The Origins of Virtue

By Matt Ridley,

Book cover of The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts And the Evolution of Cooperation

Book description

If, as Darwin suggests, evolution relentlessly encourages the survival of the fittest, why are humans compelled to live in cooperative, complex societies? In this fascinating examination of the roots of human trust and virtue, a zoologist and former American editor of the Economist reveals the results of recent studies that…

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Why read it?

1 author picked The Origins of Virtue as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Matt Ridley is a science writer who has a rare knack for explaining complex ideas in ways that are witty and comprehensible to a lay audience. 

In Origins of Virtue, he weaves engaging anecdotes about academics who have argued that the function of traits we consider virtues is to uphold systems of cooperation into accounts of their ideas. I found his discussions of game theory especially interesting. 

Richard Dawkins may have provided the best review of Ridley’s book when he wrote, “If my Selfish Gene were to have a volume two devoted to humans, The Origins of Virtue is pretty…

From Dennis' list on how we became a moral animal.

Want books like The Origins of Virtue?

Our community of 11,000+ authors has personally recommended 100 books like The Origins of Virtue.

Browse books like The Origins of Virtue

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in altruism, evolutionary biology, and game theory?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about altruism, evolutionary biology, and game theory.

Altruism 21 books
Game Theory 41 books