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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

3.48  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,067 Ratings  ·  191 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
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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by Perigee Trade (first published 2007)
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Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters by Alan S. MillerThe Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven PinkerSurvival of the Prettiest  by Nancy L. EtcoffIntelligence and How to Get It by Richard E. NisbettThe Origins of Political Order by Francis Fukuyama
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,324)
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Trevor
Mar 10, 2009 Trevor rated it did not like it
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
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Kelsey
Apr 23, 2008 Kelsey rated it did not like it
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
Feb 07, 2010 Jessica rated it did not like it
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
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Eric Walkingshaw
Jan 08, 2008 Eric Walkingshaw rated it it was ok
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
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Justė
Apr 03, 2016 Justė rated it it was amazing
Paprastai negrožinės literatūros neskaitau ir juo labiau jos neaprašinėju, bet reikėjo perskaityti kažką iš tų evoliucijos psichologijos knygų, o „Kodėl gražiems gimsta mergaitės“ pasirodė tikrai įdomi, tai kelias mintis brūkštelsiu.

Populiarioji psichologija skamba kažkaip ne kaip, viršelis iš tiesų irgi atrodo labai jau popsinis, jei tikiesi kažko visgi mokslinio. Bet kai psichologija nėra tavo sritis, o apie evoliucijos psichologiją išgirdai tik neseniai arba išvis nežinai, kas tai per daikta
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Cissa
Apr 30, 2010 Cissa rated it it was ok
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
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Justine
Dec 29, 2007 Justine rated it liked it
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
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Vinit Nayak
Sep 04, 2015 Vinit Nayak rated it did not like it
To understand and accept what the authors are trying to say, you have to be in a vacuum of evolutionary psychology principles and not let any other factors get in your thought process.

A few valid human behaviors around finding mates/striving for reproductive success are explained and then they are used over and over again to extrapolate other unrelated behaviors.
Women look for men who will provide adequate care and invest their time and resources in their children.
Men love sex. Also, men love
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Leah
Aug 24, 2008 Leah rated it it was amazing
I literally read this book in a day. It has tons of interesting tid-bits of information.
Rebecca
Oct 16, 2010 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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Kevin McAllister
Dec 26, 2007 Kevin McAllister rated it liked it
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
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Mya
Mar 16, 2016 Mya rated it did not like it
Congratulations, it's been a while since I gave one star to a book. Honestly if I could I would give this book a zero, not only are it's contents absurdly bad, but I see this info spewed to and fro everywhere like it is an ACTUAL FACT and damn, that is harmful.

This book though. This fucking book. I actually fail to believe it was written by tenured professors of well known universities. Working for the department of Psychology, what's more!
When people say "evolutionary psychology", I usually nar
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Troy Blackford
May 03, 2014 Troy Blackford rated it it was amazing
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.
Larry
May 26, 2014 Larry rated it it was amazing
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
Asenath
Jun 12, 2011 Asenath rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
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Bookish
Jul 02, 2012 Bookish rated it really liked it
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
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Nicholas
Jan 27, 2009 Nicholas rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrea Todd
Jan 26, 2016 Andrea Todd rated it liked it
I quickly read this book, as it is designed to be able to skip around. It is a very interesting sociological exploration of a variety of topics and how evolution has created preferences for men and women. Some great snippets to discuss especially around topics like why women desire a gift to cement a relationship. Men and how they make decisions. I would recommend this for someone who is interested in Sociocutural evolution and development.
Micah Smurthwaite
Sep 11, 2010 Micah Smurthwaite rated it did not like it
Shelves: psychology
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
Shane Moore
Nov 09, 2015 Shane Moore rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I was expecting to read something controversial and maybe challenging, but what I found was shallow, generalized, and often misleading. It was sensationalist, but the writing was dull. I'm not well educated with the field of Psychology, Biology, or Anthropology, so as a layman I was surprised by how many of the books arguments failed to convince me.

Here's, word for word, one of the most objectionable passages in the book:

"All men, criminal or not, are more or less the same. The ultimate reason
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Alan Wang
Dec 28, 2015 Alan Wang rated it really liked it
Evolutionary biology is certainly an interesting science and for me it’s interesting because it studies fundamental human nature. Overall I found the findings and hypotheses in this book intriguing even though they may not be highly substantiated from a scientific point of view:

Two Errors to Avoid
Naturalistic fallacy – leap from is to ought , the tendency to believe what is natural is good and what is, ought to be. For example, people are genetically different so they ought to be treated di
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Chrys
Jan 30, 2008 Chrys rated it it was ok
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
May 12, 2014 Michael Mangold rated it really liked it
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
Kiril
Aug 28, 2015 Kiril rated it liked it
I quite liked this book. I am satisfied with the explanations that evolutionary biology provides to a huge range of interesting and puzzling human features. I really liked various chapters in the book, and the explanations provided for so many issues, like sex differences in behavior. I was happy with the explanations of sex discrimination, which seems to be not really discrimination, but a reflection of our genetic differences in different sexes.

What I didn't like is the argumentative style whi
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Ian Pollock
Dec 18, 2013 Ian Pollock rated it liked it
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
Jan 20, 2008 Annie rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Jan 12, 2014 Wendy Yu rated it liked it
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
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Dkattean
May 15, 2014 Dkattean rated it liked it
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
T
Mar 05, 2014 T rated it liked it
Shelves: science, nonfiction
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
Sep 22, 2014 Sara rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
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
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The readers ... 2 16 Dec 18, 2012 07:05AM  
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