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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 WeDo
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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 WeDo

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  808 ratings  ·  160 reviews
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...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by Perigee Trade (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,604)
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Trevor
It is with good reason that I ought to agree with the conclusions of this book – I have two daughters and no sons. I have never really thought of myself as beautiful and so it would have been nice to have objective proof of my beauty.

Unfortunately, and despite my unequivocal reward in accepting this hypothesis, I can’t bring myself to accept Evolutionary Psychology and its wonderful claims.

I do tend to believe in serendipity though – and the fact Manny and I were talking about this recently on m...more
Kelsey
This book is utter dribble. In fact the more I think about it, the more it infuriates me because it disguises Western-centric racism as "science". Granted, I think I've questioned the validity of evolutionary psychology since reading Buss in FP, but this book simply served to confrim all my suspicions. It tackles such burning questions as: Why does everyone like blondes best? (it's because blond hair indicates youth, and men seek youth so that they can be sure of finding the most fertile women t...more
Jessica
You know how when you read a really good nonfiction book, you come away with a sense of exhilaration, a feeling that the world is a little clearer, a little richer than it was before?

Now imagine starting to read a book on evolutionary psychology, getting a bit of that feeling, then reaching the middle of the book and realizing that the authors have been cheating you the entire time.

That's WHY BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE HAVE MORE DAUGHTERS in a nutshell. The authors sound great for a while, but then they'l...more
Eric Walkingshaw
Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters is essentially a pop introduction to evolutionary psychology. The first chapter provides an overview of the field. Subsequent chapters tackle various domains of human nature by posing seemingly controversial statements, then supporting them with evolutionary psychology.

This book could have been huge fun--the topic is fascinating and the format works well for what it is--but it ends up failing, in my eyes, for the following reasons:

The writing is simple, b...more
Justine
Dec 29, 2007 Justine rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Nerdy folk like me.
So those who know me know that I like to redux things to mammoth hunting. AKA: boys can't multi-task because in the time of the mammoth all they needed to do was kill the mammoth....
whereas women had to skin the mammoth, turn its meat over the spit, watch the children to make sure they didn't walk into fiery pit over which said mammoth was roasting, and I don't know, erect a tent or something.

Well lo and behold, here's a book that does it with scientific backing. Taking the basic premise of evo...more
Cissa
This was a very silly book. Lots of footnotes, but the author (only one of the co-authors actually wrote it) would have done well to study a bit of formal logic to avoid some really basic errors in the cause-and-effect relationship.

For one thing, just because 2 things are statistically related does not imply causality at all, let along a particular one. "A" might cause "B"; "B" might cause "A"; both might be caused by "C", etc. Jumping from relationship to a specific causality was done consisten...more
Rebecca
Fascinating topic, stilted lecture-hall writing. And the big reveal to the big question of the title? Why do we do what we do? Sex. The end. But one word would not a book make, so they authors listed lots of scenarios where they could reiterate the answer. Why the violence in the middle east? Why more women at church? Why so many girls enrolled in travel abroad, so many boys at white-supremacy rallies? All one answer. S-E-...

Another nag: the authors' imagination seemed to fail their research que...more
Kevin
Why do beautiful people have more daughters ? Simply put, evolution helps pass on their genes in the most efficient way possible. According to evolutionary psychologists being attractive is the single most important factor determining a woman's reproductive success. Therefore this is the trait most apt to be passed on to females.
The book poses lots of interesting questions, but the book's flaw is that the answer to all of them boils down to the same thing : Sex.
Take for example this passage

"A...more
Leah
I literally read this book in a day. It has tons of interesting tid-bits of information.
Asenath
I rate this book so highly not because I agree with all the ideas put forth in this book, but for the manner in which it was written. I won't lie--I have a hard time getting through most non-fiction books. I get bored about half way through and abandon them for more fast paced fantasy novels. But this book not only kept my interest, it made me think.

The argument of the book is that humans, like all other lifeforms on Earth, have evolved throughout the ages. We are not "blank slates" but are subj...more
Nicholas
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Troy Blackford
This is a great book on evolutionary psychology. Maybe not the greatest book on the topic I've ever read, but there are all too few books on the topic and this one is very welcome. Posed in a 'question and answer' format, you'll get through this one all too quickly as the brisk prose and fascinating subject matter make it seem shorter than it actually is.
Micah Smurthwaite
Evolutionary Psychology is a psuedoscience at best. While the ideas are challenging and interesting, the scholarship is so bogus that it's hard to take seriously. Conjectures without empirical support makes for arguments that are like the ones I have with my boys during halftime of a niners game. E.G. "The male penis has evolved into its current shape in order to shovel out other male sperm and assure the man of his paternity." Thesis by phDs backed by empirical data and isolated variables or co...more
Larry
It has been a very long time since I read a book that made me think as much as this one. It is for that reason that I'm giving it 5 stars. I did not agree with much of the book and found it maddening at times to see just how much the authors had to stretch to make this theory (evolutionary psychology) explain certain things. However, the reader simply needs to remember that evolutionary psychology is just that - a theory. The purpose of the theory is to describe, explain, and predict behavior. T...more
Chrys
I checked this out from the library b/c I was intrigued by the title. (Good job naming this book.) It is written by evolutionary psychologists so that gives you an idea of where it's going. It was somewhat thought-provoking and fascinating but also silly. The main idea is that we are driven by impulses in our genetic makeup and that b/c of the "Savanna Principal" we don't know what to do with situations that did not exist in the ancestral environment.
Michael Mangold
Why are women more likely to lighten their hair rather than darken it? Is it merely social convention, or is there an evolutionary cause? Kanazawa posits that as ancestral populations migrated to colder climates and covered up, lighter hair color evolved as a means of advertising a woman’s youth, as blond hair typically darkens with age. This didn’t happen for all human populations, but it did for Europeans, and cultural artifacts demonstrate that European women were lightening their hair millen...more
Ian Pollock
A fun, well written book. Better for raising surprising claims than convincing one of them; the titular claim is backed up by a paper written by the author that, upon googling, I found not terribly convincing. Still, a decent introduction to evopsych-style thinking for laypeople.
Annie
This book might be a bunch of hooey, but there are definitely some thought-provoking ideas here. I would not recommedn this book for people who actually believe everything that they read, but if you like to think, and entertain possibilities, you might enjoy this one.
Wendy Yu
The book reads like a evolutionary psychology version of Sex and the City. It uses Buss's Error Management Theory to explain why men overestimate interest from women and women underestimate interest from men. Does this also explain why men tend to ask women out on dates, not the other way around? Other questions to ponder follows.

