Blueprint Book Summary By Nicholas A. Christakis

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Blueprint is a fascinating read about the human psyche and how it is shaped by our evolutionary past.

Written in 2019, the book delves into topics such as love, cooperation and friendship to explain how they came to be part of our social makeup.

It takes readers on a journey through history, providing evidence from scientific research that dates back hundreds of thousands of years and shows how these fundamental traits still shape us in the present day.

It offers an insightful look into how our psychology has been formed over countless generations, making for an intriguing and informative read.

Blueprint Book

Book Name: Blueprint (The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society)

Author(s): Nicholas A. Christakis

Rating: 4.1/5

Reading Time: 22 Minutes

Categories: Science

Author Bio

Nicholas A.

Christakis is a highly acclaimed and influential figure in the worlds of medicine, science, public health, and academia.

He currently serves as the Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University and is the founder of the Human Nature Lab.

In addition to his prestigious position at Yale University, Christakis was also selected by Time Magazine as one of 2009's most powerful figures in the world.

Adding further to his prominence within the fields above, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2015.

Unlock The Hidden Connections That Unite Us All: Exploring The Evolution, Psychology And Culture Of Human Society


Nicholas A.

Christakis in his book Blueprint understands that we all share an innate need of belonging and connection.

He examines the powerful force of social ties that bind us, which has been rooted in our evolutionary past.

He draws on cutting-edge insights from his lab to explain how small differences should not be an obstacle when it comes to our relationships, friendships, and even in our cultures.

We are biologically designed for culture and he shows us how we are genetically predisposed to form deep connections with one another.

These social ties go beyond borders and further than nationalities, gender identities, religious beliefs or racial backgrounds- they breed understanding, belonging and ultimately make up a greater social unity.

This drive has been seen throughout history, which can even be traced by looking at events such as shipwrecks and the origins of romantic love.

So it’s time to take a look at our evolutionary road map and discover the common humanity that unites us all.

How The Universal Social Suite Allows Us To Foster Friendships Across Cultural Boundaries

Humans are born with a robotic-like set of instructions encoded in our genes that eventually control how we interact with one another.

This collection of mental wiring becomes apparent through the study of social behavior, and the author calls it the ‘social suite.’ The social suite includes an innate ability to form relationships and favor those who look like us, as well as being able to recognize individual identities (such as through personal names).

This leads us to conclude that humans have come ready-made with a blueprint for social behavior.

We see this in action on playgrounds or Turkish island getaways, with Greek children rampaging around with their new friends or seeing five year olds discriminating against those wearing a different colored t-shirt.

These innate tendencies lead us towards forming meaningful relationships and understanding complex societal dynamics.

It’s clear that each person is born with unique tendencies that guide them into forming strong relationships.

Shipwrecks Show That Human Social Behaviors Are Evolved, Not Learned

Human Social Behaviors

The survival of people stranded on deserted islands without an established society or infrastructure often serves as a real-world experiment to understand how humans interact with one another without the influences of culture or highly structured society.

The shipwreck survivors of the Invercauld and Grafton provide two distinct cases to illustrate how social behaviors can be instinctive and beneficial in certain scenarios.

The crew of the Invercauld displayed all too quickly what could happen in a situation when social cues are not followed, with every person looking out for themselves at any cost, including abandoning their weakest and most vulnerable members.

This is in stark contrast to the Grafton, where almost immediately everyone began working together to promote each other’s well-being; they pulled their Captain’s Mate out of the water with ropes, set up a makeshift school during their time waiting for rescue, and never left a man behind.

By comparing these two stories we can see that it’s possible that humans’ natural tendencies include cooperation, teaching and helping others – this “social suite.” This pro-social behavior certainly had positive effects for both groups by providing physical security, boosting morale and increasing chances of survival – all important things in desperate situations like shipwrecks.

Therefore, it appears that recognizing the benefit of such behaviors is imprinted from birth within us due to evolution – which proves essential to our survival as humans.

The Universal Ties Of Love: How Evolution Has Shaped Human Romantic Relationships

It is widely accepted that when it comes to relationships, love is an emotion that transcends all cultures.

Research has suggested that this deep emotional attachment developed through an evolutionary accident, as humans initially only felt an affinity towards their offspring before extending that feeling to include sexual partners.

This showed its practical use by keeping families together through pregnancy and child-rearing which increased the chances of their offspring’s survival.

Another factor that remains fairly consistent across cultures is the practice of monogamy.

For thousands of years, this has been paramount in maintaining societies by allowing every man to have a partner, thus lowering feelings of despair among unattached men who are left without wives or family.

