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Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society
— —
Nicholas A Christakis
Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society by Nicholas A Christakis at Abbey's Bookshop,

Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society

Nicholas A Christakis


Little, Brown Spark

Social theory;
Mathematics & Sciences;
Genetics (non-medical)


544 pages

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A dazzlingly erudite synthesis of history, philosophy, anthropology, genetics, sociology, economics, epidemiology, statistics, and more (Frank Bruni, New York Times), Blueprint shows how and 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 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 have shaped, and are still shaping, our genes today.

By:   Nicholas A Christakis
Imprint:   Little, Brown Spark
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 236mm,  Width: 155mm,  Spine: 46mm
Weight:   680g
ISBN:   9780316230032
ISBN 10:   0316230030
Pages:   544
Publication Date:   April 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Nicholas A. Christakis is a physician and sociologist who explores the ancient origins and modern implications of human nature. He directs the Human Nature Lab at Yale University, where he is the Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science, in the Departments of Sociology, Medicine, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Statistics and Data Science, and Biomedical Engineering. He is the Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Network Science and the co-author of Connected.

Blueprint is an extraordinarily readable and entertaining book that is also one of the most profound among recently published books on evolution. It brings to bear a long history of research to show that cooperation and pro-social traits of humans are genetically based and are the result of evolution by natural selection. By doing this, Christakis corrects one the most frequent misperceptions about biological evolution, namely that inter-individual competition is a law of nature. I only wish this book would have been published decades earlier. --Gunter Wagner, Alison Richard Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University 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 In this wisely optimistic book, Nicholas 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 A magnificent achievement. If you think you understand human nature, think again; Christakis will open your eyes and make you gasp. A special bonus: His book is inspiring and deeply optimistic. The perfect book for our time. --Cass R. Sunstein, Robert Walmsley University Professor, Harvard University, author of The Cost-Benefit Revolution, and coauthor of Nudge Tribalism is all around us, but it does not have to be. After all, we are all human. Christakis shows what is possible, and what we must do. --Eric Schmidt, former chairman of Google

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