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Mean Genes: From Sex to Money to Food: Taming Our Primal Instinctsby Terry Burnham
Synopses & Reviews
Short, sassy, and bold, Mean Genes uses a Darwinian lens to examine the issues that most deeply affect our lives: body image, money, addiction, violence, and the endless search for happiness, love, and fidelity. But Burnham and Phelan don't simply describe the connections between our genes and our behavior; they also outline steps that we can take to tame our primal instincts and so improve the quality of our lives.Why do we want (and do) so many things that are bad for us? We vow to lose those extra five pounds, put more money in the bank, and mend neglected relationships, but our attempts often end in failure. Mean Genes reveals that struggles for self-improvement are, in fact, battles against our own genes--genes that helped our cavewoman and caveman ancestors flourish but that are selfish and out of place in the modern world. Why do we like junk food more than fruit? Why is the road to romance so rocky? Why is happiness so elusive? What drives us into debt? An investigation into the biological nature of temptation and the struggle for control, Mean Genes answers these and other fundamental questions about human nature while giving us an edge to lead more satisfying lives.
Why our toughest battles are with ourselves.
Why do we want—and why do we do—so many things that are bad for us? And how can we stop? In Mean Genes economist Terry Burnham and biologist Jay Phelan offer advice on how to conquer our own worst enemy—our survival-minded genes. Having evolved in a time of scarcity, when our ancestors struggled to survive in the wild, our genes are poorly adapted to the convenience of modern society. They compel us to overeat, spend our whole paycheck, and cheat on our spouses. But knowing how they work, Burnham and Phelan show that we can trick these "mean genes" into submission and cultivate behaviors that will help us lead better lives. A lively, humorous guide to our evolutionary heritage, Mean Genes illuminates how we can use an understanding of our biology to beat our instincts—before they beat us.
About the Author
Terry Burnham is Associate Professor of Finance at Chapman University. He was formerly the Director of Economics at Acadian Asset Management and a research scientist at Harvard Universitys Program for Evolutionary Dynamics. He received a Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard in 1997, an MBA from MIT, a Masters in computer science, and a Bachelors in biophysics from the University of Michigan. Burnham has worked on Wall Street and co-founded Progenics, a biotechnology firm with promising treatments for cancer and AIDS. He has studied wild chimpanzees in Africa, and served with distinction as a tank driver in the U.S. Marine Corps. Burnham lives in Huntington Beach, California.
Jay Phelan is Professor of Biology at UCLA. He earned his Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard in 1995, and masters and bachelors degrees from Yale and UCLA. His main area of research is evolutionary genetics and aging. He has been featured on BBC and Talk of the Nation, as well as in magazines and newspapers. An accomplished educator, Phelan has received accolades and numerous awards for his teaching. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
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Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General