Consequently, there would be fewer instances of antisocial behaviour such as violent crime, theft and rape which impact entire communities and diminish resources.

We can certainly see this in places like China where gender ratios have become unstable due to sex-selective abortion which leads to more unmarried men than women – leading them on a more violent path than those in married relationships

Why Friendship Is Universal: How Our Ancestors’ Need For Mutual Support Gave Us An Evolutionary Advantage


Friendship has always been a cornerstone of human society, and it’s been used to help humans survive in times of peril.

It’s no wonder that it exists around the world, as many cultures express affection, trust and mutual aid in different ways.

This is because each culture has different ways of expressing friendship.

In the United States, friendships are often expressed through socializing and sharing personal information with one another.

In other areas of the world, however, physical contact is seen as a more common expression of friendship – something Americans first noticed when President George W.

Bush held hands with Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in 2005.

But why do friendships matter so much? Scientists believe that our ancestors formed friendships to give them an evolutionary advantage.

They needed people they could rely on for help during times of crisis such as drought or illness ─ people who weren’t expecting something back from them in return.

But this isn’t just true for our ancestors; even today, people living in poorer communities often rely on their friends for childcare, loans and home repairs more than their wealthier counterparts.

The Fragile Nature Of Human Cooperation Revealed With Amazon Mechanical Turk

Researching cooperative behavior has been made easier and more accessible through technological progress.

This is demonstrated in the Amazon Mechanical Turk, a software system designed to outsource online tasks, which was launched in 2005.

Social scientists saw the potential of using this platform to explore how communities would react to different situations; giving them a new way to analyze cooperative behavior.

Using the Turk platform, an experiment was carried out on 40 distinct social networks of virtual users whereby each user was given a sum of money with the option to keep it for themselves or give it to their neighbor – whereby their neighbor’s reward would be double but they would become poorer as a result.

The research found that when one user stopped donating, subsequent users became less likely or even unwilling to contribute; proving that while cooperation is still inherent in humans, it can quickly break down depending on certain conditions.

Through advances made in technology over time, social psychologists like those behind the Amazon Mechanical Turk have been provided with an opportunity to study human nature such as cooperative behaviour in a more extensive manner than ever before – leading us closer and closer to understanding the complex workings of our species through behavioral investigations.

The Remarkable Similarities Between Human And Animal Social Behaviour Are A Result Of Evolutionary Convergence

Animal Social Behaviour

Humans and many other animal species share the same social tendencies and behaviors.

Evidence suggests that elephants have friends, gorillas possess their own language, and rats show empathy.

Take capuchin monkeys for example – they exhibit the seemingly human trait of accepting vulnerability in front of their close friends by putting their fingers in each other’s mouth and allowing them to gently bite down on it.

These behaviors have likely evolved through a process known as evolutionary convergence, meaning different species may reach the same adaptation separately as a result of sharing highly similar environments.

Specifically, these species have likely all been subject to natural selection in closely knit social settings which favor those displaying cooperation, trust, relationships and communication.

As a result, those with these traits were more likely to survive long enough to pass them onto future generations who will also be able to thrive in this environment.

Therefore, it is no surprise that humans now share many social traits with members of other species; even if we did not evolve from them, our common environment has undeniably given us much shared ground when it comes to basic elements of social behavior.

Our Genes Have Endowed Us With The Ability To Develop Culture, Allowing Us To Survive In Harsh Environments

Humans have conquered a hostile planet through an intriguing combination of culture and genetics.

Our genes have provided us with enough advantages to survive the biodiversity in the world, including our ability to develop culture.

Longer lifespans and psychological features such as our desire for conformity between individuals, and our tendency to mimic behavior from older people, are some of the ways by which we transmit cultural knowledge from person-to-person.

As a result, cultures often become better adapted to their respective environments – much like natural selection itself can do – and can go on to create valuable traits that may increase chances for survival for future generations.

One example of this combination in action is the Europeans who undertook expeditions to faraway places without proper knowledge of the environment.

Many would perish because they lacked information about how best to survive in alien conditions; only those who had contact with locals managed to get out alive due to their invaluable cultural knowledge.

Wrap Up

The Blueprint, written by Tom Nichols, provides readers with an insightful look into the fundamental aspects of human behavior and social dynamics.

The main message conveyed in these sections is the idea that all humans share a universal set of social tendencies and preferences known as our “social suite”.

It’s this social suite that has allowed us to cooperate with one another, learn from each other and form loving relationships.

Without it, our species would not be where it is today.

Moreover, the Blueprint goes on to argue that in order for humans to survive, we must make use of our inherently human habits by developing culture around them.

This has been the key to our unique success as a species up until now.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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