Evolution of Desire
The most fascinating popular science book I've ever read
|von David M. Buss|
I once read that biological psychology was probably the most interesting topic in the world. After reading the Evolution of Desire, I strongly believe that evolutionary (not biological) psychology is, in fact, second to none.
It is just impossible to put down this book as it explains the reasons for how men-women interactions are the way they are. For those interested in the dynamics of human relationships between both sexes, whether commited relationships or casual sex, this book is the closest thing to heaven you can get.
The last chapter mercyless demolishes the arguments of feminists, social psychologists, and of all those left-wing social engineers who fight for how humans "ought to be" rather than looking at how nature has made them.
There is simply nothing better that has ever been written in the realm of popular science than this book.
A (mostly) fascinating sexual survey, vast in scope.
David M. Buss' Evolution of Desire is both brilliant and frustrating. The brilliance is that he has taken such a vast amount of data and managed to find some solid patterns in human mating behavior. The frustrating part is that the text borders slightly on both platitude and tautology. His main point is that males and females have different (and therefore incompatible) sexual strategies: men like variety, women like stability. This, however, has been known at least since the days of the Kinsey Report, and one might argue that it has been known for several thousand years. Buss also claims to explain sexuality by means of "evolutionary psychology." One might think that Buss is thereby challenging the behaviorists, the Skinnerians, by claiming that human behavior has a strong genetic (innate) factor, that the mind is not a tabula rasa at birth. But no, it turns out that that is not what Buss is saying. On the contrary, he believes that "human action is inexorably a mixture of both" (p. 17). Well, okay, that's fair enough. It would even be fair to say that present-day neurology is not sophisticated enough to separate the two. But if Buss is taking a stance that is neither "culture" nor "chromosome," then he is merely describing, not explaining. I am also leery of any book that ends by hitting the bull's eye with political correctness, which in 1994 (the book's pub date) was that fooling around is common and perhaps inevitable, but that a genuine and stable marriage is always the ideal (as opposed to the ten or twenty other political correctnesses of the late twentieth century). Having said all that, I do not mean to damn with faint praise by reiterating that the vast scope of his material makes the book both informative and entertaining. This book, like Matt Ridley's The Red Queen and Richard A. Posner's Sex and Reason, should by read by every serious student of human behavior.
Men are NOT from Mars!
Although this book easily classifies as a must in any library of evolutionary psychology, it also will offer a great deal of insight to the laymen on how human sexuality really works (and why) through clear cut comparisons with ancestral man an the entire animal kingdom. All of the studies and investigations that lead to the conclusions in this book are completely covered, leaving the reader with no doubt as to the source of these amzing behavioral discoveries. Wonder no more why men and women do the "things" they seem to do in practically every social situation. So whether you need information for a Masters Thesis or just want to know more about why we are what we are, this publication is the one.