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The Origins of Virtue

Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation
Narrated by: Jeff Loeb
Length: 10 hrs and 40 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (88 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

If, as Darwin suggests, evolution relentlessly encourages the survival of the fittest, why are humans compelled to live in cooperative, complex societies? In this fascinating examination of the roots of human trust and virtue, a zoologist and former American editor of The Economist reveals the results of recent studies that suggest that self-interest and mutual aid are not at all incompatible. In fact, he points out, our cooperative instincts may have evolved as part of mankind's natural selfish behavior - by exchanging favors we can benefit ourselves as well as others. Brilliantly orchestrating the newest findings of geneticists, psychologists, and anthropologists, The Origins of Virtue reexamines the everyday assumptions upon which we base our actions toward others, whether in our roles as parents, siblings, or trade partners. With the wit and brilliance of The Red Queen, his acclaimed study of human and animal sexuality, Matt Ridley shows us how breakthroughs in computer programming, microbiology, and economics have given us a new perspective on how and why we relate to one another.

©1996 Matt Ridley (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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great book

This is a perfect follow up book to Richard Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene." A great read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Started Off Great And Petered Off Into Tripe

This is a very well-written and produced book but it's definitely the wrong fit for me. Perhaps I found it so offensive because it did not meet my expectations.

I thought it would explore the aspects of virtues and thier developments in life and society. But, instead it was more of a cherry picked selection of scientific and anthropological facts to push forward a rather bleak political arguement. For a book with virtue in the title, this book focuses largely on the more selfish and darker aspects of human nature.

It seems to be written by an overly-rational privileged western type. He is very disrespectful towards native americans, mockingly calling them noble savages and his assestment of mysticism drips with condescension. Natives weren't perfect by any means, but wow does he just crap on them. He claimed the role of the shaman in the village was to determine hunting practices through bone divination and used one example to dismiss the entire role of a shaman and thier beliefs as ridiculous. Shamans role was largely that of a healer of psychological, health, and relationship issues via wisdom, and plant and sound medicine. I've never heard of them being involved in hunting practices. My enjoyment continuely evaporated from that point on as he continuely injected his opinion with rather arrogant assumptions about subjects he doesn't seem to any experience on except maybe reading in a library.

I found myself agreeing with one sentence and rejecting the next. Mainly accepting the objective facts and rejecting the Author's conclusions. I can't say I enjoyed it.

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Essential

This book is essential to help us to understand the human been and their relationship with others.

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  • SJK
  • Orlando, Florida
  • 05-03-15

Brilliant as usual

Ridley is a genius! One of the best authors I've yet found. He is able to weave together quite complex material in a straightforward and enjoyable manner. Highly recommend!