17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A History of Altruism Glowing with the Author's Enthusiasm,
This review is from: The Altruism Equation: Seven Scientists Search for the Origins of Goodness (Hardcover)
The altruism equation relates to a very simple equation explaining altruism among kin in terms of costs, benefits, and the degree of relatedness. The equation does not have the generality of Newton's Third Law or Einstein's mass-energy equation, but it may well be the most important quantitative relationship in biology.
But, this book is more about people than about equations. It consists of a beautiful set of cameos of some the the greatest biologists who have worked on the issue of altruism, including Darwin, Huxley, Kropotkin, Hamilton, Dawkins, and Price. It is an easy read and very elegant and exciting. There is some mention of results beyond 1970, but they are very, very sparse. Perhaps an historical narrative is warranted only when all the principals are dead. At any rate, for a discussion of the modern theory human altruism, together with spandrels, sociobiology, a scientific approach to morality and the social emotions, you will have to look elsewhere.