Sunday, May 31, 2009

Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters - Book 58

Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters
by Alan Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa

I haven't had this much fun reading AND discussing a book in a long time. And how can you not pick this book up given its title? Begin with the premise that humans are merely another animal with the same needs as any other species, so we are not special. When analyzing every behavior you come down to the basic quest, we are just trying to propagate the species, i.e. we just want to have sex (aka evolutionary psychology). So the authors have gotten metrics on all sorts of human actions and traits and then tried to explain them using the lens of evolutionary psychology.

Now this book just addresses the natural man so there is grains of truth to be found in all of it, but it totally ignores the spiritual man. So the book consists of a series of questions and their possible explanations using the latest research on the field. Remember just because it naturally happens doesn't make it good and just because something is good doesn't mean that is the way it is. The desparately try to just present things the way they are (i.e. that is what the statistics tell us) and leave out any judgements. So the text is not politically correct at all - Why do women get paid less? They want less.

Psychology Today has a great article online which discusses 10 of their questions if you want a taste.

The midlife crisis is a myth—sort of
Many believe that men go through a midlife crisis when they are in middle age. Not quite. Many middle-aged men do go through midlife crises, but it's not because they are middle-aged. It's because their wives are. From the evolutionary psychological perspective, a man's midlife crisis is precipitated by his wife's imminent menopause and end of her reproductive career, and thus his renewed need to attract younger women. Accordingly, a 50-year-old man married to a 25-year-old woman would not go through a midlife crisis, while a 25-year-old man married to a 50-year-old woman would, just like a more typical 50-year-old man married to a 50-year-old woman. It's not his midlife that matters; it's hers. When he buys a shiny-red sports car, he's not trying to regain his youth; he's trying to attract young women to replace his menopausal wife by trumpeting his flash and cash.

Mormon Mentions: None because they avoid pointing fingers at any one group, but their fascinating discussion about polygamy versus monogamy is a hair's breadth away from it.

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