Book Reviews of The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating

The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating
The Evolution of Desire Strategies of Human Mating
Author: David M. Buss
ISBN-13: 9780465021437
ISBN-10: 0465021433
Publication Date: 2/1995
Pages: 272
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.

2.9 stars, based on 4 ratings
Publisher: Basic Books
Book Type: Paperback
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2 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating on + 242 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a book I looked much forward to reading. And I didn't finish. I didn't even make it a quarter of the way through. The author has some fundamental problems that underlie his attitudes and conclusions, and I just couldn't get through them.

The biggest one (that I'd found so far) is the belief that ANY trait humans currently have MUST have had an evolutionary purpose at one time. Nothing is just there because it is, so any trait he can find he can relate to something evolutionary (specifically, anything different between men and women must be because of preferences of the other which means it must be because of ability to get food/protection/babies/etc. Of course the two come up radically different in his opinion). The problem with this is it's proven to be completely false. I wish I had bookmarked the study someone did with birds. They tied little hats on the male birds' heads. The females went gaga over those with white (I think) hats, and refused to have anything to do with those with red hats. The color of the hats had NOTHING to do with the birds ability to provide--it was tied on by a scientist. But if a mutation has produced a male bird with a white feather on his head, he'd have had his pick of females (and more than one a mating season), so it likely would have spread. But it had nothing to do with ability to do anything!

The second insistence is has (and where I finally gave up) was that any differences found between men & women that cross wide societies must be biologically based. There is no need to look at the society or the socialization--if wide-spread cultures have women looking to men with money, then it must be biological that women want men with resources. Completely ignoring the fact that in the majority of cultures, women aren't allowed to own (or weren't not that long ago) resources--so it's a matter of survival they do so. His widely varying cultures have some things that are similar across cultures--and those things explain his "biological" differences quite well. But it's a matter of survival culturally, not biologically. He also ignores evidence from older cultures that his "universal" evidence isn't so universal when you go back in time--you know, back closer to the original biological urges relevance?

There may be biological differences in how women & men seek mates. I wouldn't be at all surprised if there are. However, this book is a horrible way to try and find those differences--when all the differences he trumpets can be easily explained by cultural factors. This isn't to say biology doesn't influence culture--but you need to prove it, not just try and ignore culture because you find a difference in more than one culture---when the cultures are not that different in the relevant areas.

I consider this nothing more than a book to prove that patriarchy is biologically based, using pseudo-science to back it up. Nice and splashy copy--horribly flawed at its base. We will have to wait until a better scientist takes a look to examine this topic.
reviewed The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating on + 232 more book reviews
In this intriguing book, Bus uses evolutinary psychology to shed light on our deepest (and some would say most mysterious) human drive - to love. A scientific study of human sexuality. What guides our sexual choices? How do we choose & lose our mates? Human mating behavior is not so random or mysterious. Why so much conflict in our most cherished relationships? In attracting, keeping & breaking up with our mates, we are closer to our ancestral forebears than we think.
Dr. Buss has published extensively on personality, sexuality as the result of studies done round the world on more than 10,000 subjects.