The Evolution of Everything : How Ideas Emerge, Hardback

The Evolution of Everything : How Ideas Emerge Hardback



We are taught that the world is a top-down place. Acclaimed author Matt Ridley shows just how wrong this is in his compelling new book.

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 sub-prime 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 were the internet, the mobile-phone revolution and the rise of Asia.

In this wide-ranging, highly opinionated non-fiction 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.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Popular science
  • ISBN: 9780007542482



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