Why do testicles hang the way they do? Is there an adaptive function to the female orgasm? What does it feel like to want to kill yourself? Does “free will” really exist? And why is the penis shaped like that anyway? In Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?, the research psychologist and award-winning columnist Jesse Bering features more than thirty of his most popular essays from Scientific American and Slate, as well as two new pieces, that take readers on a bold and captivating journey through some of the most taboo issues related to evolution and human behavior. Exploring the history of cannibalism, the neurology of people who are sexually attracted to animals, the evolution of human body fluids, the science of homosexuality, and serious questions about life and death, Bering astutely covers a generous expanse of our kaleidoscope of quirks and origins.
With his characteristic irreverence and trademark cheekiness, Bering leaves no topic unturned or curiosity unexamined, and he does it all with an audaciously original voice. Whether you’re interested in the psychological history behind the many facets of sexual desire or the evolutionary patterns that have dictated our current mystique and phallic physique, Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? is bound to create lively discussion and debate for years to come.
©2012 Jesse Bering (P)2012 Macmillan Audio
Entertaining, revealing, changing
The author's own experiences realizing he was gay at a young age and relating what it was like growing up gay. I love his total openness in relating his own experiences and beliefs. He lays it right out there, like more people should.
I enjoyed the book. Perhaps not all of his research is scientifically spot on as some reviewers pointed out, but most of it is, plus the story was very entertaining and it left me with some new perspectives. I love books that really make you think and this book accomplishes that!
This is my first book by Jesse Bering and will not be the last. He writes fairly succinct chapters an a variety or topics, all well researched. I found his narration excellent - for me there is something special added when a passionate author narrates their work. I also loved his sense of humour, although if you are easily offended, listen anyway :)
Jesse Bering answers all those nagging little question about human gentiles, they reason why they're shaped like that, adding not only humor but his own brand of "punny" humor.
While some of the research and science - not much, just some - wasn't my cup of tea, Jesse Bering did an excellent job of creating an excellent flow from one subject to the next.
Although I can't say I have a favorite chapter, the fact that Jesse Bering read his own book was an extra pleasure. Mr. Bering has a great reading voice; not to fast or too slow.
Many of the authors puns were well placed and created many laugh out loud moments. I probably looked like an idiot to the other drivers, laughing while doing my commute. He's a quick wit and the humor was well placed.
Tell us about yourself! - i'm Mike
This book was a lot of fun. It's sort of a "questions you were afraid to ask" kind of book and Jesse does an excellent job narrating it. It's full of cheesy but funny puns and addresses all sorts of issues you've likely never read about but were interested in. Definitely worth a listen!
Jesse Bering lays out years of research in an informative and entertaining fashion that occasionally made me say "eww, who would volunteer to do that?" and often made me laugh. Jesse pun's and humor kept the book moving and I always looked forward to the next installment.
Not all the topics were comfortable but isnt that really what makes us want more and how we grow?
I found the insights into how somethings were researched to be very interesting. Insights into the authors awareness of his own sexuality was equally interesting.
I purchased the book because the title was catchy and I needed to use a credit. I quickly found it was a well spent credit. Once again, the author reading his own work was a total bonus.
Okay, you got me! I have to admit that the title of the book caught my attention, but once I got into it, I realized that this book is chock full of information on the body and body parts that I typically don’t give much thought to. I do now!
The book goes into good enough detail on how and why humans do what we do, and how we evolved to be that way. I found it to be very informative and it kept my attention throughout.
Guess what?... I did find out why the penis is shaped that way! And, that alone is worth the price of the book.
If you want a book that talks about and explains so many of the body functions that usually only bring about a blush to ones face, or have you speaking in code “down there”, “private parts” or “unmentionables”, then this book is for you.
The author, Jesse Bering, writes about everything under the sun from anal sex, bestiality, foot fetishes, gay/straight stuff, religion, death and dying… and so much more. Plus, you’ll even find out why the penis is shaped that way. (smile!)
Enjoy the book and get over some “hangups” that you might have about why people are the way that they are, and that when it comes down to it, there’s really nothing wrong with it and it’s nature playing its role the way that nature does.
It is rare that a scientific book contains anecdotes from the author, and this one does in Jesse's illuminating perspective. His narration is clever and endearing. Topics are well-researched and conveyed in an interesting manner. The book is smart, thought-provoking and at times, deliriously funny. Cannot wait for his next book.
If there is ever an opportunity to sit next to Jesse Bering at a dinner party, I'm sure that will be the best seat in the house!
I love books that can make me laugh or make me hungry. I love when books make time stand still. I love books that are a great addition to a roadtrip, a long bath or getting ready in the morning.
My boyfriend, a very soon to be doctor, and I listened to this one on a road trip. It's very well-written-- he makes a lot of big words seem somehow accessible and unpretentious-- and unique. I consider myself pretty well-read and there were tons of studies and ideas featured that I have never heard of before. It gives you a whole new perspective on sexual deviants and functions that we take for granted.
I really can't wait for his next book!
Since the title mentions "being human," I was expecting a broader focus, but I did appreciate Bering's matter-of-fact manner in writing and speaking. Once I found myself disagreeing with him, but not about his scientific research - just his "suspicions." And he mentions readers' feedback, so I know that if I choose to write to him, he'll actually read it.
I guess from the title I should not have been surprised that this book was completely dominated by the topic of sex. If you are interested in why some humans have foot fetishes, are attracted to animals or so many other sexual oddities, this book is definitely for you. If you are looking for a great read on sexual selection as it relates to human nature, I strongly suggest The Red Queen by Matt Ridley.
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