Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny

Front Cover
Vintage Books, 2001 - History - 435 pages
5 Reviews
In his bestselling The Moral Animal, Robert Wright applied the principles of evolutionary biology to the study of the human mind. Now Wright attempts something even more ambitious: explaining the direction of evolution and human history–and discerning where history will lead us next.

In Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, Wright asserts that, ever since the primordial ooze, life has followed a basic pattern. Organisms and human societies alike have grown more complex by mastering the challenges of internal cooperation. Wright's narrative ranges from fossilized bacteria to vampire bats, from stone-age villages to the World Trade Organization, uncovering such surprises as the benefits of barbarian hordes and the useful stability of feudalism. Here is history endowed with moral significance–a way of looking at our biological and cultural evolution that suggests, refreshingly, that human morality has improved over time, and that our instinct to discover meaning may itself serve a higher purpose. Insightful, witty, profound, Nonzero offers breathtaking implications for what we believe and how we adapt to technology's ongoing transformation of the world.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - snarkhunt - LibraryThing

It's brilliant. Like Guns, Germs, and Steel, examines all of human history through a single lens, in this case win-win games. The thesis is that human life and all progress comes about as a series of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Davidicus - LibraryThing

Having just finished Nonzero for the second time, I've got to admit it is seriously one of the best and most important books I've ever read. Why did I have to read it a second time? The first was a ... Read full review

Contents

The Storm Before the Calm
3
The Ladder of Cultural Evolution I
13
Add Technology and Bake for Five Millennia
29
The Inevitability of Agriculture
67
The Age of Chiefdoms
79
The Second Information Revolution
93
Civilization and So On
107
O Our Friends the Barbarians 24
124
I6 Degrees of Freedom
229
The Cosmic Context
243
The Rise of Biological Nonzerosumness
251
I9 Why Life Is So Complex
265
The Last Adaptation
282
You Call This a God? 3 18
319
On Nonzerosumness
337
What Is Social Complexity?
344

Dark Ages
138
I2 The Inscrutable Orient
157
And Here We Are
195
S New World Order
209
Notes
351
Bibliography
403
Index
419
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About the author (2001)

Robert Wright is the author of Three Scientists and Their Gods and The Moral Animal, which was named by the New York Times Book Review as one of the twelve best books of the year and has been published in nine languages. A recipient of the National Magazine Award for Essay and Criticism, Wright has published in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Time, and Slate. He was previously a senior editor at The New Republic and The Sciences and now runs the Web site nonzero.org. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and two daughters.


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