Mean Genes: From Sex to Money to Food, Taming Our Primal Instincts

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Perseus Publishing, 2000 - Science - 263 pages
7 Reviews
Short, sassy, and bold, Mean Genes uses a Darwinian lens to examine the issues that most deeply affect our lives: body image, money, addiction, violence, and the endless search for happiness, love, and fidelity. But Burnham and Phelan don't simply describe the connections between our genes and our behavior; they also outline steps that we can take to tame our primal instincts and so improve the quality of our lives.Why do we want (and do) so many things that are bad for us? We vow to lose those extra five pounds, put more money in the bank, and mend neglected relationships, but our attempts often end in failure. Mean Genes reveals that struggles for self-improvement are, in fact, battles against our own genes--genes that helped our cavewoman and caveman ancestors flourish but that are selfish and out of place in the modern world. Why do we like junk food more than fruit? Why is the road to romance so rocky? Why is happiness so elusive? What drives us into debt? An investigation into the biological nature of temptation and the struggle for control, Mean Genes answers these and other fundamental questions about human nature while giving us an edge to lead more satisfying lives.

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Review: Mean Genes: From Sex to Money to Food: Taming Our Primal Instincts

User Review  - Jt - Goodreads

It has a great introduction to human behaviours and possible reasons for them in our ancestry and evolution. Read full review

Review: Mean Genes: From Sex to Money to Food: Taming Our Primal Instincts

User Review  - Allison - Goodreads

A really interesting non-fiction about the evolution of our genes. The book presents the idea that some of our genes are predispositioned ( is that a word?), through evolution, to be a certain way. Interesting read. Read full review

Contents

Introduction Our toughest battles are with ourselves
1
THIN WALLETS AND FAT BODIES
15
Fat Please dont feed the humans
35
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

Terry Burnham is an economics professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where he studies the Darwinian origin of economic behaviors. He received a Ph.D. in business economics from Harvard in 1997. He has worked on Wall Street and is the co-founder of Progenics, a publicly traded biotechnology firm with promising treatments for cancer and AIDS. He studied chimpanzees in the African rainforest and drove a tank in the U.S. Marine Corps.Jay Phelan is a biology professor at UCLA. He received a Ph.D. in biology from Harvard in 1995, and master's and bachelor's degrees from Yale and UCLA. His main area of research is evolutionary genetics and aging. He has been featured on the BBC and on "Talk of the Nation" as well as in magazines and newspapers. An accomplished educator, he has received accolades and numerous awards for his teaching. Terry Burnham is an economics professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where he studies the Darwinian origin of economic behaviors. He received a Ph.D. in business economics from Harvard in 1997. He has worked on Wall Street and is the co-founder of Progenics, a publicly traded biotechnology firm with promising treatments for cancer and AIDS. He studied chimpanzees in the African rainforest and drove a tank in the U.S. Marine Corps.Jay Phelan is a biology professor at UCLA. He received a Ph.D. in biology from Harvard in 1995, and master's and bachelor's degrees from Yale and UCLA. His main area of research is evolutionary genetics and aging. He has been featured on the BBC and on "Talk of the Nation" as well as in magazines and newspapers. An accomplished educator, he has received accolades and numerous awards for his teaching.

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