BookPDF Available

Applied Big History: A Guide for Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Other Living Things

  • Metanexus Institute

Abstract and Figures

Applied Big History is a guidebook to doing good and well in a fast-changing world. With the help of numerous experts, author William Grassie builds a latticework of diverse disciplines—physics, chemistry, geology, cell biology, energetics, informatics, evolution, anthropology, psychology, economics, and more. Grassie explores the significance of chaos and complexity, as well as the dynamics of discovery and innovation, in evolution and economics. He does so with a practical eye as to how these new sciences can help to better understand and practice economics, business, and finance in the face of uncertainties. Applied Big History weaves many specializations together in a useful framework for application in work and life contexts alike. The book includes a foreword by Mitch Julis, co-founder of Canyon Partners, a hedge fund with $25 billion under management. Julis writes: “Applied Big History does macro and micro. It zooms elegantly in and out, between the two throughout this engaging book by applying the general principles of acquired scientific and historical knowledge available to us today. As a result, we learn that value and wealth represent not just the flow and accumulation of money, but also stand for the fundamentals of energy, matter, and ingenuity that flow in and out of the economy and the financial system…. Grassie’s exposition is careful, concise, informative, and engaging in telling and applying this origin story to the investment world.” Who should read this book? Pretty much everybody. Big History is our common story—an origins story that transcends ethnic, political, religious and linguistics differences. It provides a framework for understanding, debating, and solving the great challenges of our time. It provides an ennobling perspective on our lives, generating wonder, awe, and gratitude. The applied part of Big History affects how we conceive every career and industry, every academic discipline and vocation, every problem and opportunity. Grassie’s book is unique in the field for exploring Big History and its relevance to decision-making in business and finance.
Content may be subject to copyright.
A preview of the PDF is not available
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
The history of the life–Earth system can be divided into five ‘energetic’ epochs, each featuring the evolution of life forms that can exploit a new source of energy. These sources are: geochemical energy, sunlight, oxygen, flesh and fire. The first two were present at the start, but oxygen, flesh and fire are all consequences of evolutionary events. Since no category of energy source has disappeared, this has, over time, resulted in an expanding realm of the sources of energy available to living organisms and a concomitant increase in the diversity and complexity of ecosystems. These energy expansions have also mediated the trans- formation of key aspects of the planetary environment, which have in turn mediated the future course of evolutionary change. Using energy as a lens thus illuminates patterns in the entwined histories of life and Earth, and may also provide a framework for considering the potential trajectories of life–planet systems elsewhere.
While Darwinism has successfully resisted reduction to physics, the authors point out that it has from the outset developed and applied its core explanatory concept, natural selection, by borrowing models from dynamics, a branch of physics. The recent development of complex systems dynamics may afford Darwinism yet another occasion to expand its explanatory power. Darwinism's use of dynamical models has received insufficient attention from biologists, historians, and philosophers who have concentrated instead on how evolutionary biology has maintained its autonomy from physics. Yet, as Depew and Weber observe, it is only by recovering Darwin's own relationship to Newtonian models of systems dynamics, and genetical Darwinism's relationship to statistical mechanics and probability theory, that insight can be gained into how Darwinism can successfully meet the challenges it is currently facing. Drawing on recent scholarship in the history of biology, Depew and Weber bring the dynamical perspective to bear on a number of important episodes in the history of the Darwinian research tradition: Darwin's "Newtonian" Darwinism, the rise of "developmentalist" evolutionary theories and the eclipse of Darwinism at the turn of the century, Darwinism's struggles to incorporate genetics, its eventual regeneration in the modern evolutionary synthesis, challenges to that synthesis that have been posed in recent decades by molecular genetics, and recent proposals for meeting those challenges. Bradford Books imprint
The article looks at investment bank Goldman Sachs. The author comments on the relationship between former employees of Goldman Sachs and the people involved with economic recovery efforts. Former chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs, Henry Paulson, was U.S. Treasury secretary under former president George W. Bush. U.S. Treasury secretary under former president Bill Clinton, Robert Rubin, worked at Goldman Sachs for 26 years before becoming chairman of Citigroup.