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  • Abacus

Nonzero: History, Evolution & Human Cooperation

Robert Wright

4 Reviews

Rated 0

Prose: non-fiction, Popular science

*A controversial but optimistic book about humanity's increasing co-operation and our technological future

In a book sure to stir argument for years to come, Robert Wright challen+ges the conventional view that biological evolution and human history are aimless. Ingeniously employing game theory - the logic of 'zero-sum' and 'non-zero-sum' games - Wright isolates the impetus behind life's basic direction: the impetus that, via biological evolution, created complex, intelligent animals, and then via cultural evolution, pushed the human species towards deeper and vaster social complexity. In this view, the coming of today's independent global society was 'in the cards' - not quite inevitable, but, as Wright puts it, 'so probable as to inspire wonder'. In a narrative of breathtaking scope and erudition, yet pungent wit, Wright takes on some of the past century's most prominent thinkers, including Isaiah Berlin, Karl Popper, Stephen Jay Gould, and Richard Dawkins. Wright argues that a coolly specific appraisal of humanity's three-billion-year past can give new spiritual meaning to the present and even offer political guidance for the future. This book will change the way people think about the human prospect.

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Praise for Nonzero: History, Evolution & Human Cooperation

  • Wright has constructed an interesting thesis... bold and thought-provoking. - SUNDAY TIMES

  • Not only a fascinating read but an important one. - INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

  • One of the main layman's objections to the supposedly random process of evolution is that for all its inherent pointlessness, evolution seems to have a goal, a narrative, a conscious direction. And that direction is towards complexity. Germs become animals. Apes become humans. Blood-caked Aztec savages become liberal-minded East Coast essayists. Now Robert Wright, author of the much-praised The Moral Animal, has come along with a contentious new book to tell us that the layman has been on to something all along. Evolution does have a goal. - The title of Wright's book comes from games theory, which divides human interactions into "zero sum games", where for every winner there's a loser, an

  • The author's learning is lightly worn. Sometimes too lightly. After a while his chatty, hey-let's-have-a-beer style starts to grate: "When was the last time you invented a boomerang?"; "Ah, Tahiti!". There are also some minor errors, like his claiming tha - Sean Thomas, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW

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Robert Wright

Robert Wright has written extensively for ATLANTIC MONTHLY, NEW YORKER and TIME magazine and currently works as a senior editor at THE NEW REPUBLIC. His latest book, NON-ZERO, is also published by Abacus. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and family.

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