How the Biosphere Works: Fresh Views Discovered While Growing Peppers
(2022, The CRC Press)


"Does growing a few pepper plants in an Amsterdam high-rise and a lifetime of study of universal development help explain the biosphere on which our lives depend? To answer this question, Professor Fred Spier draws on both his far-reaching personal intellectual journey and the work of a large range of pioneers. The book has emerged from an ongoing lifetime of studying history across many disciplines while questioning biases, explains emergent complexity, and integrates separate fields into a single coherent and convincing whole."  
Dr. Lowell Gustafson, Villanova University
"After introducing the central concept of "Goldilocks conditions" for Big history, Fred Spier now offers us a new innovative view of the whole biosphere as part of a more cosmic view in which humans are included. Spier highlights and proposes again key notions that must not be forgotten – concepts that are essential to understand the world that we live in as a whole and our role in it."
Dra. Olga García Moreno, Departamento de Geología, Universidad de Oviedo
"Fred Spier takes us on a journey from the everyday business of growing pepper plants in a flowerpot to the very edge of human knowledge about the future of life on Earth. A bold book written in an approachable and accessible style that challenges our relationship with other species and shows the central importance of building a more mutually beneficial relationship between humans and the rest of the biosphere."
Dr. Mark Williams, University of Leicester
"Spier walks in the footsteps of Alexander von Humboldt, offering an account of the development of the biosphere and the human place within it that combines biology, chemistry, history, anthropology, sociology and a few other sciences as well. How the Biosphere Works ranges in scale from microbes to the Universe, mixing idiosyncratic observations on pepper plants with insightful analysis of large-scale social systems. It is a unique synthesis, clearly written and handsomely illustrated, a rewarding read for anyone."
Dr. J.R. McNeill, Georgetown University, author of Something New under the Sun and The Great Acceleration
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