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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting research, marred by excruciating writing style, 31 July 2013
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This review is from: What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire (Kindle Edition)
I ordered this book on the basis of an interesting review in a prominent English Sunday newspaper. Wanting to read more, it was easily downloaded and that was probably a mistake. As highlighted in the review, the actual research by the various scientists which forms the subject matter of this book is extremely fascinating, and deserves, not only more funding but a wider audience and the author’s slightly perfunctory examination of why it has had neither could have been expanded to make a much more interesting book.

This, however, is not my principle objection to what would have been a really interesting read. Having to read past the annoying ‘new journalism’ (surely, by now Old Journalism and with none of, say Tom Wolfe’s panache) was a chore. Descriptions of the individual scientist’s personal appearances and office spaces and the experimental subjects’ tedious sexual fantasies have clearly been included to literally ‘sex-up’ what the publishers obviously feared might otherwise turn into a dry tome. The are very distracting and in my opinion this strategy had precisely the opposite effect. As the author points out, this research is at best ‘fringe’ for respectable, academic peer review, and whilst it may be of considerable interest to the pharmaceutical industry, the opportunity to simply re-brand an existing product for it’s side effects as in the case of Viagra, occurring again is expecting lightening to strike twice in the same place. As the book makes clear, this is a much more complex; less mechanistic system for psycho-chemical tinkering and the interests for either interference or non-interference are equally myriad and complex. Bergner, has, however, in my opinion, done no end of disservice to his subject matter by dumbing it down to the level of a soft-core, airline pot-boiler and the scientists whose earnest and serious work has formed the material of the book, will see themselves further trivialised and marginalised as a result of its publication. Although it is in no way intended as an academic text, it is also missing any kind of intelligent critique of the research methodology and the conclusions drawn there-from, except that paraphrased from the participating researchers. This was another missed opportunity.

I realise that I was perhaps expecting too much and that if a pleasant diversion from say, a morning commute, is required, then this book will do as well as anything else.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Sep 2013 22:29:11 BDT
I pretty much agree with the reviewer's criticism of the book's style, but I think it a bit harsh to say the book 'dumbs down' the research on which it is based, and I did not feel it trivialised the research. But for a book reporting scientific research to have not one statistic, graph, diagram or illustration left me frustrated.
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