a world bombarded by negativity, The Butterfly Effect is a powerful reminder that life has meaning and that each human being is a key player with an unforeseen potential for influence, not only on his/her immediate circle of family, friends, and other acquaintances, but also on a larger present, and even on the future.
Richly illustrated, this little volume (only 100-pages long, with short text on each) is easily read and gladly revisited time and again, because its powerful message needs to be remembered, especially when times are rough.
It is divided into three parts. In the first, Andrews introduces us to Edward Lorenz, a scientist, who presented his colleagues with a revolutionary theory: that a butterfly flapping its wings generates a sequence of molecules in motion which, increasing as it progresses, can eventually create an outcome far more sizable and powerful than its original impetus. While the scientific world laughed at Lorenz's idea, it was literature, science fiction more specifically, that first realized the value of such a concept. At long last, some thirty years later, the scientific community had to concede the validity of Lorenz's theory, which has since become the "law of sensitive dependence upon initial conditions." In passing, I always find significant --being a literature major-- that writers often perceive and grasp truths before scientists do!
The second part of the book, and, in my opinion, the most moving, retells the amazing true story of Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, a thirty-four-year-old Colonel in the Union Army, at Gettysburg, who made, against overwhelming odds, a daring decision that changed the course of history, giving the victory to the Union, preserving the United States as one country, thus enabling it, some eighty years later, to rescue Europe from Nazism!
The third part of the book explores, in a sort of backward domino effect, the significant impact of individuals, whose actions and interests triggered a chain of events that continue to touch our present-day world, indeed our daily lives.
Andrews's analysis emboldens our flagging courage and renews our awareness of history and of the role we are called to play throughout our earthly journey. The Butterfly Effect demonstrates clearly that not just the powerful and the famous can lead a life of "permanent purpose," but that it is a privilege and a duty that belongs to each and every one of us.
While this little volume is short enough to be read even by someone not overly fond of books, it makes an inspirational gift for any momentous event of life, such as graduation, marriage, or embarking on a new job.