Customer Review

211 of 228 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brutally honest, if somewhat flawed, November 20, 2007
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This review is from: Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters: From Dating, Shopping, and Praying to Going to War and Becoming a Billionaire-- Two Evolutionary Psychologists Explain Why We Do What WeDo (Hardcover)
The authors of this book have done an excellent job giving the reader a simple overview of the relatively new field of evolutionary psychology. Unfortunately, they tend to rely on a number of gimmicks to "spruce up" some questionable theorizing. On the whole however, readers will find many traditionally liberal and conservative social assumptions not only critiqued, but in many cases demolished entirely.

Two minor grievances I had: The authors repeatedly refer to natural selection with flavorful yet somewhat incorrect language. For example, explaining the universal male preference for youthful women, they describe men as looking for the most fertile partner. Yet men have no such interest. It is the process of SELECTION which has given certain men the adaptation (desire for youth) allowing them the procreational advantage.

My other grievance concerns the reductionism with which they assault the "traditional social scientific view". Absurdly, they declare that most social scientists find little biological basis for human behavior. While their adoption of biological explanations is certainly greater and more radical, the social science "norm" lies more precisely at a middle ground between the age-old nature/nurture polarities. I'm sure they fancy themselves more courageous this way, but it's quite fallacious.

That said, however, the book is a fascinating primer on evolutionary psychology, and highly recommended.
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