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The Score: How The Quest For Sex Has Shaped The Modern Man Hardcover – June 12, 2008

16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Faye Flam knows exactly how to make sex scientific and how to make science sexy. She penetrates the mysteries of human and animal passion with great style".
-Matt Ridley, author of Genome and The Red Queen

"Faye Flam provides a fascinating tour of how the quest for sex has shaped the evolution of human and nature in all of its staggeringly delightful forms. Written with a deft touch and humorous hand, The Score is anchored in solid science of sexuality. It takes readers on a journey of insights that ranges from the tactics of pick-up artists to some surprising benefits of testosterone. Faye Flam has a genius for spanning different scientific disciplines, and bringing out the hidden gems contained in each. I couldn't put the book down."
-David M. Buss, author of The Evolution of Desire

"Offering a fascinating look at everything from transsexual snakes and the long corkscrew penises of ducks to club pickup techniques and the connection between male scum and scum that is male, Faye Flam ranges broadly over many disciplines to show how sexual strivings and strategies have shaped not only us, but virtually the whole animal kingdom. Whether you're interested in cads or cod, The Score will provide you with scores of compelling, often counterintuitive insights."
-John Allen Paulos, professor of mathematics at Temple University, and author of Innumeracy and Irreligion

"Faye Flam's fabulous new book reads like Sex in the City but pulls together the best scientific studies on human sexuality, explaining on so many levels just how driven we all are by these baser instincts, and how that makes an evolutionary explanation for sex so compelling. The Score is one sexy book written by one sexy woman. Read it and score yourself."
-Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, and author of Why Darwin Matters and The Mind of the Market

"Faye Flam is a very clever writer, smart and witty. She wears her scholarship lightly, stylishly, and with a wink. Men picking up this book hoping for tips on bedding women might at first be disappointed, but if they stick around they might learn the most important pick-up skill of all: To listen. After all, chances are she’s smarter than you, and more entertaining. There’s no better proof of that than this book."
-Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Faye Flam has been covering science for The Philadelphia Inquirer since 1995. In June 2005, she started writing “Carnal Knowledge”, a weekly column about the science of sex. She has also written for New Scientist, Science, and The Economist, and her search for a good science story has taken her everywhere from the South Pole to Greenland to NASA’s zero-g plane. A graduate of California Institute of Technology, Flam was recently a Knight-Wallace journalism fellow at the University of Michigan. She lives in Philadelphia. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Avery (June 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583333126
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583333129
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,673,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Gregory A. Petsko on June 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In one of the episodes of the TV show "Frasier", the lead character, radio psychiatrist Frasier Crane, is having a dispute with his station manager, an attractive female. As he's describing the situation to his housekeeper, Daphne, he remarks that he thinks the manager is using her charms to get what she wants. Daphne says, "Oh, come on now, Dr Crane. It's not like men have never used sex to get what they want," - to which Frasier replies, "How can we possibly USE sex to get what we want? Sex IS what we want."

That certainly rings true, but the interesting question is: why is it true? This book provides an entertaining, extremely readable, and scientifically sound look at the reasons men behave the way they do when it comes to sex. It made me smile, laugh out loud sometimes, nod in agreement often, and shake my head in wonder other times. Faye Flam, science reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and one of the best and most versatile science writers around, wrote a delightful weekly column for that paper, called "Carnal Knowledge", about the science behind sex. Here she expands on that to focus on how the quest for sex has shaped the male of the species, and when I say "shaped", I mean everything from his behavior to his physical characteristics (check her discussion of "fibroelastic" vs "vascular" male equipment for one example).

Flam, who majored in physics at Cal Tech, has written on subjects ranging from genomics to astronomy, so you'd expect her to get the science right, and she does. Based on her previous journalism, you'd also expect her to make that science understandable and fun to read, and that she does as well. The book is written in a clear, enjoyable style that brings the evolutionary biology, human physiology and psychology to life.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Paul Haase on June 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're at all like me, "The Score" will give you new ideas about men and women and why we men are the way we are. But it may not be the book you think.

Faye Flam, a science journalist who also wrote a newspaper column on the science of sex, here surveys biology, popular culture, zoology, evolutionary psychology, theology, anthropology, neurochemistry, and more to deliver science-based insight into the human male (and females as well).

Flam writes clearly and wittily. She begins at the beginning, with the origin of sex and the sexes, and explains how evolution takes the fundamental difference between male and female (a male makes millions and millions of sperm whereas a female produces but dozens of eggs) and runs with it over eons to produce monogamous penguins, cuckolding chimpanzees, tiny parasite-like male anglerfish, 30,000 sexes of mushrooms--and us, human men and women.

"The Score" is a fun read throughout, never dry or dull, and with the possible exception of the evolutionary psychology bits, sound science too. In the end, this book could change how we think about our humanity. It's already changing the way I look at the world and my place in it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark Davis on June 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Faye Flam has that rare talent to take something as convoluted as genetic science and make it readable. Perhaps some of the nation's textbook publishers should take note of the way she handles the topic.
Her book is proof that Flam is more than scientist, more than writer: In "The Score," she links us to other creatures, and the one drive we all share -- to procreate. Who can read her account about the sex life of the giant squid and not wonder about the power of that instinct?
Flam has a fine wit, and is not afraid to inject a bit of her own life into the book's pages. Sure, she lampoons men, but she gets a few good jabs in at her own gender, too. And what's wrong with extolling the fact that she has a mate of her own? That's as it should be. She also manages to wrap up the book the way she began it, with her visit to the seduction workshop. Facile? No. Fascinating? Yes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By W. Horigan on June 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Score is high quality science book successfully masquerading as a clever, witty and completely entertaining treatment of the nuts and bolts of male sexuality. It gives an objective and balanced tour of how man-things work. Most refreshing is the way Ms. Flam just yanks the covers off of stereotypes and folk wisdom using real science while maintaining a great sense of humor and style. From the rough crowd of praying mantises and giant squids to Mister Mom, she has it covered. It will satisfy and entertain those who are interested in the facts and it will annoy the heck out of anyone who has their mind stuck in a prior century. The highest praise I can give it is that it will probably be banned in some countries. The Score is well researched and credit is freely given where it is due. I'm waiting for the sequel!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ratschamkappes on July 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is amusing to read, although it is a mixture of exact and inexact science and also includes a flair of soap: The author did a tremendous job reviewing the varieties of sexual reproduction in all kind of different species, but then sometimes confounds these reports with personal opinions, allusions to mythology, or simplistic explanations that refers to "gentics" or "evolution". The reader is taken more to a boat and fishing expedition tour rather than to get scientific based facts or hypotheses. Moreover, some core aspects in sexuality are almost totally neglected (ie womens "slower" but nontheless powerful sex drive or cultural aspects among times and ethnicities, the power and prestige and so on) as well as aspects about sexuality going wrong (eg traumatization and violence). It finally remains unclear how the sexual behviour in fishes, worms or apes (who, according to the author, 'thinks' of nothing else than to pass their genes to the next generation) relates to the modern men in the 21th century (who is seldomly driven by that same thought, when it comes to sex). Where is the link, where is the relation? Is it genetics, evolution, power - or all of them? No clear answer. In summary, at the end of the book, one does not feels to get a good answer to the initial question why the modern man has been shaped by sex, but comes up with some confusion a not so ground breaking conclusion: Most males like having sex with females and are willing to put efforts into it. Females on the other hand, like to have healthy offspring/caregiver and are willing to put some efforts into the seletcion for a good partner. This would have shaped todays's males and females behaviour in everyday's situation. But how far that behaviour goes in daily life, has not been discussed in that book at all.Read more ›
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