26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 1998
"It has been theorized that cats which present dead mice to their owners, and which play with live mice in front of their owners, are not seeking approval. Rather, they are attempting to teach their oversized, deformed, clumsy, learning-impaired two-legged kittens how to make a living. They are responsible for your welfare, after all." This is just one of the many theories found in Konrad Lorenz's "King Solomon's Ring." In his book, Lorenz shows how some kinds of behavior are governed by the same process of natural selection as governs physical development. Animal behavior is absolutely fascinating. If you've never read Konrad Lorenz's "King Solomon's Ring", buy a paper copy. It may very well change your view of animals for the rest of your life. More and more you will appreciate the complex things that go on as you watch animals. This book is easy-reading and is filled with humor. I recommend it to all ages of animal lovers.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2004
Confession - I'd never heard of Konrad Lorenz (even though he won the Nobel Prize in 1973), and I don't usually read books by Naturalists.
I was driving between business meetings during the day, when I happened to tune in to BBC Radio 4 (same as National Public Radio in the USA), and by accident caught a book reading of Chapter 10 regarding Dogs. Then on another day I caught Chapter 11 on Birds. Captivated, I actually pulled over so that I could hear the whole chapter & find out what the book was and who the Author was.
Then I ordered the book as a treat to myself for Christmas.
Fantastic! With some abridging 'on the fly', this book could even be read to/by a younger audience say down to 8 years old, who would enjoy, laugh & cry at some of the stories contained herein.
I wish my science teacher had read this to me when I was 8, rather than do some silly experiments with boring pond life (Chapter 2 would have taught me more about Pond Life)!
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2000
In readable, friendly style, Konrad Lorenz uses illustrations from his everyday life among animals of all kinds to illustrate a variety of fascinating points. The balance between anecdotes and theory is well handled and the book stands out both as education and as entertainment. I find the sections dealing with keeping animals in captivity especially worthwhile - Lorenz explains clearly and concisely why most people feel sorry for captive animals for all the wrong reasons, this section should be required reading for most people who think that they are promoting 'animal rights'. Highly recommended.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2004
This book is true to Lorenz' style - humorous, intelligent, large hearted and adventurous. Besides being entertained, I came away with humility borne of the knowledge that human beings aren't truly supreme. Even the littlest fish exhibits interesting thought processes and overriding maternal extincts. One just has to look hard enough!
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2000
I first read this book in college and thought it was okay, easy to read, friendly style, not too scientfic. But as the years have passed it is one of those readings that has stayed with me and been useful in my everyday life. I've even had a copy sent to my son who loves his fish tanks. I've grown up around animals, but since reading this book I see the actions of animals as so closely related to ourselves. To know that birds mate for life, makes listening to birds call each other so much more romantic. To know that even fish have mating rituals makes my own rituals that much better and acceptable. This book has given me that perspective for some 15 years, I can say it has definitely changed the way I have viewed the world, thus the way I have lived in the world- and for the better.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 1999
This is a gem of a book. Written by the father of ethology, the study of animal behavior in nature, it provides a surprising amount of fascinating information in such a small book. He covers a variety of animals, both domestic and wild, and a number of issues, such as breeding behavior and aggression. I read this book twice, the first time I whipped through it. Only after I read it more deeply the second time did I realize just how much is covered. It's a short book, with nice drawings and cute stories. So everyone should read this book. Even if you don't think animal behavior interests you, you might be surprised and this is the book that will get you hooked on the subject.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I read Lorenz's book when I was a boy and have never forgotten it, except now that reading it again I see that any number of the animal facts I would spout to people, giving Lorenz as my reference, are severe distortions of his positions. I would tell people, for example, that lambs and sheep are totally different species, and in citing Lorenz I now realize he said nothing of the sort. One of the great things about KING SOLOMON'S RING is how many species it treats. We also had to read an earlier book by Lorenz, in which he discussed only dogs and how to train them. Did you know that Konrad Lorenz was the first scientist to discover that in every pacxk of dogs (even in any pair of two dogs) one dog will be the so-called "alpha male," even when they are technically female? Lorenz was a scientist, a trained observer, but he also had a big heart and this spills out into his books.
