* The Evolution of Everything by Matt Ridley


As I re-read the (positive) review I wrote of the author’s previous book, The Rational Optimist, I saw the germ of why I disliked, intensely, his latest, The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge. In this tome, organized around excerpts from De Rerum Natura (of The Swerve fame), his thesis is that, since evolution is the way nature works, it should be the way that we organize everything else in society. The economy, check. Education, check. Organizational structures, check. Currencies, check. While some ideas are fresh and certainly a bit of competition would improve many government services, this libertarian approach turns amusing or irritating when he extolls the beauty of private healthcare (I’m sure the British NHS has its failures, but he should experience how private healthcare works in the US, even for insured patients), self-managed teams (his prized example, Zappos, seems to be struggling bit time with that), or bitcoin (no comments necessary).

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