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Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?: And Other Reflections on Being Human

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Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?: And Other Reflections on Being Human Cover

ISBN13: 9780374532925
ISBN10: 0374532923
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Why do testicles hang the way they do? Is there an adaptive function to the female orgasm? What does it feel like to want to kill yourself? Does "free will" really exist? And why is the penis shaped like that anyway?

In Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?, the research psychologist and award-winning columnist Jesse Bering features more than thirty of his most popular essays from Scientific American and Slate, as well as two new pieces, that take readers on a bold and captivating journey through some of the most taboo issues related to evolution and human behavior. Exploring the history of cannibalism, the neurology of people who are sexually attracted to animals, the evolution of human body fluids, the science of homosexuality, and serious questions about life and death, Bering astutely covers a generous expanse of our kaleidoscope of quirks and origins.

With his characteristic irreverence and trademark cheekiness, Bering leaves no topic unturned or curiosity unexamined, and he does it all with an audaciously original voice. Whether you're interested in the psychological history behind the many facets of sexual desire or the evolutionary patterns that have dictated our current mystique and phallic physique, Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? is bound to create lively discussion and debate for years to come.

Review:

"Bering, a research psychologist, columnist for ScientificAmerican.com, and contributor to Slate and NPR, gathers 30 eclectic essays from Scientific American and Slate that address numerous human activities, such as human sexuality, with an evolutionary spin. He explains, among others, why men masturbate (to expel older sperm that might have less power to impregnate than newer sperm); the prevalence of sexual fantasies ('everyone tends to imagine someone — or something — else when they are having sex with their partner'); the evolutionary advantages of premature ejaculation; and the relationship between a woman's orgasms and her partner's status and looks. Bering is often personal, and always takes a wry approach to his topics, but despite the inherent prurient interest that invariably attaches to human sexuality, he is a rationalist and his insights and opinions are always supported by science. And he isn't all about sex: his essays tackle the 'adaptive' aspect of suicide, the penchant for believing Christians to contribute more to charity on Sundays than on other days, and even free will. These entertaining essays offer a cornucopia of ideas that will reward readers with hours of conversational gambits. Agent: Peter Tallack, the Science Factory. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"If David Sedaris were an experimental psychologist, he'd be writing essays very much like these. Bering's unique blend of scientific knowledge, sense of humor, intellectual courage, and pure literary skill is immediately recognizable; no one writes quite the way Bering does. Read this book. You'll learn, laugh, and then learn some more." Christopher Ryan, co-author of the New York Times bestseller Sex at Dawn

Review:

"Jesse Bering is the Hunter S. Thompson of science writing, and he is a delight to read — funny, smart, and madly provocative. Paul Bloom, Professor, Yale University, and author of How Pleasure Works

Review:

"Jesse Bering is the intellectual spawn of Helen Fisher and Oliver Sacks, and Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? is brainy, informative, compassionate — and hilariously naughty." Amy Dickinson, New York Times bestselling author and NPR personality

Review:

"Anyone interested in reading about the latest developments in sex research told with a generous dose of self-deprecating humor will enjoy this essay collection." Library Journal

Review:

"Nothing sacred is spared in Jesse Bering's deft, rivetingly informative, and relentlessly hilarious new book. Bering's addictive curiosity and wry, dexterous humor make this a collection that's as funny as it is impossible to put down." Violet Blue, award-winning author and sex educator

Review:

"Bering has an uncanny way with words, an incisive capacity for logical thinking, and a stunning talent for breathing new life and enthusiasm into science." Gordon Gallup

Synopsis:

Why do testicles hang the way they do? Is there an adaptive function to the female orgasm? What does it feel like to want to kill yourself? Does “free will” really exist? And why is the penis shaped like that anyway?

     In Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?, the research psychologist and award-winning columnist Jesse Bering features more than thirty of his most popular essays from Scientific American and Slate, as well as two new pieces, that take readers on a bold and captivating journey through some of the most taboo issues related to evolution and human behavior. Exploring the history of cannibalism, the neurology of people who are sexually attracted to animals, the evolution of human body fluids, the science of homosexuality, and serious questions about life and death, Bering astutely covers a generous expanse of our kaleidoscope of quirks and origins. 

     With his characteristic irreverence and trademark cheekiness, Bering leaves no topic unturned or curiosity unexamined, and he does it all with an audaciously original voice. Whether youre interested in the psychological history behind the many facets of sexual desire or the evolutionary patterns that have dictated our current mystique and phallic physique, Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? is bound to create lively discussion and debate for years to come.

