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The Hidden Connections: Integrating the Biological, Cognitive, and Social Dimensions of Life Into a Science of Substainability Hardcover – August 20, 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1ST edition (August 20, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385494718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385494717
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #778,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Physicist and bestselling author Capra (The Tao of Physics and The Web of Life) delivers another fascinating discourse that explores of the interconnectedness of all living (and some nonliving) things, from the first life form of protocells to the development of language, culture, social mores and customs, spirituality and the global economy. That may be a lot of ground to cover in one book, but Capra gracefully cruises from 3.8 billion years ago, which "marked the emergence of a universal ancestor from which all subsequent life on Earth descended" through the present. Capra moves seamlessly through the evolution of cognition and thought; in a total rethink of Cartesian notions, he suggests that "consciousness is not only a biological, but also a social phenomenon." Other topics include tool-making (which Capra calls the earliest form of technology), language development (which, he explains, developed as a secondary need to tool-making) and the social loops of culture. Readers would do well to heed Capra's remarkably unpreachy warnings about the depletion of natural resources. Here is a book that not only moves readers to think about the larger picture, but also places them squarely in the middle of it, as they travel the interlinking and continual loop of the "network."
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Critical Acclaim for Fritjof Capra

The Tao of Physics
"A pioneering book of real value and wide appeal." - Washington Post

"A brilliant best-seller... Lucidly analyzes the tenets of Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism to show their striking parallels with the latest discoveries in cyclotrons." - New York magazine

"Fritjof Capra, in The Tao of Physics, seeks... an integration of the mathematical world view of modern physics and the mystical visions of Buddha and Krishna. Where others have failed miserably in trying to unite these seemingly different world views, Capra, a high-energy theorist, has succeeded admirably. I strongly recommend the book to both layman and scientist." - V. N. Mansfield, Physics Today

"I have been reading the book with amazement and the greatest interest, recommending it to everyone I meet, and as often as possible, in my lectures. I think [Capra has] done a magnificent and extremely important job." - Joseph Campbell

The Web of Life
"A sweeping vision of the scientific landscape and probably his finest work." - Lynn Margolis, University of Massachusetts

"The acclaimed author of The Tao of Physics puts modern biology and ecology under his revisionist scrutiny... fascinating." - Kirkus Reviews

"This book, a rare blending of the heart and the head, should be required reading." - Theodore Roszak, Director, Ecopsychology Institute, California State University, Hayward, and author of The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein

More About the Author

Fritjof Capra, Ph.D., physicist and systems theorist, is a founding director of the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley. Capra is the author of several international bestsellers, including The Tao of Physics (1975), The Web of Life (1996), The Hidden Connections (2002), The Science of Leonardo (2007), and Learning from Leonardo (2013). He is coauthor, with Pier Luigi Luisi, of the multidisciplinary textbook, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision (Cambridge University Press, 2014).
author photo: Basso Cannarsa

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J.W.K on November 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are looking to save the world via fiction, see Daniel Quinn. If you are looking to save the world via non-fiction, look no further than Hidden Connections. This book will provide you with everything you need (including a new mind and new conception of self) to get right with the ecosphere and the damage we have all helped inflict upon her. (Don't think the world is in trouble, see Lester Brown's ECO-ECONOMY).
Not a science buff, chapter one didn't blow my doors, although I was interested by what Capra had to say and (luckily) was able to wrap my head around all the concepts. In this chapter, he traces the evolution of life on the planet, and therewith provides a novel definition of life. A good place to start any book, I suppose, but certainly one about the future prospects of life on this planet.
Chapter two deals with mind and consciousness. In this chapter, Capra bridges the ancient Cartesian chasm between mind and body, defines cognition and consciousness, and explains the meaning of language. He even throws out some theories about the origin and evolution of all the above.
Chapter three breaks from the previous two chapters, as Capra delves into social reality. In this chapter he gives meaning to the world "meaning," explains social theory from Max Weber to Habermas, discusses human freedom, explains the three forms of power (coercive, compensatory, and conditioned power, or education), and talks about technology and culture.
For me, the book really picks up with chapter four, "Life and Leadership in Organizations." This chapter, Capra discusses what the definition of life means when applied to the corporate business world. Issues such as managment, labor rights, and the role of creativity are sure to please.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Carol Zilinsky on September 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the sort of book that one would want to make required reading for all cognitive beings on this planet, as our future may well depend upon behaviors based on the information available here.
Unfortunately, the complexity of say, the Santiago Thoery, although beautifully written, seems to be beyond the interest or understanding of most people. They might even start it and put it aside in frustration because it conflicts with deeply engrained ideas from philosophy, biology, and religion.
In this book, Capra expands on the ideas presented in Web of Life, and makes them relevant to our present and future lives, as well as to Life itself. I cannot recommend it enough.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By G. Sinner on October 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Chapter Four of this book offers everyone, but particularly leaders, change advocates and consultants a rich opportunity to learn about systemic change in organizations. Capra articulates an accessible, fundamental conceptual theory of human organizations that has immediate relevance at all organizational levels. Application of these ideas and insights will build capacity for large scale, sustainable change which, at least in my own field of education reform, has been far too rare. I like the idea of a "community of practice" as being one definition of an organization. He uses Meg Wheatley and Myron Kellner-Rogers' treatment of human organizations particularly well. (I hope they agree!) If the essential question is, "How do we create sustainable change in human organizations?" some the answers are in Chapter Four of The Hidden Connections and its supporting bibliography. The rest of the book is an exciting excursion through living systems small and large that reflects Capra's quest to understand how everything that matters works.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book was really a true pleasure to read! This book provides us with a very beautiful picture of how all matter (both organic and non-organic) including ourselves is connected and related to each other. Even though the author tries to illuminate us on how we are destroying ourselves, he has a positive vision that is still realizeable if we allow our consciousness to evolve more. I believe we are in desparate need of writers like this at this day and age where we are closing in on the extinction of our own species. If you'd like to learn about how all of this relates to the human mind and why we do some of the terrible things we do to ourselves, read "The Ever-Transcending Spirit" by Toru Sato. It is an absolutely incredible book that will further your understanding of nature (including ourselves) immensely.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Brooke Frost on February 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book has something for almost everyone. It extends complexity theory into social networks, bringing in discussion of communication and the making of meaning. It addresses cognition and consciousness, even touching on spirituality, in Chapter 2. It moves into organizational practice beginning in Chapter 4 that includes a vision of leadership, then moves to the larger world stage, addressing global capitalism, biotechnology, the new civil society, and eco-sustainability. He even suggests a new tax structure!
There is a lot in this book, and Capra models the web of interconnectedness throughout. Because there is so much, sometimes I would like to see more depth in areas that interest me particularly, but he gives hints of where to look for deeper information for those interested. This book clearly builds on his previous work "The Web of Life" and while still theoretical, brings in a great deal more practical application. I highly recommend the book.
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