Any population is fair game for anthropological research, so why not the super-rich, super-thin and oh-so-well-dressed mothers of New York’s Upper East Side? That’s the reasoning of author Wednesday Martin, and she puts it to the test in Primates of Park Avenue, her account of six years as a wife and mother in Manhattan’s toniest neighborhood.
In his engaging and provocative Women After All: Sex, Evolution, and the End of Male Supremacy, Emory University anthropologist and neuroscientist Konner (The Tangled Wing) admits that his book contains something to offend everyone. The idea that important differences in gender identity and behavior are based in biology will not please feminists, and the idea that women are superior to men will offend a lot of men, he writes.
Annoyance can be a powerful prod to action. And so after being annoyed for years by the praise much of the world lavishes on the supposedly enlightened Scandinavians, British writer Michael Booth has bestirred himself to take a closer, more jaundiced look at the people, customs, institutions and landscapes of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and his adopted homeland of Denmark. Are these five nations the political incarnation of human happiness? Well, maybe.
If you've ever seen a story about food stamps or poverty and wondered how people end up there, you need to read Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America. Author Linda Tirado wrote a post about why the poor make such “terrible decisions,” it went viral, and she offers an expanded take on the subject here.
Multitasking at work through texts and emails, pumping breast milk for your baby, then grabbing a decaf latte solo as a treat afterward: Is this you? It turns out our collective drive for greater efficiency is leading to lower productivity, reduced immunity and general malaise.
Ape, chicken, cow, dog, pig, rat, sheep, snake, beast. Each of these words has a distinct connotation, none of them positive. The fact is, though, that no animal behavior can compete with the aggressive and destructive violence exhibited by humans on a regular basis. Animal advocate Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson has published numerous bestsellers about the rich emotional lives of animals. In his latest thought-provoking book, Beasts, Masson turns his attention to humans, posing the questions: who are the real beasts, why, and what can we do about it?
The “triple package,” as the authors anatomize it, is a cluster of traits that enables groups, individuals and even nations to get ahead materially. Specifically, the three traits are: (1) an innate sense of superiority co-existing simultaneously with (2) feelings of situational insecurity and powered by (3) impulse control so that gains made through concentration, hard work and thrift are not dissipated by transitory urges and appetites.
According to author Rosemary Mahoney, “the United States has the lowest rate of blindness in the world,” yet Americans fear blindness more than any other handicap. As she concedes in her riveting glance into the world of the blind, she was among those who palpably feared a world of darkness. Yet, in her compulsively readable account, For the Benefit of Those Who See: Dispatches from...
Art and photography are wonderful windows to the world through which we are able to see things in new, often unexpected ways. These five books all contain intriguing stories about a variety of artistic visions and are certain to delight any lucky recipients this holiday season.You can’t help but cheer for Brandon Stanton, creator of Humans of New York, a book that has drawn lots of recent...
Do you religiously recycle your stuff, but wonder what happens after the truck carts it away? Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter’s book about the trade in trash and recyclables, looks at how billions of dollars’ worth of usable materials (sometimes tossed after just a single use) gets collected, sorted, baled, sold and shipped off to recyclers, and reveals who is making a living...