If you've ever wondered why human beings act the way they act, or prefer the things (and people) they prefer, take note - Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa may have the answers...or at least some of them. In Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, these co-authors sink their teeth into age-old controversies about human nature, attempting to deploy the strictures of evolutionary biology in order to explain quite broadly why people are the way we are.
Stephen Hoye's strong pacing translates the book's accessible tone into an equally listenable experience, and his clear voice endows this intriguing work with an authoritative vibe.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, our brains and bodies are hardwired to carry out an evolutionary mission that determines much of what we do, from life plans to everyday decisions.
With an accessible tone and a healthy disregard for political correctness, this lively and eminently readable book popularizes the latest research in a cutting-edge field of study: one that turns much of what we thought we knew about human nature upside-down.
Every time we fall in love, fight with our spouse, enjoy watching a favorite TV show, or feel scared walking alone at night, we are in part behaving as a human animal with its own unique nature: a nature that essentially stopped evolving 10,000 years ago. Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa reexamine some of the most popular and controversial topics of modern life and shed a whole new light on why we do the things we do.
Beware: You may never look at human nature the same way again.
©2007 Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
"A lively excursion into the new, and still disputed, field of Evolutionary Psychology." (Kirkus Reviews)
"This accessible book opens the youthful field of evolutionary psychology wide for examination, with results often as disturbing as they are fascinating." (Publishers Weekly)
From reading some of the other reviews, I thought that this book was going to be great cover to cover. While it did contain some good thought provoking stuff, I found that it became repetitive and took some license with the statistics that it was using (where it bothered to use them) to prop up their position. While I feel there is good logic to much of what is put forward in this book, I think the approach is a little too simplistic and not sufficiently supported.
An excellent introduction to evolutionary psychology. Well written, in terms both of clarity and style, and peppered with moments of robust humor and startling, albeit tentative, conclusions. The narrator is excellent, sounding well rehearsed (all too rare) and possessed of a delightful sense of humor, served very, very dry.
Worth mentioning as well, the dedication to the co-author was, at least for me, genuinely moving and memorable.
An outstanding evidence-based introduction to evolutionary psychology. The authors have elegantly combined research studies with relevant daily life examples. Importantly, they have not yielded to the mores that have often stifled the discussion of the evolution of human traits and abilities. Highly recommended.
Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy
I absolutely loved every part of this book. I liked is so much I listened to it twice, back to back. I had never heard of Evolutionary Psychology before, but everything it professed to be true or speculated upon really rang true for me. This is a fascinating topic, whether you buy into all of it, some of it, or none of it. It just makes so much sense to me. It is written in a light-hearted manner and was an easy listen that frequently elicited smiles from me, as I shook my head and said, "Yes!".
The format involves the author stating a question about human nature and answering the question according to the new science of Evolutionary Psychology. In very simple terms, this science posits that human culture or human nature is the same for all people worldwide. It evolved thousands of years ago and our prime directive is to reproduce ourselves. This influences and directs every aspect of male and female behavior. It so clearly explains how the differences between the sexes evolved and what drives men and women.
At the end of the book, the author presents questions that are not yet answered by the new science and some possible explanations that have been put forth.
I highly recommend this book. It is fairly short, expertly narrated, and guaranteed to make you smile!
Yes. I was intrigued by the theories of evolutionary psychology to which I had never previously been exposed. I would probably listen again at 2X speed (thanks Audible player) for a refresher. Although I felt the authors went out of their way to avoid placing any moral or value-based judgement on the outcomes and motivations of the decisions we make in our human behavior, I did feel a critical dimension was missing from the book:How do we account for those individuals ho overcome evolutionary tendencies to make decisions that showmahigher human nature?
Well articulated and kept the listener engaged.
This is a good read, although I don't feel there was much that was earth-shattering. The questions the author raised were ones most of us think about, but the only answer I got from this book was SEX. He may be right. I enjoyed the process of analying what information the authors had, but mostly I felt they were assuming too much. I recommend this book for people who enjoyed the side-ways thinking of FREAKANOMICS, but don't expect great revelations.
Anyone with any interest in human nature and why we do what we do is sure to find at least several tidbits in this easy-to-listen book.
I'm a huge fan of evolutionary psychology. This covers all the basics, and more!
I can't say I've read anything quite like it. Closest thing would have to be A General Theory of Love - only because it deals with some evolutionary psychology, but mostly neuropsychology.
Does not apply
The section that actually explains "why beautiful people have more daughters". It was very in-depth, and even a little hard to follow. I will have to re-read it in order to concretely memorize the concept. But that is not a complaint. I found that section in particular highly interesting.
This book and topic, evolutionary psychology is both fascinating and frustrating. Clearly there are a lot of useful truths to be mined in the premise that our brains have evolved mostly to adapt to conditions long ago. These authors, however, as well as all other authors I've read on the topic keep overextending their theoretical reach. Essentially they are reductionists: reducing all human experience to the premise that Genes are driving us to spread them far and wide. While genes may be "trying" to do this, this in no way entails that it is the only or primary dynamic in human experience.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
Finally, a book that addresses why people are the way they are instead of the way we think we ought to be. Human beings have certain behavioral inclinations because those traits have proven to be useful to our propagation and survival. You can philosophize and preach and dream about a utopian society, but our intrinsic nature is almost sure to win out in the end. This book is full of interesting insights along those lines. It's still a new field so some of the thinking comes across as premature and speculative, but it's fascinating all the same. And if anyone still wants that utopian society, it behooves you to understand what we as a species are all about if you want to figure out what you're up against.
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