Sex, Genes & Rock 'n' Roll: How Evolution Has Shaped the Modern World [NOOK Book]

Overview

Why are we all getting fatter? Why are we fascinated by pop music and celebrities? Is there any hope of curbing population growth and rampant consumerism, and the environmental devastation they wreak? Evolutionary scientist Rob Brooks argues that the origins of these twenty-first-century problems can be found where the ancient forces of evolution collide with modern culture and economics. Natural selection might be “the most important idea anybody ever had,” but evolution remains the poor relation of economics ...
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Sex, Genes & Rock 'n' Roll: How Evolution Has Shaped the Modern World

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Overview

Why are we all getting fatter? Why are we fascinated by pop music and celebrities? Is there any hope of curbing population growth and rampant consumerism, and the environmental devastation they wreak? Evolutionary scientist Rob Brooks argues that the origins of these twenty-first-century problems can be found where the ancient forces of evolution collide with modern culture and economics. Natural selection might be “the most important idea anybody ever had,” but evolution remains the poor relation of economics and social theory when it comes to understanding human affairs. This book shows how evolution can help us understand human history, our radically changing environment, and the lives people lead today.

Rob Brooks examines the many issues facing our world and introduces key principles of evolutionary biology as a lens through which to view how and why we’ve gotten to where we are, and how to leverage the mechanism of adaptation and change. Throughout, he includes fascinating illustrations from the natural world and from human prehistory and history. Just as Freakonomics revealed “the hidden side of everything,” Sex, Genes & Rock ’n’ Roll reveals how evolution and ecology interact to explain the most important and interesting problems faced by modern civilization.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[Brooks] is at his best when he warns about the global political consequences of dramatically unequal sex ratios found among the poorest and most populated Asian countries.”—Publishers Weekly

“This is a startling insight into the relevance of evolutionary biology to our society and cultures.”—COSMOS Magazine

“It’s good fun, and a reminder that while Homo sapiens possesses a big cerebral cortex we also drag around a genetic legacy kick-started by our ancestors’ decision to climb down from trees, arguably the first of many bad evolutionary moves.”—The Australian

“A sublime piece of popular science.” —The Sydney Morning Herald

Publishers Weekly
That evolution has played a significant role in shaping many facets of human social systems and individual behaviors has become axiomatic in recent years. Brooks, an evolutionary biologist from the University of New South Wales, uses an evolutionary lens to examine many of the specifics embedded in that axiom. By ranging widely—covering obesity, population growth, sex and mating patterns, and aging—he demonstrates the many ways differential reproduction, the most important feature of evolution, touches on every aspect of our lives. Brooks is a capable writer, but most of his major ideas have been previously expressed by others. There is nothing new, for example, about explaining how the food-gathering practices of early humans are largely responsible for our penchant for fatty food and our world-wide obesity epidemic. Brooks is weakest when he uses rock music as a case study for evolutionary thinking. He’s at his best when he warns about the global political consequences of dramatically unequal sex ratios found among the poorest and most populated Asian countries: a projected 60 million excess men by 2020 in India and China, lacking reproductive prospects, “ not only peace and order within those societies but also regional and global stability.” (Mar.)
Library Journal
Australian evolutionary biologist Brooks (director, Evolution & Ecology Research Ctr., Univ. of New South Wales, Sydney) studies the intersection of sex and adaptation. In his first book for a general audience, he aims "to show how evolution is taking its place alongside the studies of economics and culture, to enhance how we understand our lives, human history, and the prospects for social improvement." He discusses current issues like fertility, weight gain, sex, death, and polygamy through the lens of evolution. Brooks succinctly provides us with an understanding of how evolution brought human beings from our origins to where we are today and how it affected our culture and economics. He also speculates about what may happen to our culture (and species) as evolution continues to influence us in the future. VERDICT Later chapters often derive examples from the lives of rock musicians, and humor also assists Brooks's discussion. A thoughtful reflection on evolution, the role of the individual within society, and the planet's future.—Michael D. Cramer, Schwarz BioSciences, Research Triangle Park, NC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611682373
  • Publisher: University of New Hampshire Press
  • Publication date: 3/13/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 322
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

ROB BROOKS is director of the Evolution and Ecology Research Center at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He is the recipient of the Australian Academy of Science Fenner Medal, and an internationally recognized expert on evolutionary biology and ecological systems.
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Table of Contents

Prologue
The weight of our ancestry
Obesity is not for everyone
Weapons of massive consumption
Dwindling fertility
Shakespearean love
Wrapped around your finger
Love is a battlefield
Where have all the young girls gone?
Blame it on the Stones
About a boy
Immortality
Thanks
Notes
Bibliography
Index
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