The Mismeasure of Man

The Mismeasure of Man

3.8 9
by Stephen Jay Gould
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

The definitive refutation to the argument of The Bell Curve.
When published in 1981, The Mismeasure of Man was immediately hailed as a masterwork, the ringing answer to those who would classify people, rank them according to their supposed genetic gifts and limits.
And yet the idea of innate limits—of biology as destiny—dies hard, as witness the

…  See more details below

Overview

The definitive refutation to the argument of The Bell Curve.
When published in 1981, The Mismeasure of Man was immediately hailed as a masterwork, the ringing answer to those who would classify people, rank them according to their supposed genetic gifts and limits.
And yet the idea of innate limits—of biology as destiny—dies hard, as witness the attention devoted toThe Bell Curve, whose arguments are here so effectively anticipated and thoroughly undermined by Stephen Jay Gould. In this edition Dr. Gould has written a substantial new introduction telling how and why he wrote the book and tracing the subsequent history of the controversy on innateness right through The Bell Curve. Further, he has added five essays on questions of The Bell Curve in particular and on race, racism, and biological determinism in general. These additions strengthen the book's claim to be, as Leo J. Kamin of Princeton University has said, "a major contribution toward deflating pseudo-biological 'explanations' of our present social woes."

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Saturday Review
“A rare book-at once of great importance and wonderful to read.”
June Goodfield
In ''The Mismeasure of Man,'' his most significant book yet, Mr. Gould grasps the supporting pillars of the temple in a lethal grip of historical scholarship and analysis - and brings the whole edifice crashing down....It takes a master pen to bring history alive, and the chronological unfolding of this tale is told in a somewhat pedestrian manner. Its style stands in obvious contrast to Mr. Gould's earlier writings, though it still shows the flash of humor and the felicitous phrase. But ''The Mismeasure of Man'' demands a great deal from the reader. To understand the conceptual fallacy at the heart of the mathematical technique of factor analysis, which itself is a prerequisite for understanding the history of intelligence testing, requires some very hard work indeed - even though Mr. Gould attempts most valiantly to make his material accessible. -- New York Times
From the Publisher
"A rare book—at once of great importance and wonderful to read." —Saturday Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393314250
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
06/28/1996
Edition description:
Revised and expanded
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
173,055
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile:
1360L (what's this?)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A rare book—-at once of great importance and wonderful to read." —-Saturday Review

Meet the Author

Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Geology at Harvard University. He published over twenty books, received the National Book and National Book Critics Circle Awards, and a MacArthur Fellowship.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 10, 1941
Date of Death:
May 20, 2002
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Place of Death:
Boston, Massachusetts
Education:
B.S., Antioch College, 1963; Ph.D., Columbia University, 1967

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Mismeasure of Man 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Many thanks to the previous reviewer for setting out the main themes and content of this remarkable book. I read the original version of The Mismeasure of Man when it was originally published, and I'm now nearly through the updated edition. Here we are, twenty years later, and society is still operating under the same old prejudices disguised as 'science' and 'fact.' Will the isolated voices of reason (Gould, Montagu, Kamin, et al.) ever be heard? If Stephen Jay Gould weren't already a national treasure because of his essays on evolution, history of science, and even baseball, The Mismeasure of Man would guarantee him a place as one of the most important thinkers of our time. You need to buy this book. Trust me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book reveals the historical truth about man's unfortunate attempts to limit human potential by relegating the complexities of individual intelligence to performance on arbitrary tasks. Man's obsession with quantifying human performance has had disastrous consequences for society. This book gives insight and perspective to the current practices that plague psychologists today in attempting to categorize and quantify the human capacity for intelligence.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This version of the book is great because it includes additional comments by the author, updating it into more recent contexts. A definate 'must read' for anyone interested in the study of IQ development and assessment. Although the lengthy introduction can be protracted at times, the work is still an essential source for those wishing to understand the misues of statistics by many credentialed scientists. Although the book starts slowly, as straight-backed chair reading, it becomes more vital as it progresses. Gould's agenda is clearly visable throughout, making it an honest work. This is an excellent study for any graduate researcher to understand before beginning any major research project.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont. Now about this book
Guest More than 1 year ago
Interesting and well written. Entertaining. But unable to to draw conclusions that are politicaly incorrect and, therefore, little more than a comfort piece for twentieth century humanists. There are diferences in intelligence and they are measurable. (Do you really believe that short order cook could have been a neurosurgeon if only he had applied himself?) The real question is, "What do differences in intelligence mean and what should we do about them." These are tough questions, but that does not mean we should pretend they do not need to be asked. We're not going to send the short order cook to medical school--unless he graduates from college and has excellent scores on his MCAT's (a surrogate for intelligence testing). My advice is, read "The Bell Curve." It draws some simple conclusions and asks some hard questions. It's not perfect, but it's a lot better than most of the writing claiming to "demolish" it!