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The Moral Animal Audiobook

The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology

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Publisher's Summary

Are men literally born to cheat? Does monogamy actually serve women's interests? These are among the questions that have made The Moral Animal one of the most provocative science books in recent years. Wright unveils the genetic strategies behind everything from our sexual preferences to our office politics - as well as their implications for our moral codes and public policies.

©1995 Robert Wright (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"An accessible introduction to the science of evolutionary psychology and how it explains many aspects of human nature. Unlike many books on the topic,which focus on abstractions like kin selection, this book focuses on Darwinian explanations of why we are the way we are--emotionally and morally. Wright deals particularly well with explaining the reasons for the stereotypical dynamics of the three big "S's:" sex, siblings, and society." (Amazon.com review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (930 )
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4.1 (745 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Lisa 03-29-17
    Lisa 03-29-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Find a stick, find a dead horse then beat it."

    The descriptions reads :
    Are men literally born to cheat? Does monogamy actually serve women's interests?

    Which are interesting topics and what I thought was a good place to start, but the first half of the book focuses on the above. Good lord, enough already. Its time to move on.

    Listening to the narrator I kept thinking it was Marvin the Martian talking at times.

    Overall, this was very disappointing.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexander 07-02-17
    Alexander 07-02-17 Member Since 2017
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    "+50% is made of vague historical ideas"
    What would have made The Moral Animal better?

    I felt the author tried to focus on too many topics: evolutionary psychology, Darwin's intellectual and social biography, natural selection, Victorian society.This whole book could have been halved. There's a lot of vague historical clutter that only adds up to the general digression of the book. Otherwise, there are some very interesting ideas in there.The author gave me the impression that he's a bit insecure on his knowledge of this topic. There was so much redundant stuff added to pretty much every explanation. There's no need to constantly mention paper titles and publication years in a popularizing book. And when an idea of evolutionary psychology was actually being explained, it was done in an average way.I just hope I'll find the motivation to finish this book, I've currently paused it after about 7 hours of listening.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BDS 09-13-17
    BDS 09-13-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Fascinating "

    Interesting, covered approachably. I highly recommend to anyone interested in human behavior and development. Narration top notch too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erich 08-16-17
    Erich 08-16-17 Member Since 2012
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    "starts strong"

    the first 3/4 of the book is great. the last 1/4 felt weak. the author makes large assumptions about certain key concepts like "brotherly love" and various religious beliefs that are poorly researched.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan Etre 08-07-17
    Jan Etre 08-07-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Just couldn't handle it"

    I felt like I was back in the middle ages. Granted, I only lasted through chapter three, so this review is somewhat unfair. But the way in which the author describes women and men is so pitifully outdated that I wonder what world this author is living in. He needs to get his consciousness raised!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MPO. Birmingham, AL USA 07-24-17
    MPO. Birmingham, AL USA 07-24-17 Member Since 2014
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    "love fest for Darwin"

    whole damn book about how awesome Darwin is. seriously the whole book all about Darwin. title really doesn't let you know that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    john Battery Point, Australia 07-23-17
    john Battery Point, Australia 07-23-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Showing its age"

    While a lot of the content is timeless a lot of the conclusions drawn are products of American thinking i of the 1980s (when the ideas published in the 1990s were clearly formulated).

    It's not a timeless book and the morality it tacitly endorses was highly questionable at the time and seriously dated with the passage of time showing it is not the 'bright sunny uplands' that the author seems to believe they would be. We tried this reversion to old thinking and it was not good.

    Read it and learn from it but don't take the suggestions as well founded now we have 20-20 hindsight of where that idea set takes us.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Serguei L. Primak London, Ontario Canada 07-10-17
    Serguei L. Primak London, Ontario Canada 07-10-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Amazing read"

    This is a very well rounded and comprehensive look atvthe Darvinism with much of propaganda. Just love it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anonymous 06-26-17
    06-26-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Eye Opening"

    Anyone seeking the truth to human nature should read this book!

    It has radically redefined my compassion and understanding of the nature of man.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Ariosto Montisano Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 03-27-17
    Ariosto Montisano Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 03-27-17
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    "Very Interesting."

    The first part, about sexual "instinct", was long and I think repetitive, I got tired of it, especially since it takes almost a Third of the whole book.
    But in general, it was a very interesting ride. Lots of information about the way we are explained thru the lenses of evolution.
    The parallel with Darwin’s life was fun and full of nice examples that related to the point being treated in each part of the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Greg Gauthier
    London, UK
    1/12/17
    Overall
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    "Fascinating, and Frustrating"

    Wright's book is essential reading on, and a monument to the aspirational leanings of early evolutionary psychology. He does an excellent job of benchmarking the scientific understanding of evolution and psychology in the waning years of the 20th century. But the book was much more a work of yearning, than one of sober scientific understanding. Wright intertwines the personal biography of Charles Darwin amidst a continuous stream of speculative theories about the purposive role of reciprocal altruism, relatedness, kin selection, and social 'fitness', in our genetic heritage, using Darwin as a kind of "patient zero" role model for these theories. The goal of all of it, as the title of the book exclaims, is to understand "why we are the way we are".

    But Wright doesn't stop there. Despite numerous cautions against the urge to derive rules for living from natural purposes, even appealing directly to G. E. Moore late in the book, he still couldn't help himself but turn the book into an attempt to derive some sort of "moral of the story" from the various theories he'd sketched in the previous chapters. This, I think, was a mistake. It was as if Wright was confused about the purpose of his own book. Is it science, or philosophy?

    After a long trek through the psychological and biological literature, suddenly we're thrust into a long discussion on Mill's Utilitarianism, and Darwin's particular flavor of it. And in the end, a meander into the religious tradition to ponder on questions of self-sacrifice, brotherly love, and self-denial. Ultimately, Wright ignores his own warnings, and seems to counsel for a kind of detente between the rational and the biological self, in which we seek self-awareness, but not *too much* self-awareness, and follow Darwin's role model of a psychology cynical of the self, but generous toward others.

    As a founding document in the literature of evolutionary psychology, this work is definitely worth the read, but don't go into it expecting much in the way of answers. It's so early in the game, all it has to offer is a long string of questions. Maybe that's it's greatest strength, actually.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Simon
    UK
    3/27/15
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    "The best book I've read in a long time"

    The best book I've read/listened to in a long time. So many important and valid points, it's almost overwhelming.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • duncan
    12/6/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliantly engaging book"
    Would you listen to Moral Animal again? Why?

    Yes. So much information within this book it will defiantly be worth a second and third listen.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Well its not so much a story but a insightful look at how and why we do things.
    Very eye opening and enlightening, helps you understand your own and others actions.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    N/A


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Staring arnold schwarzenegger as the selfish gene. No... N/A


    Any additional comments?

    Really enjoyed listening to this and would definitely recommend it. Especially if you have any interest in psychology, evolution or anthropology.Helps to explain our own and others actions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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