They are each of them veritable fountains of good writing and common sense, though sometimes he goes overboard in his enthusiasm.
Some of the animals hje observed in his heyday are acting differently nowadays! I wonder if that is part of natural selection, or if they are being changed due to the ozone layer brteaking up and global warming. Even the patterns of birds' migrations are no longer the same, and they seem to be no longer travelling the immense distances we once thought they did (from Tierra del Fuego to the Maritimes, for example).
In other ways, although dated, KSR remains one of Konrad Lorenz's great accomplishments. I remember meeting him around the time the United Nations honored him for his work with animals. He was a humble man with a witty grin, and the flourish of one who should have been an actor in the movies.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2000
I read this book while in high school and it prompted me to explore zoology. I recieved a BS in Zoology in 1969 and haven't looked back since. I suggest any parent to give this book to their child/children....it is mesmerizing. I now have geese to share with my grandchild and she dearly loves them.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2001
I first read this marvelous little book while taking a Comparative Ethology class in graduate school. It is truly a classic book of animal behavior. His approach, in this book anyway, was more of a comical narrative of his experiences in the field of ethology; however, the stories will remain timeless.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2012
Konrad Lorenz, a naturalist and author of King Solomon's Ring, explains different aspects of animal behavior and how their behavior is sometimes similar to that of humans in his book. He observes many different species of animals during his studies and he tries to explain what they are doing. Observing the body language and the noises the animals make are the main points discussed in his book. Also, he tries to explain that the balance of the ecosystem is crucial to the survival of the animals and plant life that is found there.
Have you ever owned a fish? They normally are considered the easiest pet to own. However, Lorenz describes some of his experiences with fish tanks, and how to make one very interesting. He explains that having real, living plants growing in the tank helps with keeping oxygen in the tank for the animals that are going to be living in it. He gives advice to anyone planning on owning a fish tank. He also explains that having too many animals in the aquarium can be disastrous. Even the littlest change in the number of animals can be bad. Lorenz illustrates for his readers the balance of life that can be changed when a "robber" is present. The larva of the water-beetle Dytiscus is the predator that is described in the book. This creature devours whatever is in it's path when it is hungry. The development of an ecosystem is dependent on the balance of between the good and the bad in the environment; therefore, the balance is crucial to the survival of many organisms.
Lorenz has had his share of dogs, and he explains the behavior similarities and differences between the Aureus breed and the Lupus breed. They have incredible loyalty and intelligence, and Lorenz tells his readers much about the way they exhibit that intelligence. Behavior of other animals, especially birds and water-shrews, are also explained in this book. Lorenz caught and observed the behavior of small, baby water-shrews when they are learning to explore. They are creatures of habit, as explained by Lorenz. They developed a certain way of doing things, and if they did it once, that is the way they will always do it if nothing has changed. Birds, on the other hand, are fascinating creatures that Lorenz spends a great deal of time with. He trained some of them to come at his call. He explains the mating habits of jackdaws, and their peculiar ways of choosing mates. These animals and their behaviors are what Lorenz explains in depth about in this book.
When an animal and a human are put into similar situations, they will react similarly, and this is a concept that Lorenz explains in his book. When two animals are fighting, and one is losing to it's superior, they will surrender. They do this by showing their superior their most vulnerable area, normally the head or neck region. Humans, in a similar aspect, do the same thing. When they are losing a battle or fight, they will surrender by putting down their weapons and allowing their superior to kill them. Also, humans and animals guard their young fiercely. If a stranger is approaching their offspring, both a human and an animal will react in anger and try to get the stranger away from their baby. Lorenz describes the similarities of animals to humans in detail in this book.
In my opinion, this book was very interesting and it taught me a lot. The reasons why an animal acts was a very interesting topic to read about. So many people don't think that an animal has reasons for his or her behaviors; they think they are just instincts. Some behaviors, of course, are just instincts; however, humans have behaviors that are instincts as well. Humans also have behaviors that have purpose, and so do animals. Whether it is for a mate or for a higher ranking position, animals choose to behave in a certain way. Lorenz's book clearly states important information about animals to anyone who wants to take the time to learn about them. This book helped me understand the differences and similarities of humans to animals. The development and behaviors are similar in situations and it really opened my eyes to animals and their behaviors.