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Sex, Genes & Rock ’n’ Roll: How Evolution Has Shaped the Modern World Hardcover – Mar 13 2012

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 322 pages
  • Publisher: New Hampshire; 56727th edition (March 13 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611682363
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611682366
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.8 x 23.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,438,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“[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


“A dazzling tour of the hidden logic behind modern life.” (Baba Brinkman, creator of The Rap Guide to Evolution)

“In this engaging and witty book, biologist Rob Brooks shows how human nature interacts with social and economic conditions to explain some of the most troubling aspects of modern human life. . . . A must-read for the evo-curious.” (Geoffrey Miller, author of The Mating Mind and Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9eb639a8) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ed94654) out of 5 stars Great book! Read it. Sept. 16 2012
By Karl513 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
This book offers a fantastic perspective of the world through the eyes of an evolutionary biologist that is easily readable for all, yet still intriguing and thought-provoking for scientists. It's not especially heavy with citations, but conceptually it is a pretty thorough account of the impact of human evolutionary history on, well, a lot of things. It's fun, witty (perhaps a little more poetic than you'd expect from a scientist), but nevertheless insightful and straightforward; all of which keep you reading. I absolutely tore through this book in just a few days. I recommend this book to everyone, and will go ahead and predict it to become one of the more defining books of our time--an instant classic. I hope it eventually becomes a mainstay in advanced high school and college literary curricula. For evolutionary biologists, while you'll find it worth reading yourself, this is your new go-to recommendation to anyone asking how/why researching/understanding evolution contributes positively to society. This book makes obvious the importance and value of considering evolution in any sort of social, psychological, philosophical, political, etc. discussion/decision. I think that as more and more people (especially from the general public) read this book, a social or political perspective lacking insight to our evolutionary past/present will soon be one that is uniformed, incomplete, and obsolete. Do yourself a favor and read this book.
HASH(0x9ef7a8b8) out of 5 stars Makes you rethink evolution and human kind May 1 2014
By Elena E.G. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
From nutrition to obesity, from sex to rock and roll: Dr. Brooks revisits common issues and aspects of different cultures under an evolutionary light, making connections to genetics and animal studies. Without ever asking "why," as the rigorous scientist should do, he opens up a new world of connections that don't mean to justify certain behaviors, rather, help us understand them better. I confess that some chapters left me with even more questions than I had before, but in a good way, because I couldn't help but think: how much of what we are is in our genes and history and how much does it come from deliberate choices?
HASH(0x9ef19f3c) out of 5 stars A whole new look at human behaviours April 29 2014
By Vince - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Fascinating read. Dr. Brooks gives an evolutionary interpretation of human behaviours and cultures that will leave you pondering about our origins and, most importantly, our future as a species.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ef70d80) out of 5 stars hard nut to crack Jan. 3 2013
By Timothy J. Eggenberger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There 'is' some interesting stuff in the book, it's just hard to get at, like trying to crack a hard nut. As i continued reading i got agitated at some of the long, overly complicated, sentencing (thus prompting this review). The cover, title and intro. suggest a fun, easy read, it's not. I found myself having to read-read alot of it.
Your average 'Rocker' is going to struggle with this book.
1 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ed1f8dc) out of 5 stars author has multiple serious inaccurancies in this book. Oct. 13 2012
By Morgan V. Madison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Author writes of overpopulation in poor countries as caused by lack of modern birth control and abortion. false. "inside the third world by paul harrison is an excellent book about all aspects of world poverty.

i took a full semester class in college on third world poverty and overpopulation has always and continues to be caused by cultural
beliefs that make having more children desirable.

humans have long known that the number of children could be limited by astinence, coitus interruptis, later marriages, more people never marrying, and, sadly, infanticide. europe had a very fast growing population centuries ago and was able to bring down its birth rate without any modern methods. I am not implying that these forms of birth control are as effective as modern methods - they still
produce more children, but they do reduce family size compared to what we see in nations with very large families.

in many countries a woman's status is raised by having many children, sometimes by having 2 or more sons. women in ghana and ethiopia are still averaging 7 births per woman and a majority of the children will survive to have their own children. with 4 or 5 children surviving, you are doubling the population per generation, which is usually 20 or 30 years.

ethiopia has been advised by the west since the 1970's (and perhaps earlier) that the carrying capacity of their land, even with the most modern and costly farming methods (which are impractical for a poor country unless the rich countries plan to supply indefinitely)
cannot support further population growth. yet, their population has grown tremendously and continues to grow rapidly.

family planning programs sponsored by wealthy nations have been available around the world since before the 1970's. you can bring a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

of course, when at least one son and, preferably, two are highly desired, people often will keep having children until they get at least one son, even if they end up with 4, 5, or 6 kids. plenty of families will try to guarantee future support for the parents by continuing to have children until they have two sons. in that case, a first child being a boy may not limit family size much, unless the second is also a boy.

in india the tradition of needing sons is being somewhat lessened by modernization and more financial earning power among educated females.

secondly, in regards to the environment, the author wisely educates us that animals and hunter-gatherer can do a lot of environmental damage, contrary to the idea that only modern societies do so and that environmental damage is a modern phenomenon. he explains that, for both animals and humans, and individual exploiting the environment to increase its reproductive success and/or lessen that of another individual is acting from evolution. sometimes evolution is flawed in programming individuals to maximize their reproductive success and number of descendants while harming species overall with environmental damage. of course, nature is amoral and a species will starve and be reduced periodically.

where the author's opinions are flawed is in his complete belief in global warming in spite of scandal and questions in the last few years. the reason that he gives for replacing fossil fuels with solar, etc., is global warming. if there is no global warming, then why replace fossil fuels? also, he repeats the estimate that oil reserves in the world are at or past peak and running out, and that coal and natural gas are running out.

we don't know how much oil is left, but we have found more or found the price of oil now high enough to access oil that was too expensive to bother with earlier, such as shale oil in canada. there are probably unknown reserves all over the world, and we simply don't know without exploration. example: north dakota, u.s. and alaska.

the u.s. has an enormous supply of coal and natural gas that would last 250 years at current energy use rates.

one thing that isn't asked is how safe and non-polluting are alternative sources? electric cars need electricity often produced with coal or some other fossil fuel. same with ethanol, which may use more gasoline than it replaces and raises food prices that hurt the poor around the world.

how do we know solar is safe? until something is implemented on a large scale, you don't know everything about it. when they first started using gasoline i don't believe that they could have predicted the lead pollution that resulted from millions of cars. what are the solar panels made of? are the materials safe and non-polluting? how renewable are they? will the panels end up filling our garbage dumps with dangerous materials/chemicals? if every or most homes/buildings relied on solar panels, what unknown effect might that have? would the solar radiation leak from the panels or get concentrated close to the ground causing heat outside or over-exposure to radiation for us? solar radiation does cause cancer.

author also mentions hydrogen. i don't want to hear anymore about hydrogen. we don't have the technology, and assuming that it would only produce a little harmless water vapor is pollyanish. we may discover that there are problems there too.

we cannot create a utopia - not even an energy utopia. solving our energy problems is going to take being open minded enough to study all the consequences and be ready to cope with new problems. so we can do better, but not perfect, save the world.

finally, energy policies need to be about energy not redistributing income in another go at marxism. it never works. the rich countries gave about one trillion dollars just to africa in the 20th/21th century with no benefit overall. poor countries lack the governments and economic systems for prosperity. without strong protection of private property rights, why invest money, time, or effort in starting a little business or producing more? someone can easily steal what you produce. and cultural motives for overpopulation outstrip gains in income.