Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex among Apes
The first edition of Frans de Waal's Chimpanzee Politics was acclaimed not only by primatologists for its scientific achievement but also by politicians, business leaders, and social psychologists for its remarkable insights into the most basic human needs and behaviors. Twenty-five years later, this book is considered a classic. Featuring a new preface that includes recen...more
In order to get a better idea of chimp group behavior than is possible with small numbers of chimps in zoos or living in people's home, they wanted to watch a sizable group. It's difficult to see all the interactions that occur in the wild. So, they put a group in a large enclos ...more
This book is at its strongest when chronicling events dispassionately and allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions about analogues to human behavior, and weaker when the author draws heavy handed explicit comparisons and ventures into sociological studies on human gender and hierarchy. The author references Machiavelli several times, and I think this book is well read in conjunctio ...more
The author, Frans de Waal, is a primatologist who for several years studied a colony of chimps in Arnhem zoo. Although studying them out of the wild like this is not an entirely natural setting, the zoo visitors are kept well back, and the chimps have been found to act very much like they do in the wild in most respects. In addition the setting allows them to be watched close up wi ...more
"Nikkie is the highest-ranking ape but he is completely dependent on Yeoren.
Luit is individually the most powerful. But when it comes to who can push
others aside, then Mama is the boss"
"[..] this would suggest that reciprocity among chimpanzees is governed by the
same sense of moral rightness and justice as it is among humans"
"When Aristotle referred to man as a political animal he could not know just
how near the mar ...more
If you are the boss, and you rule like a tyrant, watch your back. Someone is always ready to take you down.
Read this book and use his conclusions to modify your body language and establish alliances with others.
But in the end, I feel like the book may have been oversold. It was fascinating, but it wasn't anything that I hadn't read before. Maybe it was just a matter ...more
Chimpanzees are considered by many to be the species closest to ...more
Anyway, it's not quit ...more
The first part presents the story of the life of a chimpanzee colony. It's a light and engaging read as I was not expecting to discover that chimps have such a rich social life.
The second part is what got me hooked: the author analyzes the observation made in the first part. His hypotheses and ideas are so much more interesting because chimps are "our closest alive relatives".
Personally, I'll want to reread the chapter on Differences between the Sexes