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Book Review: Change Theories

The book could be a difficult read for people who don’t have much context on the highlighted topics (science, economics, theology, etc.) unless they are knowledgeable

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Matt Ridley’s The Evolution of Everything(HarperCollins) talks about how the Theory of Natural Selection by Darwin not only applies to the evolution of species but there is a general theory of evolution, too, and it applies to society, money, technology, law, culture, violence, history, education, politics, God, morality.


Ridley talks about evolution of the universe to Internet to leadership. He tries to bring home the idea that all change (in human institutions) that happens around the world progresses at an incremental, gradual, inexorable and inevitable way. These changes slowly and steadily creep into the world and its pre-defined systems at their own momentum and aren’t externally driven. It’s a trial and error process, wherein they don’t have a predefined path and goal.


The book could be a difficult read for people who don’t have much context on the highlighted topics (science, economics, theology, etc.) unless they are knowledgeable.


Having said that, the author in many instances brings forth brilliant arguments to support his case that there is a no top-down master plan in evolution, and instead, it follows a more steady and organic way from the bottom to the top where everything and anything evolves. For example, Ridley states that technology gets discovered in multiple places simultaneously around the world because of the law of natural order. Similarly, he makes many arguments which define as well as challenge stated norms of how we perceive and understand the world around us, giving way to a new interpretation to everything.


However, he takes his argument too far when he says the same about Economics and Money where he argues against central banks and regulations and blames all the economic crisis on centralised regulations and political actions. In this case, the writer obliquely ignores the aspect of human nature and squarely blames policies. Explaining everything by this argument oversimplifies things. The author seems biased in his conviction and hence ignores contrary evidence to make his point.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Vivek Srivastava

The author is CEO, HealthCare atHOME, India's leading healthcare solution provider.

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