A Theory of Everyone: The New Science of Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going

Michael Muthukrishna

My review 2024-03-30

This book discusses a vast number of subjects, and although it is thought-provoking and fun to read, it is also simultaneously frustrating. All too rarely does it go into sufficient depth with the ideas, theories or suggestions it presents. The book covers too much.

That said, its discussion of the vital importance of cooperation, collaboration and culture for humans is good. The thesis that intelligence in humans is fundamentally a culturally based trait is well argued. Another interesting part is the discussion about the constraints for human society given by the availability of useful energy sources.

An example of a provocative point that is less successfully presented is the idea of using block-chain technology for smart social contracts as a means of updating governance and democracy. The discussion here is fundamentally naive, simply stating repeatedly that smart contracts are self-enforcing. Sorry, but the social contract cannot be reduced to a matter of software code.

All in all, an interesting, but not very satisfactory read.