SuperCooperators and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 
Start reading SuperCooperators on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Super Cooperators: Evolution, Altruism and Human Behaviour or, Why We Need Each Other to Succeed [Paperback]

Martin Nowak , Roger Highfield
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 5.15  
Hardcover --  
Paperback 6.99  
Paperback, 17 Mar 2011 --  
Amazon.co.uk Trade-In Store
Did you know you can use your mobile to trade in your unwanted books for an Amazon.co.uk Gift Card to spend on the things you want? Visit the Books Trade-In Store for more details or check out the Trade-In Amazon Mobile App Guidelines on how to trade in using a smartphone. Learn more.

Book Description

17 Mar 2011
EVOLUTION IS OFTEN PRESENTED AS A STRICTLY COMPETITIVE ENDEAVOR. This point of view has had serious implications for the way we see the mechanics of both science and culture. But scientists have long wondered how societies could have evolved without some measure of cooperation. And if there was cooperation involved, how could it have arisen from nature "red in tooth and claw"?

Martin Nowak, one of the world's experts on evolution and game theory, working here with bestselling science writer Roger Highfield, turns an important aspect of evolutionary theory on its head to explain why cooperation, not competition, has always been the key to the evolution of complexity. He offers a new explanation for the origin of life and a new theory for the origins of language, biology's second greatest information revolution after the emergence of genes. "SuperCooperators "also brings to light his game-changing work on disease. Cancer is fundamentally a failure of the body's cells to cooperate, Nowak has discovered, but organs are cleverly designed to foster cooperation, and he explains how this new understanding can be used in novel cancer treatments.

Nowak and Highfield examine the phenomena of reciprocity, reputation, and reward, explaining how selfless behavior arises naturally from competition; how forgiveness, generosity, and kindness have a mathematical rationale; how companies can be better designed to promote cooperation; and how there is remarkable overlap between the recipe for cooperation that arises from quantitative analysis and the codes of conduct seen in major religions, such as the Golden Rule.

In his first book written for a wide audience, this hugely influential scientist explains his cutting-edge research into the mysteries of cooperation, from the rise of multicellular life to Good Samaritans. With wit and clarity, Nowak and Highfield make the case that cooperation, not competition, is the defining human trait. "SuperCooperators "will expand our understanding of evolution and provoke debate for years to come.



Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd; Export & Airside ed edition (17 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847673376
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847673374
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 15.3 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,683,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

'Supercooperators looks beyond The Selfish Gene and invites us to think afresh about evolution. Contrary to the simplistic idea that selfishness is the only strategy for survival, the brilliant Martin Nowak proves that cooperation is also vitally important. This rich and rewarding book teems with new ideas and insights, which co-author Roger Highfield makes wonderfully lucid and entertaining.' --Graham Farmelo, author of THE STRANGEST MAN

'A fantastic journey into the science of cooperation, with important implications for both individuals and society alike.'
--Richard Wiseman, author of 59 SECONDS, QUIRKOLOGY and THE LUCK FACTOR

'Martin Nowak is one of the most creative scientists of our time, and Roger Highfield is a superb science writer. Their insights into the mystery of cooperation will change the way you think about everything. If you're looking for the next Big Idea book, you've just found it.' --Steven Strogatz, Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics, Cornell University, and New York Times contributor

'Martin Nowak is regarded as the foremost mathematical theorist working in evolutionary biology. His contributions on cooperation and altruism, here augmented by the expertise of Roger Highfield, fall in one of the most important domains of present-day biology.' --Edward O. Wilson, author of CONSILIENCE and Pellegrino University Research Professor, Harvard University

'Roger Highfield deftly weaves together a personal and informative account of the research of Harvard's Martin Nowak to reveal five mechanisms that rule human behaviour. On the way, they explore the origins of life, language, cancer and much more, and highlight how evolution can lead to cooperation as well as competition.' --Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and recent President of the Royal Society

'A panoramic view of the role of cooperation in the evolution... [A] sweeping survey... Nowak is a mathematical biologist, and his enthusiasm for numbers is extremely useful in his discussions of evolutionary theory. However, thankfully for the mathematically disinclined, there is little hard math here... A fleshed-out, persuasive chronicle of the bright side-collective enterprise-of the evolutionary road.'
--Kirkus Review

`SuperCooperators is part autobiography, part textbook, and reads like a best-selling novel.'
--Manfred Milinski, Nature.

