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Life Finds a Way: What Evolution Teaches Us About Creativity

Life Finds a Way: What Evolution Teaches Us About Creativity

by Andreas Wagner


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How the principles of biological innovation can help us overcome creative challenges in art, business, and science

In Life Finds a Way, biologist Andreas Wagner reveals the deep symmetry between innovation in biological evolution and human cultural creativity. Rarely is either a linear climb to perfection—instead, "progress" is typically marked by a sequence of peaks, plateaus, and pitfalls. For instance, in Picasso's forty-some iterations of Guernica, we see the same combination of small steps, incessant reshuffling, and large, almost reckless, leaps that characterize the way evolution transformed a dinosaur's grasping claw into a condor's soaring wing. By understanding these principles, we can also better realize our own creative potential to find new solutions to adversity.

Ultimately, Life Finds a Way offers a new framework for the nature of creativity, enabling us to better adapt, grow, and change in art, business, or science—that is, in life.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541645332
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 06/11/2019
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 703,355
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Andreas Wagner is a professor and chairman at the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich and an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute. He is also the author of four books on evolutionary innovation. He lives in Zurich, Switzerland.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

Chapter 1 The Cartography of Evolution 11

Chapter 2 The Molecular Revolution 33

Chapter 3 On the Importance of Going Through Hell 53

Chapter 4 Teleportation in Genetic Landscapes 81

Chapter 5 Of Diamonds and Snowflakes 101

Chapter 6 Creative Machines 115

Chapter 7 Darwin in the Mind 141

Chapter 8 Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost 157

Chapter 9 From Children to Civilizations 185

Epilogue: More than Metaphors 219

Acknowledgments 223

Notes 225

Bibliography 265

Figure Credits 295

Index 297

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