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On Human Nature [Paperback]

Edward O Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

22 Oct 2004
In his new Preface E.O. Wilson reflects on how he came to write this book: how The Insect Societies led him to write Sociobiology, and how the political and religious uproar that engulfed that book persuaded him to write another book that would better explain the relevance of biology to the understanding of human behavior.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; 2nd Revised edition edition (22 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674016386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674016385
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 16.2 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 338,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Wilson is a sophisticated and marvelously humane writer. His vision is a liberating one, and a reader of this splendid book comes away with a sense of the kinship that exists among the people, animals, and insects that share the planet. New Yorker Compellingly interesting and enormously important...The most stimulating, the most provocative, and the most illuminating work of nonfiction I have read in some time. -- William McPherson Washington Post Book World A work of high intellectual daring...Here is an accomplished biologist explaining, in notably clear and unprevaricating language, what he thinks his subject now has to offer to the understanding of man and society...The implications of Wilson's thesis are rather considerable, for if true, no system of political, social, religious or ethical thought can afford to ignore it. -- Nicholas Wade New Republic Twenty-five years after its first publication, Harvard University Press has re-released Edward O. Wilson's classic work, On Human Nature. A double Pulitzer Prize winner, Wilson is a writer of effortless grace and stylish succinctness and this is one of his finest, most important books...[A] highly influential, elegantly written book. -- Robin McKie The Observer 20041219 A seminal, groundbreaking, informative, thought-provoking, enduringly valuable, and highly recommended read. Bookwatch 20050301

From the Author

Nice book I wrote
In this book I tried to expand the horizons of the readers to new perspectives on how the biological nature of humans affect their behavior. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can change your view of human nature 30 Sep 2006
Format:Paperback
In this book Wilson considers how various aspects of human nature can be explained by evolution. The book changed my world view more than any other I've read. Unfortunately it's written in a rather inaccessible style - Wilson seems to prefer to use an obscure word when there's a perfectly good alternative that won't require you to reach for the dictionary. He also allows himself to vier off the subject he was discussing at times. But don't let this put you off - the content is worth it.

If someone is strongly critical of this book I would suspect them of being a religious fundamentalist (one topic discussed is religious belief) and/or having a poor ability to understand science.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Important Book 26 Jun 2006
By Hectorg
Format:Paperback
Alan Michael Forrester seems to completely misunderstand the genetic basis for behaviour in his review. The mechanisms that cause XYY men to end up in prison more often than normal men are completely irrelevant - the simple fact that they do is enough to show that variation between people at the genetic level contributes to variation in their behaviour.

Edward Wilson was one of the key scientists and most important intellectuals in the development of the "new sciences of Human Nature" (as Steven Plinker calls the social and biological sciences that relate to human nature), and this is an important book in that development.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic in the subject 4 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The book is well written, interesting and quite often surprising. It does include a lot of common sense, but it is also written in a manner that sticks to the pages.

Obviously considering the year of publication (1978), there are some old examples such as outdated comparison to a future computer power or description of tattooing as 'body mutilation' being 'substitute for aggression'. Nevertheless these outdated examples support the whole point of the book - the evolution of many cultural aspects and not just the biology.

E.O. Wilson presents a very interesting explanations for many human phenomena and compares the human behaviours to these of other species. He shows that the culture and the society, its perceptions and social moods, are mostly elongation of the biological evolution. His examples are well-referenced, explained and surprising. Easy and non-technical read.

This classic book is strongly recommended to everyone interested in human behaviour, instincts and the answer to the nature-nurture debate.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 'The Evolution Myth' 28 Mar 2011
By anozama
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The ability of science to explain phenomena previously only accounted for philosophically is well established and unstoppable. Wilson's field - the biology of social species - is one of the areas where this tendency has proved particularly dramatic.

In this book he makes a compelling case to accept that the scientific paradigm of evolutionary biology has now invaded sociology and philosophy so profoundly that these disciplines can now be regarded as contiguous, indeed fused.

Notwithstanding the inevitable limits to science, beyond which the speculative and the intuitive must prevail, Wilson's case is irresistable : `The evolutionary epic is probably the best myth we will ever have'.

The implication is that its importance will continue to grow; and, as it does so, more of the arts' territory will become science's.

Written over thirty years ago, the work remains an absolute classic
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