1. Did women become smaller than men to mature earlier, hence compete earlier, in a polygynous society?

2. In the US, the strongest predicator of remarriage is sex: men...more
Dkattean
The basic premise of this book is that all human behavior can be explained by the conditions present in the ancestral environment. The authors apply this framework to everything from pornography to foreign travel to Monica Lewinsky. The conclusions drawn are at times counterintuitive and even uncomfortable - which may explain other readers' distaste for the content. (It's important to read the introduction and the first two chapters before diving into the "meat" of the book.) Nonetheless, they m...more
Taylor
This book offers several good hypotheses for explaining human behavior, but I think its real value is in the introductory chapters explaining evolutionary psychology and the different fallacies social scientists often fall into (the naturalist and moralistic fallacies).

At least half of the hypotheses are not fully fleshed out. They tend to rely on one or two studies to bolster a tenuous hypotheses and do not fully develop the causal mechanism. (For instance, the writers hypothesize that all men...more
Sara
This drove me nuts. On the one hand, I love reading about the results of modern psych experiments, but on the other hand, when a convenient theory to explain the mechanism behind the answer is presented that fits with an evolutionary psychologist's way of looking at the world, the authors of this book at no point seem to entertain the possibility that their theory is wrong. That, combined with what really seemed like endless, gleeful and unnecessary attacks on feminism (feminism is based on marg...more
Alisi ☆ needs to stop starting new books ☆
Let me save you some time and describe what this book is about in one sentence: women are at the root of all problems.

I'm so not exaggerating. The authors even claim that the fact that more men are involved in family life is the reason why science has slowed down. They're only too happy to whip out statistics to prove this. Men spent much less time with the family a hundred years ago and look at all they accomplished. Now compare them to today's men.

Of course, they don't mention that the field w...more
Jasmine Richard
First off, let me just say that I minored in psychology for my undergrad and I took a wide variety of classes including evolutionary psych, psychology of the supernatural, and abnormal psych among others. It's so very entertaining and interesting to think about and analyze human and animal behaviors and the role this plays in history and the human condition.

This book was entertaining but had a lot of shortcomings. If you're interested in evolutionary psych, cultural anthropology, and topics lik...more
David Peters
I haven't had this much fun reading AND discussing a book in a long time. And how can you not pick this book up given its title? Begin with the premise that humans are merely another animal with the same needs as any other species, so we are not special. When analyzing every behavior you come down to the basic quest, we are just trying to propagate the species, i.e. we just want to have sex (aka evolutionary psychology). So the authors have gotten metrics on all sorts of human actions and traits...more
Jennifer
First of all, this book really infuriated me. I saw the book at my annual book sale and had to pick it up. Every once in a while, I like to read scientific-y books to expand my brain. Personally, I have never liked Psychology, and it looks like I never will. First of all, one of the authors was deceased before the publication of this book. Some of the examples were dated with pop culture references, so it made me wonder how long the authors tried working on this book before it was able to be pub...more
Holly
I read this book as a sort of companion for my Psych 101 class. I was writing a paper on Evolutionary Psychology so I listened to this book and worked on my paper. It explained an interesting branch of psychology. The more research I did for the paper, the more I realized this book is a great basis for anyone interested in evolutionary psychology. All of the information in this book grazes the tops of everything that is being studied for evolutionary psychology - and occasionally a little bit ex...more
James
There was some interesting theories as to the reasons people behave in certain ways. I'm not certain I agree with all of their conclusions or their sometimes massive jumps in deductive logic, but it was fascinating to hear another perspective on human behavior.

One thing that I thought about when listening to this book is how we are taught that the natural man is an enemy of God. This would seem to make sense from the perspective of this book. Evolutionary psychology indicates that our tendencies...more
Michael Arden
In the social sciences, the question always comes up whether nature or nurture plays a more important role in why people behave as they do. For evolutionary psychologists like the authors of this provocative book, the answer comes down firmly on the side of nature. That's because evolutionary psychologists basically believe people act as we do because we are still hard-wired to survive on the savannah ten thousand years ago. In their view everything men and women do, often at the subconscious le...more
Stephanie D.
If you're simply dipping your toes in evolutionary psychology, Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters is the perfect cursory starter book to stoke your curiosity. To get the most out of this book, however, you have to check notions of political correctness before reading or else most of the theories will make your blood boil.

Evolutionary psychology is "the study of human nature" as it pertains to "evolved psychological adaptations." Basically, how modern humans act and our motivations as a pro...more
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The readers ... 2 15 Dec 18, 2012 07:05AM  
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