• The Red Queen

  • Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature
  • By: Matt Ridley
  • Narrated by: Simon Prebble
  • Length: 12 hrs and 52 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (904 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Referring to Lewis Carroll's Red Queen from Through the Looking-Glass, a character who has to keep running to stay in the same place, Matt Ridley demonstrates why sex is humanity's best strategy for outwitting its constantly mutating internal predators. The Red Queen answers dozens of other riddles of human nature and culture - including why men propose marriage, the method behind our maddening notions of beauty, and the disquieting fact that a woman is more likely to conceive a child by an adulterous lover than by her husband.

Brilliantly written, The Red Queen offers an extraordinary new way of interpreting the human condition and how it has evolved.

©1993 Matt Ridley (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Erotica

What listeners say about The Red Queen

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book!

For anyone interested in evolutionary psychology or why humans are the way the are when it comes to sex, this is a absolute great read. The narration is great and the author has you laughing as much as learning throughout the story. One of the best evolutionary psychology reads I have yet come across.

16 people found this helpful

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  • GH
  • 02-11-16

Informative scholarly review of human evolution

This is a scholarly treatment of evolution. Of course, procreation is the vehicle of evolution. The first third of the book is all about one celled creatures, frogs, pea hens and birds with some random chimps and whales thrown in. It is a little tough to get through all of that. The author does a reasonable job of identifying all of the prevailing theories. He then attempts to use to other animals to substantiate or diminish those theories.

Only people interested in documentaries are likely to find this book appealing. I found many of the concepts interesting; Do we know they are true? As the author concludes in his summary, who know what errors abound in his work and the work of others. The study of this field is in its infancy.

6 people found this helpful

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Insightful, Entertaining and Educational

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have recommended this book more then any other in my library because i believe that it can help with relationships, personal and professional. It gives an insightful glimpse into the interaction that goes on in social dynamics too often not understood or realized yet the effects of those elements are echoed in our day to day lives.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

This book is eye opening! Did you know that attraction is INVOLUNTARY? Yes, yes with some that is obvious but it is also something that you could enhance through other means then the physical. This book gives you the science behind that way better then any of those hair-brained dating books.

Any additional comments?

Read it. It's good for you.

4 people found this helpful

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Great explanation of sex and gender

What did you love best about The Red Queen?

Detailed explanation of the underlying drivers behind the evolutionary basis for sex and gender.

Any additional comments?

I am very interested in evolutionary theory and for me this book really hit the spot. Very detailed and interesting background on the basis for sex and gender in people and animals. Some might find this book somewhat offensive as it assumes both physical and mental differences between the sexes which goes against PC thinking but it is well justified and clearly explained.

3 people found this helpful

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Data Driven Analysis of Sexual Selection

Matt Ridley writes great books. What makes them great is the abundance of information he presents to justify his conclusions as well as his willingness to admit when a conclusion is mere speculation. For anyone interested in evolutionary biology, this is a great book. Two thumbs up (though he does not focus on why only apes have opposable thumbs).

6 people found this helpful

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An engaging explanation of some complicated ideas

Any additional comments?

The first half of the book was absolutely amazing -- beautifully read by Simon Prebble (one of my favorite readers) and completely engaging, effortlessly explaining complex genetic puzzles. But, for me, the book got hard to take when it got to human evolutionary psychology. Maybe I'm one of the PC people Ridley accuses of holding science back, or maybe I'm just a woman from a younger generation, because the things he says about women's and men's different natures just don't ring true to my experience. And in the 20 years since the book was published, many of them have been, if not disproven, then shown to not be as reproducible and universal as Ridley implies.

9 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Relevant information with skeptical insights

I agree with some of the assertions in this book. It is a good exploration into the biological implications of evolution on Sex and sexuality. However, some of the conclusions seem to confirm already conceived assertions. One can find 'evidence'to back almost anything, and yes scientific evidence is not immune. In one breath the author concludes that nature and nurture affect the individual, and yet the author does not seem to exptend the same line of reasoning to how nature and nurture can affect a group that occupies the same area. For example, he says it is patronizing to say women do not enter politics because they have been conditioned to think of it as a space for men ( paraphrasing) .He goes on to say politics is about "status seeking ambition that women have a healthy cynicism about." Let us go along with this reasoning for a moment. Women marrying men in power, is that not status and power seeking using their nature in accordance to nurture( environment) in which they occupy? So is it not possible that the conditioning argument could be based on the historical trends that women had to ally themselves with powerful men in order to influence society indirectly since they had been deprived access and power? The author in the same page says that "women have their own minds" ( slaves also had their own minds and yet were not free to choose what they wanted to do), when there is no liberty what does one do? In another line the author says "women could enter politics if they want to , whatever society says" Is this a denial of the suffrage movement? I was not sure while reading, and I am still not certain after contemplation. Why was there a movement in the western hemisphere if women could just decide? What about the women in parts of asia, are those women just biologically disposed to communism? There is a lot one can add to the list inequitable practices one can willfully deny when one chooses to prove an assumption which in itself satisfies our sense of " That how things are," whenever we seek to fill the gaps of our ignorance. One must be acutely aware and careful of the possibility of making associations and calling them causes after observing effects that have too many angles yet unknown to us.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

If I were ten Years Old...

... I would want to be a microbiologist! Finished Ancestor's Tale by R. Dawkins and loved it, like the story of asking a fish, how's the water... and the fish answers... water? what water? The chemical world that is us seems far more distant than the edge of the visable universe. I'm reading Red Queen on paper and am now downloading it to my iPOD. The goal is... what/why is sex? It's a better question than it sounds... but I'm still struggling with the Hox gene and how it knows where it is. This is a great mystery and if you liked Ancestor's Tale, you'll find this is a fine trip into that next dimension... water? what water?

17 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

This is

an in depth review of the answers to the question "Why do we reproduce sexually instead of asexually"; at least those answers originating from an evolutionary perspective. It is full of interesting tidbits on the science of reproduction, the most fascinating being the three sex chromosomes of lemmings.

7 people found this helpful

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Forest from the trees

The author goes into excruciating detail regarding the development of theories regarding sex and its role in evolution. As a reader I am not interested in the players, but the conclusions. A book 1/5 the length, focusing on ideas rather than the protagonists who originated them, would have been much more enjoyable. I recommend giving this one a pass.

1 person found this helpful