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Natural Selection and Social Theory: Selected Papers of Robert Trivers (Evolution and Cognition Series)

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195130621
ISBN-10: 0195130626
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Natural Selection and Social Theory: Selected Papers of Robert Trivers (Evolution and Cognition Series) + The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life
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Editorial Reviews

Review

This is a good book by a great evolutionary biologist, full of interesting personal narrative and readable and historically important papers on reciprocal altruism, sex ratios, parental investment and sexual selection, and much more. Animal Behaviour One striking feature of Trivers' papers is that most contain very little mathematics, but there is plenty of verbal logic ... the book is suitable for reading in bed with falling asleep over pages of baffling formulae ... interesting stuff. Animal Behaviour

About the Author

Robert L. Trivers is at Rutgers University.

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Product Details

  • Series: Evolution and Cognition Series
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (September 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195130626
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195130621
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.9 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #487,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By John Anderson on November 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Those of us who are interested in the stories behind just HOW major breakthroughs in evolutionary and ecological thought were made have been spoiled in recent years: First there was W.D. Hamilton's marvelous 2 volume NARROW ROADS OF GENE LAND, now we get Bob Triver's wonderful NATURAL SELECTION AND SOCIAL THEORY. Here, in one place, one can find most of Trivers' revolutionary work on the evolution of social behavior, and as an added bonus one also gets Trivers' unvarnished -and often highly entertaining- commentary on just how he came to put together the ideas that -love 'em or hate 'em- provided much of the driving force behind Sociobiology & ultimately lead to Behavioural Ecology and Evolutionary Psychology. Along the way we are introduced to a fascinating cast of characters, ranging from Ernst Mayr, the foremost living Darwinian, through the neo-Marxist wing of Harvard, to Huey Newton, ex-Minister of Defense for the Black Panthers. Trivers' thinking is as eclectic and far ranging as the list of his friends and enemies, and while many of his subjects (altruism, parent-offspring conflict, fluctuating asymmetry, etc.) are still at the cutting edge of evolutionary thought, his writing is sufficiently free of jargon that I think it will draw in even the non-specialist. You may not agree with everything that Trivers says here -and I suspect that some folks will be offended by his candor- but this is a really important book & I see it as essential reading for any of us interested in the question of why we may do so many of the things that we do. Bravo!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lynne Snyder on April 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
When I was doing my doctoral work, I took a psychology class from a wonderful young professor. He introduced us to Robert Trivers,then at Harvard. It's been nearly 30 years since I received my degree and I have never forgotten that name nor the fascinating research with which we were presented. I have often made references to his work in the classes I taught but I never pursued my own suggestion to "go read Trivers." When this book popped up on my Amazon page, I decided it was karma and I ordered it. I was not disappointed. This is not an easy read and I don't for one minute pretend to understand the equations, but Trivers' introductions to each article are well written and often humorous. The research itself still holds as much fascination for me as it did when I was a young doc student. Give it a try.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Bates on February 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book contains all of Robert Triver's best papers.

In addition, each is book-ended between a two short essays outlining the background to Professor Trivers' initial exploration and thinking behind the paper, often including quite intriguing sociological contexts. Then, which is extremely valuable, Triver's brings the reader up-to-date with the subsequent history of the idea in that paper: who did it influence? Does he still believe it? What is the current hot take on the area?

It is a magnificent tribute to a life-time of work, and valuable for anyone active in the area of evolution.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Lena on February 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a beautiful book. It combines seminal papers with anecdotes and a post-scripts which place the paper in their context and make it easier for those of us who have been consumers of socio-biology to better appreciate the significance of the ideas presented. Trivers is a compelling writer and this book is a true gift to anybody curious about human psyche and behaviour. Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
These are reprints of scholarly works. They are not entertaining except to those interested in the seminal arguments that led to "accepted" theories of the evolution of Altruism and Parental Investment. As such they are very interesting.

David Sackett
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Natural Selection and Social Theory: Selected Papers of Robert Trivers (Evolution and Cognition Series)
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