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Inc.Even more enlightening than Machiavelli's The Prince, this book describes power takeovers and social organizations in a chimpanzee colony... I'll never look at academic or corporate politics the same way.
— Jim Collins
The first edition of Frans de Waal's Chimpanzee Politics was acclaimed not only by primatologists for its scientific achievement but also by politicians, business leaders, and social psychologists for its remarkable insights into the most basic human needs and behaviors. Twenty-five years later, this book is considered a classic. Featuring a new preface that includes recent insights from the author, this anniversary edition is a detailed and thoroughly engrossing account of rivalries and coalitions—actions governed by intelligence rather than instinct. As we watch the chimpanzees of Arnhem behave in ways we recognize from Machiavelli (and from the nightly news), de Waal reminds us again that the roots of politics are older than humanity.
Johns Hopkins University Press
An account of daily life in a community of chimpanzees that reveals sexual rivalries and complex political strategies.
— Jim Collins
The best book ever written on the social life of apes in captivity... The author has that special empathetic insight into the mind of the chimpanzee which is shared by few but can somehow be recognized by many.
Schmoozing. Scheming. Consensus building. You won't glean these management techniques from any business text. But you can't run your company without them. Take it from the apes... The author demonstrates that chimps are, in the broadest sense, political.
Precise but eminently readable and indeed exciting... This excellent book achieves the dual goal which eludes so many writers about animal behavior—it will both fascinate the nonspecialist and be seen as an important contribution to science.
An excellent book... Just as fresh and thought-provoking in 2008 as it was in 1983.
Newt Gingrich has been an avid follower of de Waal's work for years. He has even placed de Waal's Chimpanzee Politics on his recommended reading list, along with better known texts such as the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Federalist Papers. What secrets has Gingrich gleaned from our simian cousins? In short, how to win power by forming tactical coalitions and mounting fierce psychological attacks on those blocking the way... It's a strategy Gingrich aped in his assault on former Speaker Jim Wright.
Even more enlightening than Machiavelli's The Prince, this book describes power takeovers and social organizations in a chimpanzee colony... I'll never look at academic or corporate politics the same way.
When I first read this book, I was in Dar es Salaam with Jane Goodall. I had just returned from observing chimpanzees for two weeks at Gombe. After the real-life experience, I expected a book about chimpanzee behavior—and at a zoo, at that—to make rather dull reading. But I was in for a surprise. De Waal's Chimpanzee Politics is as much fun as a tree full of wild chimps.
Fascinating to read.
— Amelie Koehler
Chimpanzee Politics continues to be the same inspirational book that it was 25 years ago, essential reading for any young primatologist, and a highly recommended re-reading for the older hands!
— Juan-Carlos Gómez
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My Double Life
My first taste for popularization came in the 1970s when I worked at the Arnhem Zoo, in the Netherlands. For years, I addressed organized groups of zoo visitors, including lawyers, housewives, university students, psychotherapists, police academies, bird-watchers, and so on. There is no better sounding board for a would-be popularizer. The visitors would yawn at some of the hottest academic issues but react with recognition and fascination to basic chimpanzee psychology that I had begun to take for granted. I learned that the only way to tell my story was to bring the individual chimpanzees to life and pay attention to actual events rather than the abstractions that scientists are so fond of.
Writing popular science books is both a pleasure and an obligation. It is a pleasure, because one writes under fewer constraints than in scientific articles that leave no room for an anecdote here and a speculation there. Peer-reviewed journal articles aren't always fun to produce.
There is a need for popularization. This is where the obligation comes in: Someone needs to explain to the larger audience what the field is all about. This may be hard for some disciplines, such as chemistry or mathematics, but if one works with monkeys and apes, as I do, it is a thankful, easy task. Like us, these animals live in soap operas of family affairs and power politics, so that all one needs to do is dig into their personal lives while attaching whatever scientific messages one wishes to discuss. People relate very easily to primate behavior and do so for the right reasons: The similarities with their own experiences are striking and fundamental.
And so, I began to lead a double life early on in my career. On the one hand, I am now a university professor and scientist who needs to write papers and obtain grants. At the same time, I am a popularizer who tries to see the bigger picture. Initially, I mainly communicated about my own work -- such as in Chimpanzee Politics and Peacemaking Among Primates -- but more and more my writings cover the work of others. My later books, such as Bonobo, Good Natured, and my most recent book, The Ape and the Sushi Master, are good examples: My own studies constitute only a fraction of what is going on in the field of primatology.
My mission in The Ape and the Sushi Master is to abolish the traditional Western dualisms between human and animal, body and mind, and especially culture and nature. I don't know why I am so fundamentally opposed to these dualisms -- many other scientists fervently embrace them. It must have something to do with how close or distant one thinks one is to animals. At the very least -- even if I won't convince everyone -- I hope to make my readers reflect on where these attitudes come from: how they are tied to human self-perception shaped by culture and religion.
--Frans de Waal
Posted October 9, 2009
No text was provided for this review.
Posted October 21, 2008
No text was provided for this review.