This View of Life and Atlas Hugged

Wednesday September 15th, 2021, 9 a.m. Pacific Time
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Cost: Suggested donation $10 US. Should this be beyond your reach, we’re happy to offer it to you free.


The September Global Reads is unusual, insofar as it brings together two books, This View of Life and Atlas Hugged, by the same author, David Sloan Wilson. 

It is also different since Wilson is offering Atlas Hugged free for the taking as a PDF or the cost of printing (

David Sloan Wilson sometimes describes himself as a novelist trapped inside the body of a scientist. His father was Sloan Wilson, who wrote two iconic novels of the 20th Century: The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, which described the corporate army that formed after World War II, and A Summer Place, which described changing sexual mores during the same period.

David received his undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Rochester in 1971 and his PhD in zoology from Michigan State University in 1975. This was a time when Darwin’s theory of evolution was unifying the study of all aspects of biology—but before it was being expanded to include all aspects of humanity. He was drawn to a question that can be asked about all social species: If natural selection favors individuals that survive and reproduce better than other individuals, then how can helping others to survive and reproduce evolve? This is the central theme of Atlas Hugged

About the Books:

This view of life



This View of Life by David Sloan Wilson

It is widely understood that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution completely revolutionized the study of biology. Yet, according to David Sloan Wilson, the Darwinian revolution won’t be truly complete until it is applied more broadly—to everything associated with the words “human,” “culture,” and “policy.”

In a series of engaging and insightful examples—from the breeding of hens to the timing of cataract surgeries to the organization of an automobile plant—Wilson shows how an evolutionary worldview provides a practical tool kit for understanding not only genetic evolution but also the fast-paced changes that are having an impact on our world and ourselves. What emerges is an incredibly empowering argument: If we can become wise managers of evolutionary processes, we can solve the problems of our age at all scales—from the efficacy of our groups to our well-being as individuals to our stewardship of the planet Earth.




Atlas Hugged by David Sloan Wilson

Call me anything but John Galt. That is my name, but it is also the name of my father and grandfather. I am not like them and the world they created is not the one I desire. The III after my name does not sufficiently set me apart.

With these words, famed scientist and nonfiction writer David Sloan Wilson launches a devastating critique of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism and its impact on the world. Just as Rand advanced her ideas through fiction in addition to nonfiction, including her iconic novel Atlas Shrugged, Wilson pursues his quarry into the fictional realm with the story of John Galt III, the grandson of the main protagonist of Rand’s novel, and his quest to defeat the Evil Empire constructed by his father, grandfather, and grandmother—Ayn Rant.

About the Author

SloanWilsonLike Professor Howard Head in Atlas Hugged, David studied a menagerie of species and topics—from mites that ride on the backs of beetles to personality differences in fish—but was increasingly drawn to the proposition that Darwin’s theory of evolution can make as much sense of humanity as the rest of life. As a researcher, he has studied topics as diverse as altruism, religion, literature, psychology, anthropology, education, economics, and business. As a teacher at Binghamton, he expanded his “Evolution for Everyone” course into the first multi-course program that teaches evolution across the curriculum, which has been emulated by other colleges and universities. In 2010, he helped to create The Evolution Institute, which formulates public policy from an evolutionary perspective. His newest venture is Prosocial World, a spinoff of the Evolution Institute.

David’s love of writing has resulted in three nonfiction books for a general audience. Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives (2007) was described as “a book that manages a minor miracle, the near complete emulsifying of science and the real world”. The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time (2011) was described as “Unique, beautifully written, wide-ranging…will delight a universe of readers”. This View of Life: Completing the Darwinian Revolution (2019) was described as “Utterly fascinating and beautifully written…[Wilson] addresses deep questions about humanity”.

Two of David’s books published by university presses are still accessible to a broad audience of intellectual seekers. Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society (2002) revolutionized the study of religion and other meaning systems from an evolutionary perspective. Does Altruism Exist? Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others (2015) is a concise account of Multilevel Selection Theory, which provides the scientific underpinning for Atlas Hugged.

About the Host

michaelkarlinMichael Karlin, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Life University in the Positive Human Development and Social Change Department and the Associate Director of the Life University Center for Compassion, Integrity and Secular Ethics. He is the co-author of Compassionate Integrity Training: A Secular Ethics Approach to Cultivating Personal, Social and Environmental Flourishing. Karlin received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Jewish Studies from Emory University in 2014. His dissertation, “‘To Create a Dwelling Place for God’: Life Coaching and the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic Movement in Contemporary America,” is an ethnographic study of two Jewish life coaching programs that blend psychology, religion and contemplative practice in order to provide resources with which individuals can construct moral selves and heal psychological wounds.

Michael Karlin was also a Fellow of the Tam Institute of Jewish Studies, Mind and Life Institute and the Wexner Heritage Institute. Prior to graduate school Karlin was the founder and President of the Mythic Imagination Institute, a non-profit institution dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of myth and ritual and how it functions in daily life. Additionally, he served as the Chairman of the Executive Board of the Alliance for a New Humanity, an international non-profit organization founded by two Nobel Peace Prize winners and Deepak Chopra that attempted to address pressing international issues by bridging the spheres of politics, economics, and religion.

Karlin is also an active real estate investor and was co-founder of Security First Network Bank, the world's first Internet bank, and S1 Corporation, Inc. (NASDAQ: SONE), the world's leading provider of financial portal solutions. He was president of Security First Network Bank at its inception, and was responsible for setting up the Internet operations, defining the original product offering, and receiving all regulatory approvals. Prior to SFNB, Karlin co-founded VST Financial Services, an SBA lending subsidiary of Cardinal Bancshares, Inc. of Lexington, Kentucky.

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