Life Finds a Way

Pages: 320
Subject: Science, Popular Science
Imprint: Oneworld
Illustrations: 20 greyscale integrated illustrations

Life Finds a Way

What Evolution Teaches Us About Creativity

Andreas Wagner

One of the world's leading biologists reveals new insights into evolution, the creative process of nature, and how we can use them to solve problems in life, art, business and science
9781786076151 (4 Jul 2019)
RRP £18.99

The Book

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 it bears a striking resemblance to how we humans work. A beguiling symmetry links Picasso struggling through forty versions of Guernica and the way 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 no matter how many times we have to turn back, we can still reach the highest peaks.

Additional Information

Subject Science, Popular Science
Pages 320
Imprint Oneworld
Illustrations 20 greyscale integrated illustrations


About the Author

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.


Life Finds a Way weaves a coherent and compelling narrative about how nature achieves creativity. Not only that, we also learn how to cultivate creativity in our own lives.'

- George Dyson, author of Turing’s Cathedral

‘Finding surprising convergences between evolving species and an active imagination, Wagner persuasively argues that human inventiveness is a reflection not just of human nature but of nature itself.'

- Anthony Brandt, composer and co-author of The Runaway Species

‘Andreas Wagner has again cut through to the heart of a vital question. The notion that genomes are set up to explore, through trial and error, in the hope of leaping across the adaptive landscape to new peaks is a fresh concept. Wagner draws out fascinating parallels with the way innovation works in human society.'

- Matt Ridley, author of The Evolution of Everything and the forthcoming How Innovation Works

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