- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books; 1 edition (April 10, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780465020782
- ISBN-13: 978-0465020782
- ASIN: 046502078X
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,238,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Games Primates Play: An Undercover Investigation of the Evolution and Economics of Human Relationships 1st Edition
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[E]ngaging.... Drawing on his own work with rhesus macaques as well as broader primate literature, Maestripieri offers solid grounding in the basics of animal behavior while discussing the evolutionary roots of complex social patterns. The behaviors he focuses on are both critical and fascinating: sexual choice; dominance relationships; the nature of altruism and selfishness; and coalition building, among others.”
[A] fascinating survey. Using wonderful comparative studies and conversational language, Maestripieri brings us back to our primate roots so that we can better understand why we do the things we do.”
Read this if...you want to understand the parallels between all primate societies. Maestripieri illustrates that the behavior of Tony Soprano's family mirrors that of macaque monkeys and explains how to figure out celebrity breakups by studying the mating practices of apes.”
The University of Chicago primatologist begins with a thorough, albeit unsettling, analysis of what we do when we encounter a stranger in an elevator, then guides us through the gamut of common social interactions, relating our behaviour to that of our primate brethren in the wild and in the lab. His observations on our common impulses are fascinating.”
Just how our biology drives behaviour is the subject of numerous books, but Maestripieri does a commendable job of bringing something fresh to his analysis . Games Primates Play is an interesting, funny and engaging study of human nature. And Maestripieri's amusing and often endearing anecdotes add colour and insight.”
Library Journal (starred review)
This informative and provocative work is a major contribution to understanding and appreciating the nature and behavior of humankind.”
A spirited, insightful narrative that explores the ways our interpersonal relationships resemble those of our primate cousins”
By exploring our social lives through the lens of an evolutionary biologist, Maestripieri breaks down the most routine of social interactions into deeply embedded behaviors from our genetic forebears. Just like humans, other primates grapple with questions of dominance, reciprocation, nepotism and fidelity. He demonstrates how his own life, the lives of celebrities, and corporate success strategies all derive from a single, primal need to find our place in a group.”
Robert Sapolsky, Professor of Neuroscience, Stanford University, and author of A Primate's Memoir
At the end of the day, there is no social interaction of humans that does not bear the imprint of our being a species of animal, of primate, of ape. In this smart and witty book, one of our finest primatologists, Dario Maestripieri, gives a tour of human social behavior and its primate legacy. A fun, insightful read.”
Laura Betzig, author of Despotism and Differential Reproduction
There's a new maestro on the block, and he's written a great book. When a chimp strays into a strange troop, why is he at risk of getting his testicles ripped off? Whose eyeball is a capuchin monkey most likely to poke? How would a long-tailed macaque take over Microsoft? Read Dario Maestripieri, and capisce.”
Reasoning that social selective pressures are similar in humans and other primatesand roping in rational' models such as game theory[Maestripieri] examines everyday situations from multiple perspectives. Whether scoping out the elevator dilemma' of sharing a confined space with strangers, the human tendency to nepotism or the economics of love', Maestripieri argues his case compellingly.”
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Showing 1-8 of 17 reviews
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While I don't care if everything is absolutely scientifically sound, or if the author really knows about dogs, or a social contract for that instance - I think some things in the book are not meant to be taken so seriously, I suspect the author just meant to joke around (it's a European thing, trust me) I was still disappointed.
I actually haven't finished it (so if you think I'm a fraud for reviewing it anyway, I agree with you. I still thought I would throw in my pinch of salt, for what it's worth).
If not totally accurate, I was expecting something as enthusiastic and entertaining in terms of writing as Malcolm Gladwell's books are, and OK, they're not all perfect either, but they did the trick for me.
I wanted to be swept off my feet with brilliant ideas and hypothesis or even a bit of conjecture. Oh, and I loved "A natural history of ourselves" by Hannah Holmes, which provided plenty of funny examples for comparisons between humans and animals.
But I felt this was too much theory and lengthy behavior descriptions, and too many dots disconnected (I have no idea about accuracy). A stronger structure and shorter chapters would have made it more palatable.
The start point started to feel to me like an excuse to digress about the underworld of academia and other topics related to the author's life (including Italian nepotism).Also, I was kind of disturbed by how the monkey stories were told like human lives; other reviewers were right about anthropomorphism.
While it is quite interesting sometimes, it didn't keep my attention or interest (I read a lot, and rarely not finish a book). I can't say I would recommend it.
As for the peacock's tail and the male primate who snatches a baby out of the arms of its mother, I can certainly think of an explanation other than the Handicap Principle. Couldn't the length of the tail be a compromise between the female's sexual preference and the male's need to survive? As for the male primate -- why can't this individual simply be protecting himself? Perhaps both males are aware of who the father is (or might be) and the kidnapper is simply using the other male's (probable) baby as a shield.
This book jumps around, as others have pointed out, and it's also repetitious. Sometimes the same sentence is repeated again and again (with slight variations).
As an author myself, I'm surprised that Dr. Maestripieri would disparage his publisher by commenting that he was forced to go with a less prestigious house. I don't know whether to admire his honesty or deplore his obtuseness.
On the plus side, the section on Italian nepotism was fascinating. I also enjoyed the detailed information on the behavior of macaque monkeys. The book is easy to read and entertaining, for the most part.