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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Books I've Read
Dragons of Eden was first introduced to me by my friend and I quickly became interested after flipping through a couple of pages. I later picked it up, with the intention of just reading the first few chapters, and found myself reading for hours. While Sagan might be speculating, the information proved quite accurate and otherwise intriguing. Half way through the book I...
Published on Aug. 14 2012 by MIKER

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3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing but somewhat dated
When I first read The Dragons of Eden in 1980 I thought it was a fascinating piece of scientific speculation. On re-reading it in 2000 I found it to be somewhat dated. For example, in the chapter on dreams, Sagan cites two examples of creative thought supposedly inspired by dreams -- the chemist Kekule's dream of a snake biting its tail (which revealed the cyclic...
Published on Dec 16 2001 by Bill Stevenson


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars includes endnote coverage of the cannabis smoker's mind..., July 19 2001
By 
Joel Brown (Pittsburgh, PA USA) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence (Mass Market Paperback)
Now I definitely need to read more of Carl Sagan's books. This one is not very recent (he speaks of a new video game called "Pong"), but full of thought-provoking and interesting concepts concerning intelligence and evolution. I was pleasantly surprised to see that he had a chapter pertaining to dreamstates. ("Tales of Dim Eden") Also pertaining to Eden, he illustrates how the Genesis story of Man and his Fall can in some senses really be accurate, not (pseudo)scientifically (as in Creationism...obviously it is a book on evolution and phylogeny) but as a metaphor for several characteristics of the human races emerging onto the present scene of a civilisation stemmed from the frontal lobes. Which in the big picture has been very recent, to show this he condenses the life of the cosmos to a scale Cosmic Calendar of 365 days. Us Earthlings almost miss the New Year's party. Neurologically, the areas of the brain are explored and their respective functions as well as connections to mammallian and reptilian ancestors. (A triune model is used) Finally, he briefly touches on our search for extraterrestrial intelligence and, very appropriately to this setting, exposes the West's lack of appreciation for scientific knowledge the world which we inhabit and our irrational attraction to superstition and bogus claims of occult psuedo-science... something I just had to include somewhere in here.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Woderful, April 4 1999
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence (Mass Market Paperback)
Simply a masterpiec
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing, Jan. 30 2003
By 
Robert M. Downey (Cambridge, MA United States) - See all my reviews
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Ce commentaire est de: Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence (Mass Market Paperback)
I've always considered Sagan my favorite story teller. He tells both wonderful fictional tales (like Contact), and tales that while certainly grand enough to be fiction, are actually tales of nature and science.
The Dragons of Eden is one such book. So large in its scope that one might think it would be disconnected and hard to follow, it in fact is the perfect balance of big picture and fascinating detail.
If you're even mildly interested in evolution, biology, zoology, neuroscience, or the nature of what really makes us who we are, this book is a must read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking...but difficult to read...., Jan. 13 2001
By 
Auren Hoffman (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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Ce commentaire est de: Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence (Mass Market Paperback)
I heard this book was thought provoking and it certainly lived up to it's reputation. However, it is very difficult to read and takes a long time to consider each page. Because of that, I have not yet finished the book - though I do plan to one day.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too technical and pointless, Feb. 8 1999
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence (Mass Market Paperback)
After having attemted to read this boring and schetchy book in my college Englixh class, I decided that Carl Sagan needed another career. He doesn't get his point across, if there is a point, at all. It took me several days just to read chapter two. It was all to choppy, technical, confusing, and as I said before, done right boring. I do not recommend this book to anyone unless they are insane or wanting to become insane. It would take an absolutely crazy athiest type of person to read this book. Two thumbs and two big toes down. Zero stars (that's not an option) in this girls opinion. It is not a far fetched idea to believe that thousands of others who made the mistake of reading this book would agree.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Dragons of Eden: Life on Earth Explained?, March 20 2003
By 
C. Gohlke (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
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Ce commentaire est de: Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence (Mass Market Paperback)
In The Dragons of Eden, author Carl Sagan depicts a world in which evolutionism reigns and earth's creatures develop in a mock "year" from single-celled organisms to the complex man prevalent today. First published in 1977, the information provided in the book, captioned "Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence," still remains an apparent encyclopedia for the scholar of man's development. Much of the book includes technological references, which, because of its age, are now obsolete; however, it still serves as a factual, thought-provoking reference with which one better comprehends the spawn of life on earth.
As a seasoned scientist, Sagan's vast knowledge in the field of science is clear through a study of his books. Though he became famous through his work with NASA, his entire bibliographical record consists of topics about space, nuclear winters, extraterrestrial life, and the history of man specifically. The Dragons of Eden is just one example of his outstanding literary résumé. Similar authors like William Poundstone and Stephen Jay Gould are known for their study of the mathematical, philosophical, and historical aspects of science, but none come close to Sagan's highly regarded reputation and thorough knowledge of the entire scientific field.
The genre of scientific novels appeal to a wide range of people, from scientists to lay men and women interested in the field. In spite of this, The Dragons of Eden seems to require a prior scientific knowledge if the reader intends on grasping some of the concepts addressed in the book. For instance, Sagan says, "the largest taxonomic divisions distinguish between plants and animals, or between those organisms with poorly developed nuclei in their cells (such as bacteria and blue-green algae) and those with very clearly demarcated and elaborately architectured nuclei (such as protozoa or people)." It is obvious that Sagan attempts to explain some of the material with the information inside the parentheses, but much of it is left unclear to the amateur reader. The scientific information Sagan proposes in this book far outweighs its literary aspect; it is more of an assemblage of experiments and scientific fact than appealing, interesting ideas that bring about fascinating new concepts.
As a scientific novel, the book, by definition, should produce new and thought provoking philosophies. The majority of the book, though, only focuses on the factual side of the concept of evolution. Nevertheless, a few examples and analogies are creative and interesting, like chapter five's focus on the study of chimpanzees and their use of man-made language. Rather than "throwing" scientific fact at the reader, Sagan provides an unusual and fascinating study that better explains the material he presented.
In Sagan's book, he scientifically develops the issue of evolution thoroughly and effectively without bringing in the contrasting viewpoint, creationism. Though the book concentrates on evolution, dispelling the opposing ideas of creation would have strengthened his argument and better convinced his reader to realize the true conception of man.

