This View of Life: Book summary and reviews of This View of Life by David Sloan Wilson

This View of Life

Completing the Darwinian Revolution

by David Sloan Wilson

This View of Life by David Sloan Wilson X
This View of Life by David Sloan Wilson
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Book Summary

From noted evolutionary biologist and the author of Evolution for Everyone comes a paradigm-changing new look at how we can apply evolutionary theory to our social and cultural institutions.

Charles Darwin's vision of evolution was so broad that he wrote "There is grandeur in this view of life" in the concluding paragraph of On the Origin of Species. By the 1970s, the Darwinian revolution was sufficiently complete that the geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote "nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." Yet, according to David Sloan Wilson, the Darwinian revolution won't be truly complete until it makes sense of everything associated with the words "human", "culture," and "policy."

In a series of engaging stories - from the breeding of hens, to the timing of cataract surgeries, to the organization of an automobile plant - Wilson shows how an evolutionary worldview provides a practical toolkit for understanding not only genetic evolution, but also the fast-paced changes impacting our world and ourselves. What emerges is an incredibly empowering argument: If we can become wise managers of evolutionary processes, we can solve the problems of our age at all scales - from the efficacy of our groups, to our well-being as individuals, to our stewardship of the planet earth.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. One of the major advances in modern biology receives a splendid overview." - Kirkus

Readers from all backgrounds will find the concepts underlying this philosophy clearly explained and may even discover that an evolutionary worldview has relevance to their own lives. Recommended for those who enjoyed the author's Evolution for Everyone." - Library Journal

"Readers who take Wilson's bold and clever concept to heart may well be able to apply it to their own families, schools, cities, and communities." - Publishers Weekly

"In This View of Life, [David Sloan Wilson] explores the various surprising things that 'evolution' is and isn't, and its relevance to everything from everyday life to global policy decisions. It's thick with ideas and insights, written in a graceful, accessible style." - Robert Sapolsky, New York Times bestselling author of Behave and Professor of Biology and Neurology at Stanford University

"There are so many new ideas and perspectives in this delightful and thought-provoking book that it would be your loss if you did not engage with it. Not everybody will agree with the main thesis in this book, but I expect that everybody's way of thinking will be challenged and ultimately enriched by it." - Daron Acemoglu, New York Times Bestselling co-author of Why Nations Fail and the Killian Professor of Economics at MIT

"David Sloan Wilson is a clear-headed, sound-thinking, realistic idealist, and a great writer to boot.  In this brilliant work he shows us how an evolutionary worldview can not only help us understand who we are - as a species, as individuals, and as a society - but can also help us develop better policies for our long-term good as social beings." - Peter Gray, Research Professor at Boston College and author of Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life.

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Author Information

David Sloan Wilson

David Sloan Wilson is an evolutionary biologist with a special interest in human biocultural evolution, and Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University. He is the author of Evolution for Everyone and The Neighborhood Project, as well as several academic books including Does Altruism Exist? and Darwin's Cathedral. He is the president of The Evolution Institute and is the editor in chief of the institute's online magazine This View of Life.

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