Survival of the Prettiest

The Science of Beauty
Narrated by: Donna Postel
Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
4.5 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A provocative and thoroughly researched inquiry into what we find beautiful and why, skewering the myth that the pursuit of beauty is a learned behavior. 

In Survival of the Prettiest, Nancy Etcoff, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and a practicing psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, argues that beauty is neither a cultural construction, an invention of the fashion industry, nor a backlash against feminism - it's in our biology. 

Beauty, she explains, is an essential and ineradicable part of human nature that is revered and ferociously pursued in nearly every civilization - and for good reason. Those features to which we are most attracted are often signals of fertility and fecundity. When seen in the context of a Darwinian struggle for survival, our sometimes extreme attempts to attain beauty - both to become beautiful ourselves and to acquire an attractive partner - suddenly become much more understandable. Moreover, if we understand how the desire for beauty is innate, then we can begin to work in our own interests, and not just the interests of our genetic tendencies.

©1999 Nancy Etcoff (P)2019 Tantor

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An intriguing read

Despite being published originally 20 years ago, the science of “why” there’s “survival of the prettiest”, still remains firm over millennia ... an excellent performance and compilation of everything from why we curl our eyelashes, to the color and style of fabric that’s chosen - based on displayed signals explained in selection through survival of the most appealing conditions across the planet. Explaining the features fluctuating and correlating with environmental conditions like sunlight reflecting off snow (causing fatty pads around the eyes) or cooler climates supporting the longer, warming nasal passages in comparison to warm areas with wider, open nostrils seen in varieties of the human race.

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who is this lady?

this book deals with it all..... political influences racial influences geographical influences, societal influences, Anatomy, physiology, biology. The amount of statistics and evidence used to support her argument are amazing. She also seems to have some genuine insight into various ethnic groups. It is a straightforward and clear read but yet loaded with thought-provoking ideas! You have to read and reread it to be sure to capture everything she is trying to communicate. best read of the year so far!