In order to appreciate and perceive the evolution of life on earth, Sagan's The Dragons of Eden is a perfect novel to examine. Every human being should have a great knowledge of his or her ancestry over the millions of years since homo sapiens evolved, and this book is a prime resource with which to do so. Though some scientific material may be foreign to the untrained reader, the book as a whole is a brilliant blueprint for the history of life.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Book Without Soul, Oct. 31 1999
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence (Mass Market Paperback)
A purely mechanistic view of life. If this is all there is, then life has no point or purpose. Unknown to each other, my brother and I both bought this book simultaneously and then simultaneously threw it away! Actually threw a book in the trashcan!
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0 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "OH SO FABULOUS" Book, Dec 30 2003
Ce commentaire est de: Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence (Mass Market Paperback)
Oh my gosh. everyone should TOTALLY read this book. it will give you informative info on all your life questions. i read this book in less than 24 hours and SO CAN YOU! wanna know about dinosaurs and cool aliens? well then DEFINITELY read this book. instead of going to the beach, i stayed in and read this truly intriguing book. oh wow. im such a good student! YOU can be just like me if you read this Carl Sagan dragon junk book. At first you might be discouraged because its REALLY BORING, but if you're into all that space stuff then you'll really like it. my friend OLGA recommended it to me and we just love sharing our thoughts over a nice hot cup of coffee, while checking out the other book worms. anyways be RAD like me and read some carl sagan today!
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Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence
Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence by Carl Sagan (Mass Market Paperback - Dec 12 1986)
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