Reader reviews for Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny

No rating provided
Long-Term Capital Management's analysis was technically correct too, but in order to make a profit in the long term you have to survive the short term, and that they failed to do.
Permalink · Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I was led to this book after reading Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman. Wright's book also referenced numerous earlier contributers to Game theory such as Robert Axelrod. Axelrod's book The Evolution of Cooperation was a truly great find. I have become persuaded that continuing research and targeted application of game theory can be the easiest (i.e. by being more natural) mechanism the human race can use to leverage cooperation, colaberation and equality. I may be overly optimistic but it sure beats the alternative.....
Permalink · Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
It's brilliant. Like Guns, Germs, and Steel, examines all of human history through a single lens, in this case win-win games.The thesis is that human life and all progress comes about as a series of non-zero sum interactions, games where both parties win.It gets a bit repetitive some times - when a story begins you can start predicting how it will end because there is only one theme in the book, but it effectively demonstrates the idea and shows you the impact throughout history and applications for the future.
Permalink · Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A continuation of The Moral Animal, this one looks more at society as a whole and concluded that it too seemed to be evolving into something better.
Permalink · Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I've just finished re-reading Nonzero. Robert Heinlein once defined a good book as one which you can read again and get more out of it, and a great book as one which you can read again and again and keep getting more out of it. Nonzero is definitely in the great category. A conversation I was having recently with John Smart of the Acceleration Studies Foundation reminded me of Nonzero and made it clear to me that a re-read was in order. In Nonzero, Robert Wright brilliantly applies game theory to the evolution of life and human culture and makes an excellent case for the continuous expansion of non-zero-sum games in both arenas, giving a strong direction of progressive change in both. The book is much deeper and broader than that simple sentence implies, and I consider the book a must read for anyone who is interested in the nature of being human.
Permalink · Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Having just finished Nonzero for the second time, I've got to admit it is seriously one of the best and most important books I've ever read. Why did I have to read it a second time? The first was a quick read over a long weekend two years ago -- but something stuck in my mind that I hadn't really "grokked" it. And that was true, because, I read it as an archaeologist, rather than as an anthropologist, and I guess I was just looking at it as another theoretical bent. But there was that gnawing feeling I'd missed something. On a second 'conscious' reading of the book, slowly digesting as I read, and following all the notes, I came away with the gist of it, and you know, Wright's right: civilizations may come and go, but cultural evolution is here to stay. Is there a method to the madness? Yes, absolutely. Is it 'conscious' in its own right? Well, there's the rub. But as far as showing that cultural evolution proceeds pretty much along the same route as biological evolution (only at hyper-speed), well, Mr. Wright, I'm convinced.If there is any criticism, I'd have to say it centers on the fact that he lays it all at the feet of (the pursuit of?) non-zero-sumness (a sub-set of outcomes related to game theory, and which he freely admits was awkward at times), and that took some getting used to, as well as understanding, and then believing.The exploration of history against a background of Darwinian biological evolution, even to the molecular level, is mind-numbing, but well worth the ride. And his explanation of the (probability and) nature of life is awe-inspiring. I would suggest it become a standard text in Anthropology graduate courses as soon as possible.But again, I think it is a very important book, and I would highly recommend it to anyone with an open mind, intelligence, and hope for the future (and a good background in the sciences wouldn't hurt either). Read it slowly and contemplate the consequences. Thanks Mr. Wright.
Permalink · Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
scribd