An absorbing, accessible book about the power of mathematics... Nowak is one of the most exciting modelers working in the field of mathematical biology today.
--New York Times Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Martin Nowak is Professor of Biology and Mathematics at Harvard University. Dr Nowak is the recipient of Oxford's Weldon Memorial Prize; the Albert Wander Prizeof the University of Bern; the Akira Okubo Prize of the Society for Mathematical Biology; the Roger E. Murray Prize, awarded by the Institute for Quantitative Research in Finance; The David Starr Jordan Prize, given jointly by Stanford, Cornell and Indiana Universities; and the Henry Dale Prize of the Royal Institution, London. He has held major research posts at the Oxford University, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and now Harvard University. He has published over 300 papers and has been widely praised for revolutionising the mathematical approach to biology. Roger Highfield, DPhil, is the editor of New Scientist magazine and was the Science Editor of the Daily Telegraph for two decades. He has written or coauthored six popular science books, two of which have been bestsellers. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Super Cooperation 27 Mar 2011
Format:Hardcover
From Darwin's "The Origin of Species" to Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene" we learn about the ruthless nature of evolutionary pressure by natural selection. Yet observation of both the human and wider natural world demonstrates clearly that altruism is not just practised by well-meaning creatures but the very stuff which oils the machinery. Martin Nowak is a leading proponent of the importance of altruism - "being nice" - in naturual selection and has written a fine book explaining the game theory on which his research is based, the five strategies which emerge from it - direct reciprocity ("I'll help you if you help me"), indirect reciprocity ("if I help you, maybe someone that you know will help me"), spatial selection (where a group of cooperators - neighbours, say - help each other), group selection (where natural selection favours one group over another because it is acting as a group) and kin selection ("I help my relatives") and applications in nature and human society. Nowak's breakthrough in the field lies in modelling these strateigies mathematically - he first came to prominence through describing the infection pattern of HIV, providing an understanding of why it moved rapidly to full-blown AIDS in some people, yet lay apparently dormant for many years in others.

This would have led to a worthy (but difficult) book without Roger Highfield as co-author. Highfield, editor of New Scientist, is surely the finest exponent of the art of taking highly complex scientific subjects and rendering them both understandable and easy to read for the layman (compare his "Frontiers of Complexity" with Roger Penrose's "The Emperor's New Mind" and you will see).
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No Selfish Gene 17 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback
While this book does introduce the ideas that Nowak has been exploring throughout his academic life, it is light on detail. Whereas the selfish gene was dense with ideas and conclusions, this book spends more time talking about all the amazing scientists Nowak has worked with/inspired/been inspired by, along with nice descriptions about the Austrian alps.

It seems he was told to include lots of human anecdotes to keep his audience engaged, and to shy away from any maths/detailed explanation. What a shame, because the ideas are intriguing. (Oh, and I hate the references - stuffed together in the bibliography but with no 'reference' to them from within the chapter itself - after being frustrated by the paucity of detail about the subject, a nice link to more information would have been greatly appreciated)

All in all a good entrée, but certainly not the whole meal.

(BTW the reviewers who talk about 'selfishness not being to anybody's advantage' are plain wrong. The whole point of the Prisoner's Dilemma is that it pays to be selfish - the whole point of Nowak's research is to define under what circumstances cooperation can succeed in spite of this. Also, he regularly mentions the wave of selfishness/cooperation that ebbs and flows through his simulations - it is not static!)
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I've read the book and believe this is a major contribution not just to evolutionary theory, your own social and work life, but also modern day politics. Novak and Highfield make a sobering and essential point towards the end; our ability to avoid species extinction - eg by global warming - relies on our ability to engender cooperation across the whole planet.

It's this essential challenge which the historical darwinian notion of 'survival of the fittest' is ill-equipped to solve. No one struggling to assist with political change can afford not to be aware of the book's central contentions. No one struggling with a difficult boss at work or exasperating relationship, will succeed unless they are using (even inadvertently) a strategy borrowed from some part of Novak's research.

There are very few novel concepts in biology that reach across to the social sciences, without falling into the trap of easy determinism. This account of game theory and strategy succeeds. Even if you don't agree with the conclusions, there are few better rigorous introductions to the notion of strategising across species, as well as human affairs.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit over-egged? 17 May 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this after reading David Willets' (UK Minister for Universities and Science) review in the FT in May 2011. I was expecting to find some 'Pinker like' heavy logic and evidence with lots of actual mathematics to back up what was said in the Willets' review. Instead much seemed to be written in a popularist manner with lots of padding rather like one of those documentaries on TV these days. Lots of opinions and ideas with no real supporting logic or arguments. No real 'meat'.

With Amazon's excellent return policy no harm in trying. But be prepared for not much substance. I gave up about half way through. Its made me a little skeptical about the Cabinet's thinking. Perhaps it was all over my head!
Was this review helpful to you?
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disappointing 12 Oct 2011
Format:Hardcover
After reading the articles in Daily Telegraph I was disappointed. The book is very repetitive. Much of it is autobiographical and rather self-congratulatory!
Most of the conclusions must have occurred to just about anyone who has thought about evolution since Darwin did his stuff.
Presumably there are lots of assumptions which underlie
the computer results of Nowak's games.
The book is worth reading but could be improved by cutting out the name-dropping and summarising it to about a quarter of the length.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
ARRAY(0xa5e6eec4)

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback