In Why the West Rules - For Now Ian Morris argues that to understand the development of East and West, we need to look beyond 'long-term lock-in' theories (that suggest it was inevitable) and 'short-term accident' theories. Instead, we need to measure social development - a group's ability to master its environment to get things done - and use the results to look at the patterns of history.
Why the West Rules - For Now briefly describes the methods used to calculate Eastern and Western social development scores since the ice age; in The Measure of Civilisation, Morris expands upon these methods, discussing possible objections to this approach, and providing fascinating accounts of his gathering of evidence for his calculations. It is a magnificent account of where our understanding of the development of East and West comes from, and an unusual insight into a master thinker at work.
Ian Morris is Willard Professor of Classics, Professor of History and a fellow of the Archaeology Centre at Stanford University. His first trade book, Why the West Rules - For Now  was published to near-universal acclaim and was the winner of a number of prizes including a PEN USA Literary Award and the getAbstract awards for best English language business book.