First published in 1992, Helen Fisher's Anatomy of Love quickly became a classic. Since then, Fisher has conducted pioneering brain research on lust, romantic love, and attachment; gathered data on more than 80,000 people to explain why you love who you love; and collected information on more than 30,000 men and women on sexting, hooking up, friends with benefits, and other current trends in courtship and marriage. This is a cutting-edge tour de force that traces human family life from its origins in Africa over 20 million years ago to the Internet dating sites and bedrooms of today. It's got it all: the copulatory gaze and other natural courting ploys; the who, when, where, and why of adultery; love addictions; Fisher's discovery of four broad chemically based personality styles and what each seeks in romance; the newest data on worldwide (biologically based) patterns of divorce; how and why men and women think differently; the real story of women, men, and power; the rise - and fall - of the sexual double standard; and what brain science tells us about how to make and keep a happy partnership.
©2016 Helen E. Fisher (P)2016 Tantor
This audiobook is read by the author, Helen Fisher. Unfortunately, Dr Fisher's voice sounds like a whisper, and is very unpleasant to listen to and at times hard to understand. After listening to over a hundred audiobooks, this is actually the first time I had to abandon a title merely because of dissatisfaction with the narrator.
I very much appreciated the narration by the author, and I was actually surprised to find that the author was reading rather than a professional. Her tone, inflections, and cadence added confidence to the text. I felt I was being instructed by a wise teacher who had much to tell.
I loved the way we delved all the way back to the origins of human beings (and before) to get hints into our human relationships. I also appreciated the (all too brief) following of these relationships as they "evolved" (bad word choice that) from early humans to now. I was also taken with her well studied and presented ideas which challenged my preconceived notions, and which I found very persuasive.
I loved her use of the classic Margaret Mead quote, "I have been married three times, and none of them was a failure."
I have not, but I intend to.
Please don't make a film of this book. Maybe a documentary series, but only maybe.
My only real problem with the book was the conclusion. Throughout the book Dr. Fisher went into great detail to explain to us how the natural state of relationships including pair bonding and serial monogamy coupled with infidelity evolved over time, and how our present inclinations (acknowledged or otherwise) are based in our evolutionary past. And then at the end, she goes on to propose "slow love" as a theory to explain where relationships are going now. Okay, fine, if the goal is to just point out where we are headed, but it stands at odds with everything we have learned in the book until now. We see our natural inclinations (both men and women) towards serial monogamy with infidelity replaced by a safe, slow path to lifelong monogamy with infidelity "totally inexcusable in all cases" as some sort of next step, but one clearly and completely at odds with nature and human evolution. One could easily make the point that from a religious or cultural standpoint our natural inclinations are to be thwarted by the word of God (or a civil authority) and replaced with a dictum from heaven, but the study set forth by Dr. Fisher in the book isn't based on religion, therefore I think a better conclusion would have been a further study of where/how things have gone awry from a natural standpoint, and what healthier alternatives might be.
I would love to read a study by Dr. Fisher on the history of marriage through recorded history, which might be every bit as intriguing and enlightening as her history of relationships throughout pre-history.
I find the author was kind of zig-zagging between whether or not man as a species was cut out for monogamy or infidelity. There were lots of evidence given for both sides of the debate. I do suspect Fisher probably leans more into the belief that humans cannot sustain long term monogamy AND being sexually exclusive. Though overall I enjoyed the book and found it informative, I found it delved unnecessarily into irrelevant athropological studies that only served to pad the book. Say less and say what you really mean, Fisher.
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