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on 6 May 2002
Sense & Nonsense in fact makes complete sense and is a 'must read' for anyone looking for a clear, intelligent and often entertaining discussion of the different evolutionary perspectives taken to study human behaviour.
Laland & Brown successfully introduce the salient characteristics of the major schools of thought (covering human sociobiology, behavioural ecology, evolutionary psychology, memetics and gene-culture coevolution), managing to give a balanced account of each. I especially enjoyed learning how the different schools of thought themselves evolved, often from common roots to represent very juxtaposed ideas. Despite these differences, Laland & Brown do an admirable job of picking their way through the historical and political debris that have too often been the outcome of clashes between these camps, to pick out the biological sense from the nonsense of each tradition.
It is refreshing to read an apolitical review of a subject that concerns us all and becomes increasingly relevant as communication makes the world a smaller place where we are forced to face up to and appreciate our behavioural and cultural similarities and differences.
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on 7 May 2002
Finally, a clear account of the ways evolutionary theory has been used and abused to study human behaviour. This book will be especially welcomed by zoology, psychology and anthropology students struggling to come to terms with the claims of protagonists and critics of the various schools of thought on the study of human behaviour. By providing a balanced overview of each of these schools, Laland and Brown enable the reader to make informed decisions about issues that have been the subject of heated debate for many years. Highly recommended.
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on 27 August 2013
Academic books are rarely this interesting and easy to read.

This pretty much covers 5 different approaches to applying evolutionary theory to human behaviour. It is pretty broad in describing the approaches, but also gives many in-depth examples and critiques. Lots and lots of useful references here too.

This doesn't really cover evolutionary theory and doesn't cover in depth the theories proposed by the approaches, and is not really a text-book in this sense, but is a useful starting point for anyone interested in evolution and behaviour.
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on 11 November 2002
I had to read this book as I'd agreed to write a review for the journal Animal Behaviour. I'm very glad that I did so, or I may not have got round to reading what turned out to be an excellent clear account of evolutionary approaches to human behaviour. Five are considered in all, each clearly described and assessed in terms of strengths and weaknesses. There's also a good historical section, and a chapter synthesising all the material. The book is well-written, well-structured and flows along nicely. I'd recommend it to anyone who reads popular science books, to students, and to my colleagues, whom I've been e-mailing with recommendations.
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on 18 April 2015
Dense and academic.
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on 21 May 2003
A fascinating review of the current debate in the behavioural sciences emanating from classical sociobiology. It is rare to read such a balanced and thoughtful book in a field so full of contrasting views as the biology of behaviour in animals including ourselves.
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on 21 December 2002
This book provides an absolutely brilliant overview of many of the attempts of recent decades of biologists to advance the understanding of our own species: our weird psyche, our hypertrophied culture, our strange habits. Balanced, lucid and clear - one of the most interesting books I have read for a long long time
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on 26 September 2003
Personally, I was a little dissappointed by this book. I bought it because I wanted to get a general grasp of evolutionary aspects of human behaviour and am not mad keen on "popular science" books that tend be neither one thing nor the other. Although the concepts presented here were straightforward, I found the English almost unreadable in places and the same ground was covered time and again. I would quite like to have translated it into plain English, removed all the repetitions, and use the space to cover more background on evolution theory. That said, it was a well researched book and from the other reviews, it seems my needs are not typical.
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on 8 July 2003
Well, waht can I say but, not a bad read, try it for yourself - you might even like it!
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