I turn to rhizomes.net to state the basic idea of A Thousand Plateaus:
As a model for culture, the rhizome resists the organizational structure of the root-tree system which charts causality along chronological lines and looks for the originary source of “things” and looks towards the pinnacle or conclusion of those “things.” “A rhizome, on the other hand, “ceaselessly established connections between semiotic chains, organizations of power, and circumstances relative to the arts, sciences, and social struggles” (D&G 7). Rather than narrativize history and culture, the rhizome presents history and culture as a map or wide array of attractions and influences with no specific origin or genesis, for a “rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo” (D&G 25). The planar movement of the rhizome resists chronology and organization, instead favoring a nomadic system of growth and propagation.
To put it simply, this idea makes intuitive sense to me, and it accords very deeply with how I currently see the worlds of art and literature, as well as how function the book that I am currently most involved with.
A Thousand Plateaus is a very, very new book. Which is to say, its ideas will appear quite foreign, so it is a book to be read slowly, to be contemplated, and probably to be helped through by way of secondary texts and discussions. It is greatly worth the time involved.