Scott L. Montgomery Books


The Shape of the New

Four Big Ideas and How They Made The Modern World


The "four big ideas" are the American Revolution ( Jefferson and Hamilton) and the works of Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and Charles Darwin. I read the Adam Smith section closely, and lightly skimmed the rest with "index sampling". This is a valuable academic work, but not useful to me.

Brief notes

p190: "Was Darwin himself a Social Darwinist? Did he believe natural selection could be applied to society? The answer seems a pretty clear "no" in Origin of Species but a definite "yes" in Descent of Man. By the time of the latter work, however, he was a late arrival to such notions. ...

So, I didn't read the whole thing - I've read about 30 of the works cited, a compendium of thousands of cites is good academic scholarship but not useful for responsibly evaluating how my own actions and ideas might shape (or mis-shape) the future. For example, how to I convey some of the wonder of the natural world to someone committed to ancient myths that are incompatible with what's around them.

Amusingly, one of the books in the bibliography is:

ScottMontgomery (last edited 2019-01-01 17:49:00 by KeithLofstrom)