Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters: From Dating, Shopping, and Praying to Going to War and Becoming a Billionaire -- Two Evolutionary Psychologists Explain Why We Do What We Do

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Overview

A lively and provocative look at how evolution shapes our behavior and our lives.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, our brains and bodies are hardwired to carry out an evolutionary mission that determines much of what we do, from life plans to everyday decisions.

With an accessible tone and a healthy disregard for political correctness, this lively and eminently readable book popularizes the latest research in ...

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Overview

A lively and provocative look at how evolution shapes our behavior and our lives.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, our brains and bodies are hardwired to carry out an evolutionary mission that determines much of what we do, from life plans to everyday decisions.

With an accessible tone and a healthy disregard for political correctness, this lively and eminently readable book popularizes the latest research in a cutting-edge field of study—one that turns much of what we thought we knew about human nature upside-down.

Every time we fall in love, fight with our spouse, enjoy watching a favorite TV show, or feel scared walking alone at night, we are in part behaving as a human animal with its own unique nature—a nature that essentially stopped evolving 10,000 years ago. Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa reexamine some of the most popular and controversial topics of modern life and shed a whole new light on why we do the things we do.

Beware: You may never look at human nature the same way again.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
We modern humans work hard to prove that we're an advanced species. Researchers Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa think that it's a losing battle. These evolutionary psychologists insist that we've never really transcended our prehistoric ancestors or, for that matter, our fellow primates; we just hide it better. To demonstrate their contention, they insist that men and women are still driven by 10,000-year-old impulses to find an optimal mate and produce healthy offspring. As the subtitle suggests, they link nearly every conceivable aspect of human activity to these primal drives; from selecting a favorite television show to finding religious faith. Sometimes politically correct, but always provocative.
Publishers Weekly

That mouthful of a title says it all. According to Kanazawa, a media-savvy researcher whose studies of "beautiful people" have been covered by the BBC and the New York Times, and the late Miller, a professor of social psychology, evolutionary psychology explains almost everything about human behavior. Proponents of what they call "the Standard Social Science Model" believe that the human mind is exempt from biological pressures, while evolutionary psychologists hold that people are an animal species driven by animal needs. The authors suggest that human evolution stopped when agriculture began changing the world much faster than the world could change us, and now 10,000-year-old impulses to find the right mate and produce healthy offspring control nearly every aspect of our existence, from choosing jobs to religious belief. This accessible book opens the youthful field of evolutionary psychology wide for examination, with results often as disturbing as they are fascinating. (Sept. 4)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
A lively excursion into the new, and still disputed, field of Evolutionary Psychology. In this introduction, Miller, who died at age 44 of Hodgkin's Disease before the book's completion, and Kanazawa ask readers to examine the life choices they've made and re-cast them as evolutionary destiny. A female reader out there may remember the time she tried to dye her hair blonde and came out looking like Ronald McDonald, while a male might cast his mind back to the night he got drunk on Jim Beam and swore to go out looking for the bastard who stole his woman away. In fact, think of almost any foolish, or even sensible, thing you've ever done, and the authors would explain it as the result of the irresistible force of sexual selection, a cornerstone of the arguments underlying Evolutionary Psychology. Why do women want to be blonde? Because, argue the authors, men prefer to mate with blonde women. Why do men prefer to mate with blonde women? Because hair darkens as it ages, and so blonde hair (pre-Clairol) is a sign of youth, and therefore greater fertility and health. Why do men want to perpetrate violence on sexual rivals? Because men are forever less certain of the paternity of a child than women can be of the maternity, and to care for a child not of your own lineage is to let your genes die with you. While the explanations often feel more like elaborate exercises in logic than true science (after all, blondes are not indigenous to all parts of the world, so cultural forces must come into play somewhere), the authors do maintain a peppy, sly tone throughout the book, making each explanation (to questions such as, "Why is Sexual Harassment so Persistent?" and "Why are diamonds a girl's bestfriend?") interesting, if not entirely persuasive. The tone sometimes shifts toward an exasperated defensiveness, but because this is a relatively new, still hotly contested discipline, perhaps this is to be expected. Provocative, entertaining and often wholly unconvincing. Agent: Andrew Stuart/The Stuart Agency
From the Publisher
"An exuberant, accessible, exhilarating, intellectually aerobic workout of an introduction to the new science of human nature." —-David P. Barash, author of Madame Bovary's Ovaries
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780641994647
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/4/2007
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Satoshi Kanazawa is Reader in Management and Research Methodology at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Alan S. Miller was a professor of social psychology in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Hokkaido University, Japan.

Stephen Hoye has won more than a dozen AudioFile Earphones Awards and two prestigious APA Audie Awards, including one for Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. He has recorded many other notable titles, such as Every Second Counts by Lance Armstrong and The Google Story by David A. Vise and Mark Malseed.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2007

    Fascinating

    I found this book completely engrossing. A must read for everyone, particularly single women. It explains, based on extensive scientific reserch and observation, many of the behaviors, both men's and women's, that we have long wondered about.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2007

    nonsense

    I picked this book up while browsing mainly because of the catchy title, and read a great deal of it. The book is a series of soundbites to explain human behavior (and even biology) today against the backdrop of evolution. Much of what I read was nonsense and some of it was insulting with a political agenda masquerading as science. I sense that because Kanazawa is on the faculty of the London School of Ecnonomics this may be more a case of the emporer's new clothes rather than rigorous serious science.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2011

    lay-person's introduction to evolutionary psychology

    This is a fascinating, lay-person's introduction to evolutionary psychology. Screw Freud, Darwin's the one who REALLY holds the answers to why we do what we do. I read this in two days.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2007

    Poor job

    Week book, disappointing, the Author does not give answers and/or explain clearly the subjects, lacks of substance. I think, Kanazawa deep down knew this book will not be good. In the Preface, he mentions that the book was his partner's idea 'Alan S. Miller' and that before his death his partner was the one completing the first draft of some chapters but Kanazawa ended up reworking all the chapters his partner left. The title of the book was not even his own idea, it was Marian Lizzi an Editor, also at the end of his Acknowledgments he calls himself 'a delusional man' Saying all of this, how can you trust this book will be of any worth? as a matter of fact, how/who can trust having Kanazawa as an Assistant Professor or as a tenured Reader? Kanazawa is definitively in my NOT to read list.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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