From Publishers Weekly
Why do drivers warn people they'll never meet of police traps by flashing their lights? How did eBay's community of trust make it victorious over the competition? Why do terrorists tend to come from richer, better educated families? These are some of the questions posed by Clippinger, a senior fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. Calling on philosophers, scientists and economists for support, Clippinger looks to human evolution for answers, and expounds on how human phenomena like language and social customs evolved not for individual advancement, but for the benefit of the group. Along the way, the author finds evolutionary forces at work in Renaissance Florence and Enlightenment-era Edinburgh, the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes in the presidency of George W. Bush and the genius of the human immune system in the case of identity fraud Mark Spengler. Despite the data-heavy material, Clippinger has a breezy pace, an impressive breadth of knowledge and a knack for clear explanation that recalls Malcolm Gladwell. The volume's prime weakness is its overbroad range; Clippinger leaves no doubt he's willing to ask interesting questions, but without a central thesis it's hard to hook a reader-much less a crowd.
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"...a heady mix of theory and prescriptive advice." -- Library Journal, May 1, 2007
"fascinating, worthwhile reading... [Clippinger makes] us think about the systems and methods that bind individuals into something bigger than themselves." -- New York Post, May 13, 2007
"fascinating... a glorious overview of what evolutionary biology and neuroscience are telling us...a thoughtful, provocative read." -- OntheCommons.org, April 11, 2007
"stimulating and essentially positive. For that alone, [Clippinger's] contribution to the debate on our common futures is considerable." -- New Scientist, May 5, 2007