- Taschenbuch: 272 Seiten
- Verlag: Penguin Books (1. September 2001)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0142000078
- ISBN-13: 978-0142000076
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 19,3 x 12,7 x 1,5 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 399.200 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
- Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen
Mean Genes: From Sex to Money to Food: Taming Our Primal Instincts (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. September 2001
|Neu ab||Gebraucht ab|
Wird oft zusammen gekauft
Kunden, die diesen Artikel gekauft haben, kauften auch
Es wird kein Kindle Gerät benötigt. Laden Sie eine der kostenlosen Kindle Apps herunter und beginnen Sie, Kindle-Bücher auf Ihrem Smartphone, Tablet und Computer zu lesen.
Geben Sie Ihre Mobiltelefonnummer ein, um die kostenfreie App zu beziehen.
Wenn Sie dieses Produkt verkaufen, möchten Sie über Seller Support Updates vorschlagen?
"Don't trust your instincts." Hardly the standard self-help fare, to be sure. Arguing that Darwin has a lot more to tell us about ourselves than Freud, Mean Genes is high on evolution and low on inner child. Deemed "brilliant" by E.O. Wilson himself, the book is the work of two young Wilson disciples: Terry Burnham, an economics professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and Jay Phelan, a professor of biology at UCLA.
Burnham and Phelan divide life issues into 10 categories (debt, fat, drugs, risk, greed, gender, beauty, infidelity, family, and friends and foes), and then offer a two-step guide to better living. "Step 1 is to understand our animal nature, particularly those desires that get us into trouble and can lead to unhappiness. Step 2 is to harness this knowledge so that we can tame our primal instincts."
Needless to say, Nancy Reagan-esque bromides don't fit into the Mean Genes scheme of things:
"Just say no" to drugs is the simplest way to kick a habit. Unfortunately, this obvious and low-cost approach is also the route most likely to fail. For example, only one person quits smoking for every twenty who attempt to just say no. Raw willpower seems like a great solution right up until weakness strikes and we light up a cigarette or mix a margarita.
Instead of slogans, the Mean Genes approach to overcoming drug addiction is to first recognize that "every person has strong, instinctual cravings for destructive substances." This, coupled with a thorough scientific understanding of a given drug's pleasurable effects on the brain, offers a more realistic course of action, such as finding a less harmful substitute for achieving a similar buzz.
Be it talk of weight loss, saving for retirement, or resisting the neighbor's wife, such practical, tough-love suggestions for subduing the beast within are provided throughout the book. Phelan describes how he instantly smears mayonnaise all over tempting sweets served with airline meals to keep from eating them during long flights, and Burnham writes of giving away his Internet access cable in order to free himself of a serious day-trading fixation.
The authors also rely heavily on findings from the animal world in stating their case, which makes for fascinating reading, if not always for readily transferable lessons to daily life. Consider, for example, certain frog species that "continue individual bouts of mating for several months. If people mated for a similar percentage of our lives, a single round of intercourse would last almost ten years." And then there's the famed black widow spider. "Shunning the more traditional chastity belt, the male breaks off his sexual organ inside the female, preventing her from ever mating again. When the act is completed, the female kills and eats the male."
Put off by all the sex and violence? Don't worry. There's also a nod to family values in the form of the Australian social spider. "Soon after giving birth to about a hundred hungry spiderlings, Mom's body literally liquefies into a pile of mushy flesh. The babies then munch on the flesh so they can start their lives with full bellies." Mean genes, indeed. --Patrick Jennings
"The Mean Genes message is optimistic...a self-help book for the merely average human being." The Washington Post Book World
"An unusual cross between a social Darwinist monograph and a self-help manual." The New YorkerAlle Produktbeschreibungen
Welche anderen Artikel kaufen Kunden, nachdem sie diesen Artikel angesehen haben?
Derzeit tritt ein Problem beim Filtern der Rezensionen auf. Bitte versuchen Sie es später noch einmal.
The book starts from the perspective of what it took for humans to flourish in the past when food was scarce and life was very dangerous. Under those trying conditions, certain genetic tendencies would have aided survival. The authors argue that much of our behavior is still driven to reflect that environment, rather than this modern one. They cite scientific studies about humans and animals to support these points. My only complaint about the book is that they write as though genes have brains and "plot" their survival. As I understand evolutionary biology, actually genes survive automatically that happen to best fit the person for the environment that exists.
The picture that is presented is of people who were normally operating close to starvation, but occasionally had huge windfalls of food that they could not preserve. What was reasonable behavior? Eat all you could, and share the rest hoping that someone would do the same for you in the future. The authors see this as the basis of much of our overeating, and our tendency to do reciprocal favors for one another.
The book looks at sexual attraction, mating, and marriage from the perspective of ways that the next generation will have the most genes reproduced from one parent with the least effort.
Abuse of substances is related to the pleasure centers in the brain that we cannot apparently stimulate enough to satisfy ourselves.
Problems with gambling are related to poor calculation skills and the desire for a hit from the brain's pleasure center.
Those who like to see us as reasoning, ethical, social beings will probably find the arguments skewed . . . as they are. That does not mean, however, that they are irrelevant. It just means that they are incomplete.
The basic advice is to create circumstances that will make it difficult to work against your own best interests. For example, control your spending by keeping a stack of green cash for what you can afford to spend each month for each purpose. Cut up the credit cards, and forget borrowing for most purposes. Pay yourself first, and make it hard to get access to those savings. Lots of finance books offer this advice, but Mean Genes will give you a better sense of why it often works.
For overeating, the book basically suggests being sure that you never enter a situation where you could overeat without being somewhat full. On the way to the big feast, the authors suggest eating three bagels. Or if desserts get you, spread something awful on them at the beginning of the meal (mayonnaise is suggested for airline desserts).
For drugs (whether nicotine or heroin), the only alternative seems to be never to try them or to use a less harmful substitute (a nicotine patch or methadone).
A lot of overwork comes from insatiable greed. That can be overcome by finding other activities (other than work and making money) that make you feel constantly more successful. Perhaps writing book reviews here could be one such substitute.
By now, I suspect you get the idea. The book investigates debt, fat, drugs, risk, greed, gender differences, beauty, infidelity, family, and friends/enemies in very revealing ways. Personally, I found the chapter on risk to be the most interesting. I didn't realize that a lot of my behavior in this area is part of a common genetic pattern.
One of the great barriers to human progress is our tendency to act in ways counter to our own best interests through unconscious habits. I think this is one of the best books I have read for helping to surface those unconscious habits, explaining why they occur, and providing useful suggests to bust those stalls. Well done!
After you read this book, I suggest sitting down immediately to write down those areas where the book applies to you, and what strategies make sense for you to adopt to overcome the behavioral weaknesses you have. In my case, I will be riding a lot more roller coasters.
Decide what's best, rather than reaching automatically for what feels good.
Möchten Sie weitere Rezensionen zu diesem Artikel anzeigen?