The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature

The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature

by Matt Ridley

Paperback(1st. Perennial Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060556570
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/29/2003
Series: Harper Perennial
Edition description: 1st. Perennial Edition
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 250,870
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.94(d)

About the Author

Matt Ridley is the award-winning, bestselling author of several books, including The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves; Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters; and The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature. His books have sold more than one million copies in thirty languages worldwide. He writes regularly for The Times (London) and The Wall Street Journal, and is a member of the House of Lords. He lives in England.

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The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an amazingly well-written book. Ridley describes some very complex concepts in language that is easy to understand. Interesting to people in the field, but simple enough for anyone to read. I highly recommend it. One of the important points to keep in mind when thinking about evolutionary psychology, and one which Ridley emphasizes, is just because something is 'natural' doesn't mean it is 'right'. For example, forced copulation (i.e. rape) is a 'natural' behavior in many animal species. You wouldn't argue, though, that this means rape should not be a criminal offense. This book does not espouse any particular political ideology and anyone who attempts to use it to do so is probably taking something out of context. Read this with an open mind.
TrueStories More than 1 year ago
We all know that there is no reasoning with the basis of attraction in people. Now we have the answer, this book explores the theory of sexual attraction in various species including ours. Why do women like "bad boys"? Why are mem so polygamous? What is the genetic payoff here for both? And why are we all so attracted to performers? This book does an excellent job of answering these questions and more. I picked this book up out of curiosity about the Red Queen's Race frome Alice in Wonderland. To my surprise, this book had many other revelations. At it's lowest level this book could be considered a manual for seduction for both genders. At the highest level it can reveal the reason for our unconcious choices and allow us to deal with life at a much wiser level. If you want to get above the Darwin rat race, read this book. If you want to understand your mate or why you are attracted to a particular kind of mate, read this book. If you want to get the most unwelcome surprise of your life, don't read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every social science and liberal arts student on the college level should immediately read this book. In fact every person claiming to be educated needs to read this excellent treatment of central concepts in biology. Well written and significant for our survival as humans overcoming the forces of ignorance and religious dogma.
ffortsa on LibraryThing 27 days ago
Tthis was both an interesting and irritating book. The words `aggrieved¿ and `beleaguered¿ would apply to his first few chapters as well as his summation, but I try to remember that the book was written 16 years ago, when the various divisions of social and biological sciences may have been more at odds. Ridley has little or no patience for anthropologists, sociologists, and even sociobiologists (that last surprised me a little) ¿ evolution explains it all.What does it explain? Well, why so many species in the world reproduce sexually, in spite of the biological expense and complication. And what that method does to push evolution along, in ways we might or might not be willing to recognize. His primary theory is that the exchange of DNA caused by sexual reproduction (as opposed to budding, splitting, and other asexual methods) has to do with the race between any organism and its parasites and diseases. He makes a pretty persuasive argument, with many examples from both current and ancient species.His second thesis rests on how this arms race creates a feedback loop of reinforced inherited characteristics, some obvious, some almost chance. Again, many examples support his thesis. Where he gets most defensive is concerning the examples of our own species ¿ that is where the book feels most out of date. I think we have become more sophisticated about our own responses as we have had the advantage of enhanced brain imaging of various kinds in the intervening decade and a half.His querulous defensiveness left me wondering how he chose his evidence. The text is lavishly footnoted, but most of the evidence itself is hidden, and I wonder how much the selection is biased to prove his points, intentionally or not. Without copious research in his tracks, I don¿t think there¿s any way to tell.I wonder if this is why I don¿t read more non-fiction ¿ I can trust the fiction to be fiction, but with non-fiction, I¿m constantly asking myself ¿how does he know? And would I agree with his interpretation?¿
snash on LibraryThing 3 months ago
The Red Queen is an interesting presentation of the roll of sex in evolution, and the evolution of sex. It provided much food for thought, especially the roll of parasites in driving evolution, the idea of the red queen (things evolve to stay even, there is no long term winning). I liked the authors dealing with the nature vs nurturing conflict, that they are both always involved. Especially towards the end, it seemed schools of thought were flippantly tossed on the trash heap rather than more thoughtfully analyzed. Most any theory has something to add.
SwitchKnitter on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I've meant to read this book for the last twenty years. I finally got around to doing it this year, and... I realized halfway through that I've read it already. Oops. I have a terrible memory thanks to one of my medications, so The Red Queen completely slipped my mind. {pause} Yep, I read it in August of 2001. I forgot I'd put it in my old homemade book database. I gave it a score of 4 out of 5, same as I did this time. I feel silly, but I'm glad I reread it. Good book.
edwinbcn on LibraryThing 3 months ago
While interesting and stimulating, in the end it became all a bit too much, especially as the style remains unchanged until the very last page. Glad I finished it.
Jacenschimmel on LibraryThing 3 months ago
An interesting view of mating rituals and genetics.
BraveKelso on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This book looked at sexual selection as force in evolution. Written in 1993, it provided a timely examination of competing theories. Ridley is a tenacious commentator, bringing common and critical sense to the biological and anthropological equivalents of the question: why is there something rather than nothing.
commandereagle2 More than 1 year ago
This is perhaps my favorite lay-person book on human biology. It convincingly describes and makes a case for human evolutionary psychology covering topics from family structures, feminism, and the battle of the sexes. This is considered a classic for a reason.
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book was good