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The Evolution of Everything How Ideas Emerge by Matt Ridley

The Evolution of Everything How Ideas Emerge

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October 2015 Non-Fiction Book of the Month.

Matt Ridley explores the Theory of Evolution in Everything from Religion to Politics and the Internet. He highlights how Top-Down thinking such as big Government and Central Banks will fail and strangle sense at birth and it is bottom up thinking that is successful. The same patterns can be observed in all human interactions and Matt Ridley ends his book with the Internet, humanities great chance to shoulder aside the Top-Down thinkers and develope a de-centralised world complete with its own businesses and money. I had many assumptions and beliefs challenged in reading this compelling book, it's written and presented with brio, making readers see what is possible and how evolution will, in the end, bulldoze even the most entrenched of institutions who do not heed Darwin's doctrine. ~ Sue Baker

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The Evolution of Everything How Ideas Emerge by Matt Ridley

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.


Praise for Matt Ridley:

'What a superb writer he is, and he seems to get better and better.' Richard Dawkins, author of 'The Selfish Gene'.

Praise for 'The Rational Optimist':

'A triumphant blast on the vuvuzela of common sense'
Boris Johnson

'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'

'As a work of bold historical positivity it is to be welcomed. At every point cheerfulness keeps breaking through'
The Times

About the Author

Matt Ridley

Matt Ridley received his BA and D. Phil at Oxford researching the evolution of behaviour. He has been science editor, Washington correspondent and American editor of The Economist. He is the author of bestselling titles The Red Queen (1993), The Origins of Virtue (1996), Genome (1999) and Nature via Nurture (2003). His books have sold over half a million copies, been translated into 25 languages and been shortlisted for six literary prizes. In 2004 he won the National Academies Book Award from the US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine for Nature via Nurture. In 2007 Matt won the Davis Prize from the US History of Science Society for Francis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic Code. He is married to the neuroscientist Professor Anya Hurlbert.

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Book Info

Publication date

24th September 2015


Matt Ridley

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HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


400 pages


The Real World
Books of the Month
Popular Science
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