The Evolution of Everything: How Ideas Emerge
- Narrated by: Steven Crossley
- Length: 13 hrs and 9 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 24-09-15
- Language: English
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited
We are taught that the world is a top-down place. Generals win battles; politicians run countries; scientists discover truths; artists create genres; inventors make breakthroughs; teachers shape minds; philosophers change minds; priests teach morality; businessmen lead businesses; environmentalists save the planet. Not just individuals but institutions, too: Goldman Sachs, the Communist Party, the Catholic Church, Al Qaeda - these are said to shape the world. This is more often wrong than right.
The Evolution of Everything is about bottom-up order and its enemy, the top-down twitch, the endless fascination human beings have for design rather than evolution, for direction rather than emergence.
Top downery is the source of most of our worst problems in the past - why Hitler won an election, why the subprime bubble happened, why Africa lingered in poverty when Asia did not, why the euro is a disaster - and will be the scourge of this century, too. And although we neglect, defy and ignore them, bottom-up trends still shape the world.
The growth of technology, the sanitation-driven health revolution, the quadrupling of farm yields so that more land could be released for nature - these were largely emergent phenomena. So was the Internet, the mobile phone revolution and the rise of Asia.
In this wide-ranging, highly opinionated nonfiction narrative, Ridley draws on anecdotes from science, economics, history, politics and philosophy and examples drawn from the scientific literature, from historical narratives and from personal anecdotes.
"A glorious defence of our species...a devastating rebuke to humanity's self-haters." ( Sunday Times)
"No other book has argued with such brilliance against the automatic pessimism that prevails." (Ian McEwan)
"His theory is, in a way, the glorious offspring that would result if Charles Darwin's ideas were mated with those of Adam Smith." ( The Economist)
"Original, clever and controversial." ( Guardian)
"As a work of bold historical positivity it is to be welcomed. At every point cheerfulness keeps breaking through." ( The Times)
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Tinckelly on 07-11-15
Whilst 'Creationism' is roundly mocked in religion it is alive and well in every other aspect of modern thought. With this book Matt Ridley neatly dissects the 'skyhook' thinking of modern life.
Should be required reading in our bizarre age that is obsessed with central planning.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
By K. Rumph on 14-08-16
Some fascinating insights, if overwrought
I found the some of the examples of unplanned evolutionary thinking novel, fascinating and convincing, although others tried to push the argument too far and the increasingly strident libertarian agenda felt 'top down'