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Darwin's theory of evolution was a monumental achievement, but there was much he did not know. In his 'survival of the fittest' model each step must go forward, life always progressing up the slope towards an evolutionary peak. There is no turning back. So what happens when there is more than one slope, and life finds itself on the wrong one? World-leading biologist Andreas Wagner reveals that life does not, as Darwin believed, only walk – it also leaps.
Drawing on pioneering research, Wagner explores life's creative process and how, with all the stops and starts, and knowing that sometimes things have to get worse before they get better, it bears a striking resemblance to how we humans work. There is a beguiling symmetry between the way Picasso struggled through forty versions of Guernica and how evolution transformed a dinosaur's claw into a condor's wing. This new understanding is already revolutionising our approach to problem-solving across the sciences. In the near future, applied in spheres as diverse as the economy and education, it will enable us to do so much more. Thought-provoking and deeply hopeful, Life Finds a Way reminds us that it is indeed possible to conquer the seemingly insurmountable.
Andreas Wagner is a professor and chairman at the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich. He is the author of four books on evolutionary innovation, including Arrival of the Fittest, which is also published by Oneworld. He lives in Zurich.