Eduardo's Reviews > The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life

The Folly of Fools by Robert Trivers
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's review
Jan 07, 13

bookshelves: biology, psychology
Read from December 10, 2012 to January 07, 2013

Having read and studied widely in animal behavior/sociobiology since college, I was already aware of Trivers' work in the field. Having read several books about denial and related ideas in psychology, I thought this book would be a great embodiment of the overlapping area of that Venn diagram. Trivers has been thinking and writing about this stuff for years. This should be good, right?

I couldn't do it. Couldn't will myself to keep going. I am calling it quits after four chapters. Why?

I felt like he was using the more recent work of others as an excuse to rehash his own old work. While such a premise can work because newer work can strengthen previous hypotheses, I feel that Trivers was not very successful at relating his work to the work of others.

I found the book to be very disjointed, like each chapter is a loosely-related collection of vignettes but that the vignettes are too disparate to create any type of cogency.

Lastly, I found Trivers' occasional interjections of personal anecdotes that describe his own inappropriate or questionable behavior to be very off-putting.

Ultimately, my inability to follow the book's thread, however thin it was, removed any enjoyment of the book and led me to stop reading it. I found myself putting more energy into thinking about the perceived shortcomings than into the narrative. That was when I decided to move on to another book.
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