At the beginning of Nonzero, Robert Wright sets out to "define the arrow of the history of life, from the primordial soup to the World Wide Web." Twenty-two chapters later, after a sweeping and vivid narrative of the human past, he has succeeded and has mounted a powerful challenge to the conventional view that 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 toward deeper and vaster social complexity. In this view, the coming of today's interdependent global society was "in the cards" - not quite inevitable, perhaps, but, as Wright puts it, "so probable as to inspire wonder." So probable, indeed, as to invite speculation about higher purpose, especially in light of "the phase of history that seems to lie immediately ahead: a social, political, and even moral culmination of sorts."
In a work of vast erudition and 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. He finds evidence for his position in unexpected corners, from native American hunter-gatherer societies and Polynesian chiefdoms to medieval Islamic commerce and precocious Chinese technology; from conflicts of interest among a cell's genes to discord at the World Trade Organization.
Wright argues that a coolly scientific appraisal of humanity's three-billion-year past can give new spiritual meaning to the present and even offer political guidance for the future. Nonzero will change the way people think about the human prospect.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Important Book for everybody to Read!
I Felt so much in love with this book!! I am very interested in understanding our past, as well as our future. It is very effective on giving the reader a firm Idea of what has been going on since the beginning of human history, all the way to what could the future upholds. Everybody curious about who we are, or what it could be , should read this book! I was so interested on this book since the beggining, that I also purchased the printed copy. Its very dense material (for a normal person, like myself) and because English its not my first languaje, I needed to re-read many of it. I will definitely be reading much of this book to my kids, as soon as they are old enough to understand.
I read much of Deepack Chopra's books; some how, even thought these are completely different areas of studies, I found out many of their ideas complemented one with the other...
About the Narrator: it was because of him, that I found this Book! I love Kevin T. Collins from the 1 st time I listened to him on Beautiful Creatures, followed by Isaacs Asimove's Current of Space and then Lone Survivor. Now, Im gonna have to get used to another narrator, because I' ve already listened to all the Books Narrated by him.
Not for Entertainment
I can't finish this book. The history goes on and on and on and on and on... You have to struggle to follow the author's "structure" of his argument. Also, the reader's voice is monotone. If you are REALLY into sociology or history, you may like this book.