- File Size: 1153 KB
- Print Length: 420 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (February 14, 2012)
- Publication Date: February 14, 2012
- Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
- Language: English
- ASIN: B006O4227U
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,238 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Experienced scientist and science journalist Matt Ridley compiled these findings of evolutionary psychology (EP) for the lay reader in 1993 - and "Red Queen" is still a timely treatise. Disclaimer: For those who are offended by the very suggestion that our behavior evolved from a pre-ape ancestor - and that our behavior is an elaborate, sophisticated manifestation of language and socialization which evolved by natural selection along with a huge brain - you won't like this book.
I realize the following assessments of mine are anecdotal, but here goes: I have seen how men and women preen, peacock-like, showing off their best (?) sides during courtships, and how they pair off in society according to commonly accepted determinants of status, differing depending on sex. I have seen how the competitive, power-seeking behavior of men is drastically tempered by marriage. I have seen how married men who are careful in all other endeavors will take uncharacteristic risks for a sexual fling. I have observed how women tend to choose (in a mate) financial success and stability over looks (if they have to choose), whereas men tend to choose beauty over all else. I have seen how men and women differ in their outlooks: Men (generally) want to be practical, shrewd, assertive, dominating, competitive, critical, and self-controlled. Women (usually) want to be loving, affectionate, impulsive, sympathetic, and generous.Read more ›
To arrive to this and other conclusions, Ridley goes a long and difficult way through biology, genetics and continents, starting with a basic question: why is there sex at all? After all, many species reproduce without it. The first three or four chapters of "The Red Queen" may be a little onerous, but apparently they are necessary to support the last ones.
This is a book about evolution with a focus on human sexuality and the human mind. Everything on humans - our bodies, our behavior towards the opposite sex, even our minds and social rules - is a direct result of a process called sexual selection that allows the reproduction of the fittest, therefore transmiting their genes to the next generations.
When answering why there is sex at all and how men and women's bodies and minds evolved in the last million years, we come to many uncomfortable truths about adultery, rape, incest and life. Why do more rich men marry beautiful women and not the other way around? Why have the attempts to sell pornogrphy to women and romantic novels to men failed? And above all this: why did evolution produce different minds in men a women?
Take all of the above and pack it with a red cover, and you have one of the most amazing readings of the year.
Matt Ridley explains in the epilogue of The Red Queen that half of his ideas are probably wrong, just like those of Freud, Jung, and many others. But this common-sense attitude, projected onto the evolution of reproduction, is EXACTLY what about this book makes it so incredible.
Ridley is grounded in a reality unfettered by religion, social science, social mores, or really any sort of external "moral" influence. (Not that he's the antichrist or anything - he's just not letting standard social concepts influence his ideas.) A few people who don't usually want to accept reality (ultra-conservatives) will hate this book. Fine. If you believe in creationism, go elsewhere. Otherwise, read this book! This is not a political or an ideological work - this is a scientific text on human evolution, and how it has been influenced by sex.
I have been able to RIVET people with discussions of facts and theories from this book. It's the best money I've spent on a single book in quite a long while. And in case I sound like way too much of a suck-up - I haven't read any of Ridley's other works, not because I haven't bought them, but because I looked through them in bookstores, and every one I looked at seems either uninteresting, wrong, or awful. But this one is GREAT!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In the tradition of Gladwell, Dawkins, Duhigg, and the Freakonomics guys, Matt Ridley unravels an entertaining and informative narrative to explain a set of complex theories to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Arizona Charles Echo
Such a good book. Miles ahead of my human sexuality class. Very nice to read material like this when political correctness is so prevalent in today's reading material.Published 1 month ago by Skullie
Very interesting read. I do not haxe a background in this subject and still found this a great readPublished 4 months ago by Jason Gilger
Yes, it gets a little technical in the early going, when Ridley is explaining why sex even exists (rather than all life reproducing asexually). Read morePublished 5 months ago by R. Pryor
....a beautiful amalgamation of science, sociology, anthropology, and human nature...a twisted, but real summation of evolutionary events to lead to an obvious conclusion. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Ram Vasudevan
There is a lot of valuable ideas in this book. But as the author says on page 248 "Half the ideas in this book are probably wrong". I'll take him at his word. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Jimbo
Sex is actually an evolved defense agaisnt evolving predation-There is a new book that reveals the missing 1/2 of the theory of evolution
This book is a nice try at... Read more