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Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society

Category: Book
By (author): Christakis, Nicholas A.
Subject:  NON-FICTION / General
  SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Evolution
  SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Genetics & Genomics
  SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Social Theory
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Published: March 2020
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 544
Size: 8.35in x 5.50in x 1.75in
Our Price:
$ 23.99
Availability:
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*"A dazzlingly erudite synthesis of history, philosophy, anthropology, genetics, sociology, economics, epidemiology, statistics, and more" (Frank Bruni, The New York Times), Blueprint shows why evolution has placed us on a humane path -- and how we are united by our common humanity.
For too long, scientists have focused on the dark side of our biological heritage: our capacity for aggression, cruelty, prejudice, and self-interest. But natural selection has given us a suite of beneficial social features, including our capacity for love, friendship, cooperation, and learning. Beneath all of our inventions -- our tools, farms, machines, cities, nations -- we carry with us innate proclivities to make a good society.
In Blueprint, Nicholas A. Christakis introduces the compelling idea that our genes affect not only our bodies and behaviors, but also the ways in which we make societies, ones that are surprisingly similar worldwide.
With many vivid examples -- including diverse historical and contemporary cultures, communities formed in the wake of shipwrecks, commune dwellers seeking utopia, online groups thrown together by design or involving artificially intelligent bots, and even the tender and complex social arrangements of elephants and dolphins that so resemble our own -- Christakis shows that, despite a human history replete with violence, we cannot escape our social blueprint for goodness.
In a world of increasing political and economic polarization, it's tempting to ignore the positive role of our evolutionary past. But by exploring the ancient roots of goodness in civilization, Blueprint shows that our genes have shaped societies for our welfare and that, in a feedback loop stretching back many thousands of years, societies are still shaping our genes today.
Review Quote*"Mr. Christakis's deep optimism (and considerable evidence) about the arc of human society bending towards good is uplifting. Along the way he delves fascinatingly into human cultures and customs, exploring, for instance, why monogamy and marriage have become so common (though not universal), and what friendship really means, from an evolutionary perspective."-The Economist
Review Quote*"A dazzlingly erudite synthesis of history, philosophy, anthropology, genetics, sociology, economics, epidemiology, statistics and more. It uses everything from shipwrecks to the primatologist Jane Goodall to make its pro-kindness case, and it inadvertently shames you into realizing that while most of us, standing at the buffet of knowledge, content ourselves with a pork chop and rice pudding, Christakis pillages the carving station and the omelet station and the soup array and the make-your-own-sundae bar."-Frank Bruni, New York Times
Review Quote*"An encouraging, detailed and persuasive antidote to misanthropy"-The Wall Street Journal
Review Quote*"The diversity of our cultures and personal identities masks the fact that we are one. In this brilliant, beautiful, and sweeping book, Christakis shows how eight universal human tendencies have bound us together, and given us dominion over our planet, our lives, and our common fate. A masterful achievement that is surely the best and most original science book of the year."-Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness
Review Quote*"Nicholas Christakis is a pioneer in bridging the conceptual chasm between the choices of individual people and the shaping of an entire society. In this timely and fascinating book, he shows how the better angels of our nature, rooted in our evolutionary past, can bring forth an enlightened and compassionate civilization."-Steven Pinker, author of Enlightenment Now
Review Quote*"In a book of great wisdom and unusual breadth, Christakis pulls together philosophy, history, anthropology, sociology, genetics, and evolutionary biology to make an extraordinarily optimistic argument: evolution has pre-wired us for goodness. At a moment when the dark history of the early twentieth century suddenly seems relevant again, it's a relief to be reminded of why so many efforts to re-engineer human society have failed -- and of why the better side of human nature often triumphs in the end."-Anne Applebaum, author of the Pulitzer prize-winning Gulag: A History
Review Quote*"In this wisely optimistic book, Christakis explores the evolutionary imperative of forming bonds that are both cultural and genetic. His writing is colorful, personal, and often exuberant."-Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree
Review Quote*"Christakis brings to general readers his most famous theory: the genetic profile of both humans and animals dictates the types of societies that they create. Using a plethora of accessible examples that range from the social behavior of dolphins and chimpanzees to the tenets that link human behavior in a myriad of settings, from reality shows to arranged marriages, along with a generous look into the author's own past, Christakis reminds us that leadership, friendship, and group tendencies are all rooted in the most fundamental mechanism of our biological sorting: natural selection. A must-read for anyone interested in how we find ourselves wholly divided into political, religious, and workplace silos, and where these separations may lead us."-Hope Jahren, author of Lab Girl
Review Quote*"A remarkable achievement! Christakis explains, in the most lucid and accessible way imaginable, how our genetic and cultural heritages are deeply intertwined. The story of human nature is no fairy tale, but it nevertheless reveals our potential, and our proclivity, for good."-Angela Duckworth, author of Grit