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The Rational Animal: How Evolution Made Us Smarter Than We Think Hardcover – September 10, 2013
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Sheer stupidity is what economic rationalists see when Elvis Presley buys 100 glitzy Cadillacs, when New York governor Eliot Spitzer pays as much as $80,000 for escort services, and when Steven Spielberg invests with Bernie Madoff. But Kenrick and Griskevicius see something more complex. In these apparently stupid decisions, they discern the results of an evolutionary history that impels men and women to ignore their own immediate self-interest in ways that ultimately foster the biological success of the species. That biological success, the authors argue, depends on a human identity that evolution has partitioned into seven separate subselves, each serving a different fundamental human need: self-protection, disease avoidance, affiliation, status, mate acquisition, mate retention, and kin care. When the environment triggers behaviors inscribed in any of these subselves, economic rationality may go out the window. Some readers may protest that the authors are offering biological justifications for foolishness. But the authors actually provide readers with helpful strategies for managing their evolutionary subselves prudently. A persuasive—and entertaining—look at the Darwinian dynamics of decision making. --Bryce Christensen
[An] entertaining and informative book.”
A persuasiveand entertaininglook at the Darwinian dynamics of decision making.”
Vigorously investigated.... Sharp, piquant science/behavioral-economics writing.”
Why do we overspend, underinvest, and make seemingly poor decisions? The Rational Animal shows that the answer comes from a simple, but often overlooked place: Our animal ancestors. Whether we like it or not, evolution has shaped who we are today. But rather than making us foolishly irrational, looking deeper inside ourselves reveals a surprisingly brilliant beast.”
Jonah Berger, author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On
Kenrick is one of evolutionary psychology's alpha males, a grizzled veteran of many battles against the Blank Slate dogma. Griskevicius is the field's most brilliant and productive young star, whose ingenious research proved the transformative power of Darwinism for understanding business and marketing. Together, they make a fascinating, compelling, and fun case that people's decision-making embodies a deep evolutionary rationality rather than a superficial economic rationality. It you want to take the Red Pill and really understand what is going on in modern consumerist capitalismif you want to dive deeper into our paleo-rationality than Dan Ariely or Daniel Kahneman have dared to go, you must read this book.”
Geoffrey Miller, University of New Mexico, and author of The Mating Mind and Spent
Do you want to understand all kinds of human judgment errors that seemed inexplicable before? And do you want to be able to profit handsomely from that new and deep form of understanding? Then don't miss the profound insights of this groundbreaking book.”
Robert B. Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Top customer reviews
The idea that we have sub personas, deeply vested in our ancient past makes a lot of sense to me and fits well with our observed behavior.
As a manager of a large team, and working in a company where I need to influence many people that do not report to me understanding these sub personas and what drives them is very helpful. This knowledge can and will change how I approach getting difficult messages across, especially when consequential action is needed. By bringing a persona to the forefront that has behaviors sympathetic to the specific issue, you can more easily get decisions made, ideas accepted, and action taken.
I highly recommend reading this book, whatever you do in life. If nothing else if will give you new perspectives on why people do the things they do!
Patrick Vyncke, professor of communication management at Ghent University (Belgium)
- evading physical harm
- avoiding disease
- making friends
- gaining status
- attracting a mate
- keeping that mate
- caring for family