Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge


Today's post is on The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge by Matt Ridley. It is 368 pages long and is published by HarperCollins. The cover is red with the title in bold white. The intended reader is someone who is interested in history, evolution and social science. There is no language, no sex, and no violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- The New York Times bestselling author of The Rational Optimist and Genome returns with a fascinating, brilliant argument for evolution that definitively dispels a dangerous, widespread myth: that we can command and control our world.
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. Drawing on anecdotes from science, economics, history, politics and philosophy, Matt Ridley’s wide-ranging, highly opinionated opus demolishes conventional assumptions that major scientific and social imperatives are dictated by those on high, whether in government, business, academia, or morality. On the contrary, our most important achievements develop from the bottom up. Patterns emerge, trends evolve. Just as skeins of geese form Vs in the sky without meaning to, and termites build mud cathedrals without architects, so brains take shape without brain-makers, learning can happen without teaching and morality changes without a plan.
Although we neglect, defy and ignore them, bottom-up trends shape the world. The growth of technology, the sanitation-driven health revolution, the quadrupling of farm yields so that more land can be released for nature—these were largely emergent phenomena, as were the Internet, the mobile phone revolution, and the rise of Asia. Ridley demolishes the arguments for design and effectively makes the case for evolution in the universe, morality, genes, the economy, culture, technology, the mind, personality, population, education, history, government, God, money, and the future.
As compelling as it is controversial, authoritative as it is ambitious, Ridley’s stunning perspective will revolutionize the way we think about our world and how it works.

Review- Overall a very interesting book about human society and culture that at times does get a little too detailed. Ridley is very passionate about his topic and that comes through in this book. His notes are good and I liked his research and felt that it was accurate. When he gets a little too into the details it does not last long. He writes about all levels of human society from religion to science. He talks about how people are the ones who change things not government or great men. I have never thought about that before so it was interesting to think about how the masses affect things for the positive. I am now sold on what Ridley says and I want to do more research into bottom-up change.

I give this book a Four out of Five stars. I was given this book by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.