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

How can new insights into evolution help us solve problems in life, art, business and science?
9781786076151 (4 Jul 2019)
RRP £18.99
9781786077738 (6 May 2021)
RRP £10.99

The Book

‘This is a wonderful, mind-expanding book. Prepare to be surprised, enlightened and awed as Wagner reveals the sources of human and natural creativity.'

- Alice Roberts


In Darwin's survival of the fittest, each step must be uphill as life progresses towards an evolutionary peak. There is no turning back. So what happens when life needs to cross a valley in the wilds of an adaptive landscape to reach the highest summit?

World-renowned biologist Andreas Wagner reveals that life does not 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.

Life Finds a Way is a thought-provoking and deeply hopeful look at the force that shapes our world.

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.


‘An impressively brisk intellectual tour through the glory days of early 20th century evolutionary biology.'

- Wall Street Journal

‘Wagner has done it again. This is a wonderful, mind-expanding book. Prepare to be surprised, enlightened and awed as Wagner reveals the sources of human and natural creativity.'

- Alice Roberts, Professor of Public Engagement with Science, University of Birmingham

‘In this remarkably wide-ranging book, Andreas Wagner shows what nature can teach us about creativity, and his answers hold an important message for the way we educate our children and run our institutions and societies.'

- Philip Ball, author of Beyond Weird

‘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

‘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

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

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