The Evolution of Everything

  • by Matt Ridley
  • Narrated by Steven Crossley
  • 13 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of The Rational Optimist and Genome returns with a fascinating, brilliant argument for evolution that definitively dispels a dangerous, widespread myth: that we can command and control our world.
The Evolution of Everything is about bottom-up order and its enemy, the top-down twitch - the endless fascination human beings have with design rather than evolution, with direction rather than emergence. Drawing on anecdotes from science, economics, history, politics, and philosophy, Matt Ridley's wide-ranging, highly opinionated opus demolishes conventional assumptions that major scientific and social imperatives are dictated by those on high, whether in government, business, academia, or morality. On the contrary, our most important achievements develop from the bottom up. Patterns emerge, trends evolve. Just as skeins of geese form Vs in the sky without meaning to and termites build mud cathedrals without architects, so brains take shape without brain makers, learning can happen without teaching, and morality changes without a plan.
Although we neglect, defy, and ignore them, bottom-up trends shape the world. The growth of technology, the sanitation-driven health revolution, the quadrupling of farm yields so that more land can be released for nature - these were largely emergent phenomena, as were the Internet, the mobile phone revolution, and the rise of Asia. Ridley demolishes the arguments for design and effectively makes the case for evolution in the universe, morality, genes, the economy, culture, technology, the mind, personality, population, education, history, government, God, money, and the future.
As compelling as it is controversial, authoritative as it is ambitious, Ridley's stunning perspective will revolutionize the way we think about our world and how it works.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Would you listen to The Evolution of Everything again? Why?

Yes, I am in the process of listening and reading it a second time now. At the age of 79, I sometimes fall asleep while listening so I miss some parts. Not that Ridley's book is boring, but that I might need a nap even in the middle of a terrorist attack -- or something.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Having taught evolutionary ecology at the graduate level, Ridley's expansion of the idea of evolution to "everything" -- including morality, religion, goverment, etc. is a fascinating, testable hypothesis worthy of further study. It will drive incipient and active tyrants into a frenzy.

Have you listened to any of Steven Crossley’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No. The "English" accent was sometimes difficult to hear, but otherwise well-done.

If you could give The Evolution of Everything a new subtitle, what would it be?

Why "Creationism" is Irrational

Any additional comments?

Many thanks for a job well-done.

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- Winfield

Charles Darwin gave credit to the Creator

What did you love best about The Evolution of Everything?

Thorough research

Have you listened to any of Steven Crossley’s other performances before? How does this one compare?


Any additional comments?

An excellent book, well researched and variable reading. I am very conscious about the dangers of top-down planning and the harm that it will cause. I wholeheartedly agree with one of the concluding in lines of the book, “people with grand plans cause pain and suffering along the way.” Bottom up solutions evolve organically and are the source of progress.

I take one major exception with the author, he often calls top-down activities “creationist”. Believing in a creator in no way implies that one is a supporter of top-down solutions. The people who support top-down solutions take the place of deity. In order to make a top-down solution it assumes god-like knowledge which no human or group of humans can possibly have.

Charles Darwin wrote in the On the Origin of Species “there is grandeur in this view of life, with several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planett has gone circling on according to the effects of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved”

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Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-27-2015
  • Publisher: HarperAudio