About the Author

Jesse Bering, Ph.D. is a scholar-in-residence at Wells College. He is a regular columnist on the Scientific American website and a frequent contributor to Slate, and he has been featured on NPR, Playboy Radio, the BBC, in the Economist, New Scientist, the Atlantic, and more. He is the author of The Belief Instinct. He lives in Ithaca, New York.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

abeck01, August 5, 2012 (view all comments by abeck01)
What a delicious surprise! Jesse Bering, Ph.D., a frequent contributor to Scientific American and an evolutionary psychologist, delivers a cheeky but science-based look at a variety of quirky subjects that many of us have been curious about but have, ahem, cough, um, er, been reluctant to share outside of our consciousness. Among the subjects he tackles with good humor from an evolutionary perspective include premature ejaculation, why humans are the only species to masturbate, why public hair has different characteristics than other body hair, the shocking contents of human semen and their evolutionary purposes, why only humans get acne, the roots of teenage behavior and the deep brain origins of fetishes. The book is funny, affirming and very easily understood, and should appeal to a lay reader interested in the evolutionary patterns of human sexual response and gender roles. He also somewhat somberly explores the notion of suicide and questions whether or not it could be a genetic adaptation. Yes, this is another book that explores and furthers recent brain research that questions the role of free will and consciousness.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780374532925
Author:
Bering, Jesse
Publisher:
Scientific American
Subject:
Evolution
Subject:
Neuropsychology
Subject:
Anthropology - General
Subject:
Life Sciences - Evolution
Subject:
Health and Medicine-Medical Specialties
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20120731
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
6 CDs, 7 hours
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?: And Other Reflections on Being Human Used Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux - English 9780374532925 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Bering, a research psychologist, columnist for ScientificAmerican.com, and contributor to Slate and NPR, gathers 30 eclectic essays from Scientific American and Slate that address numerous human activities, such as human sexuality, with an evolutionary spin. He explains, among others, why men masturbate (to expel older sperm that might have less power to impregnate than newer sperm); the prevalence of sexual fantasies ('everyone tends to imagine someone — or something — else when they are having sex with their partner'); the evolutionary advantages of premature ejaculation; and the relationship between a woman's orgasms and her partner's status and looks. Bering is often personal, and always takes a wry approach to his topics, but despite the inherent prurient interest that invariably attaches to human sexuality, he is a rationalist and his insights and opinions are always supported by science. And he isn't all about sex: his essays tackle the 'adaptive' aspect of suicide, the penchant for believing Christians to contribute more to charity on Sundays than on other days, and even free will. These entertaining essays offer a cornucopia of ideas that will reward readers with hours of conversational gambits. Agent: Peter Tallack, the Science Factory. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "If David Sedaris were an experimental psychologist, he'd be writing essays very much like these. Bering's unique blend of scientific knowledge, sense of humor, intellectual courage, and pure literary skill is immediately recognizable; no one writes quite the way Bering does. Read this book. You'll learn, laugh, and then learn some more."
"Review" by , "Jesse Bering is the Hunter S. Thompson of science writing, and he is a delight to read — funny, smart, and madly provocative.
"Review" by , "Jesse Bering is the intellectual spawn of Helen Fisher and Oliver Sacks, and Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? is brainy, informative, compassionate — and hilariously naughty."
"Review" by , "Anyone interested in reading about the latest developments in sex research told with a generous dose of self-deprecating humor will enjoy this essay collection."
"Review" by , "Nothing sacred is spared in Jesse Bering's deft, rivetingly informative, and relentlessly hilarious new book. Bering's addictive curiosity and wry, dexterous humor make this a collection that's as funny as it is impossible to put down."
"Review" by , "Bering has an uncanny way with words, an incisive capacity for logical thinking, and a stunning talent for breathing new life and enthusiasm into science."
"Synopsis" by ,
Why do testicles hang the way they do? Is there an adaptive function to the female orgasm? What does it feel like to want to kill yourself? Does “free will” really exist? And why is the penis shaped like that anyway?

     In Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?, the research psychologist and award-winning columnist Jesse Bering features more than thirty of his most popular essays from Scientific American and Slate, as well as two new pieces, that take readers on a bold and captivating journey through some of the most taboo issues related to evolution and human behavior. Exploring the history of cannibalism, the neurology of people who are sexually attracted to animals, the evolution of human body fluids, the science of homosexuality, and serious questions about life and death, Bering astutely covers a generous expanse of our kaleidoscope of quirks and origins. 

     With his characteristic irreverence and trademark cheekiness, Bering leaves no topic unturned or curiosity unexamined, and he does it all with an audaciously original voice. Whether youre interested in the psychological history behind the many facets of sexual desire or the evolutionary patterns that have dictated our current mystique and phallic physique, Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? is bound to create lively discussion and debate for years to come.

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