Blueprint

Blueprint : The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society

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Description

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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 544 pages
  • 150 x 232 x 42mm | 660g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 34 b/w illus. run w/ text, 8 -pp 4/c insert
  • 0316423912
  • 9780316423915
  • 72,845

Review Text

"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
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About Nicholas A. Christakis

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.
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