This is the award-winning monograph of the Sunyer i Balaguer Prize 1999. The book presents recently discovered connections between Artin's braid groups and left self-distributive systems, which are sets equipped with a binary operation satisfying the identity x(yz) = (xy)(xz). Although not a comprehensive course, the exposition is self-contained, and many basic results are established. In particular, the first chapters include a thorough algebraic study of Artin's braid groups.
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