- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (January 24, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393082083
- ISBN-13: 978-0393082081
- Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 47 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #555,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science, and Society
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An Amazon Best Book of January 2017: Fine knocks it out of the park with her smart and eye-opening investigation into why we give credit to (or blame) testosterone for so many behaviors. With a writing style that reminds me of Mary Roach and her gift for seeking out the ridiculous, Fine puts under the microscope our assumption that testosterone is the wonder hormone that makes men risk takers and competitive and, in its absence, women less so. This might sound like heavy stuff—like the gender studies classes I avoided in college—but Fine invites you to laugh with her as she punctures outdated notions and points out obvious weaknesses in the mighty social (not scientific) barricade of sex-specific dogma and the daily throwaway comments that carelessly reinforces that wall. After reading Testosterone Rex, my new resolution is to never say "Boys will be boys" again. Because while boys are, of course, boys, we owe it to them—and to girls—to understand that they are not defined by this single hormone. —Adrian Liang, The Amazon Book Review
“Fine’s funny, spiky book gives reason to hope that we’ve heard Testosterone rex’s last roar.”
- Annie Murphy Paul, New York Times Book Review
“Fascinating [and] bold. . . . Fine has written a book that’s not only well-researched and convincing but also . . . delightfully humorous.”
- Barbara J. King, NPR
“In this witty corrective, psychologist Cordelia Fine examines the fraying “biological big picture” of sexual selection, and corrals findings in evolutionary science, neuroscience and endocrinology to add nuance to it.”
- Barbara Kiser, Nature, “Best Science Picks”
“The expression ‘essential reading for everyone’ is usually untrue as well as a cliché, but if there were a book deserving of that description this might just be it.”
- Antonia Macaro, Financial Times
“In addition to being hopeful, Fine is also angry. We should all be angry. Testosterone Rex is a debunking rumble that ought to inspire a roar.”
- The Guardian
“[Fine] convincingly and entertainingly demonstrates that, despite stereotypes, such characteristics as risk-taking, competitiveness and nurturing are not “essential” to one sex over the other and cannot be blamed for the lack of equality between males and females in contemporary society.”
- Clara Moskowitz, Scientific American
“Cordelia Fine’s Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science, and Society does the public service of deconstructing the biological and societal tenets on which the continued inequality of the sexes is largely founded. . . . Using humor and her uniquely accessible academic writing style, . . . [Fine disrupts] what we think we know about gender difference.”
- Katie Klabusich, Rewire
“A provocative and often fascinating book.”
- The Economist
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Still, she covers a lot of research that illustrates the complexity of the relationship between hormones, genetics and behavior, which is important to recognize, given the oversimplification of their relationship in popular media (as she notes time and again). If you already grasp that the relationship is complex and there is no simple causal line from hormones to gendered behavior, the book feels like a sustained attack on a dead opponent. But definitely it's worth a read if you think there's a simple causal link and are willing to be challenged, or if you want to gain a greater appreciation of the complex interactions between hormones and behavior.
Interesting that the vast majority of 1-star reviews are unverified purchases posted within a short time-frame.
FYI, if you are looking for good science books in general, here is the rest of the short list for that prize:
Beyond Infinity by Eugenia Cheng
I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong
In Pursuit of Memory by Joseph Jebelli
Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith
To Be a Machine by Mark O'Connell