from the publisher:
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.
"Mean Genes is brilliantówell-grounded evolutionary biology, clear-eyed realism, and advice that is both practical and moral. Delightfully readable."óE.O. WilsonTerry Burnham is a visiting scholar at the Harvard Business School. He was an economics professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government from 1997 until he joined the HBS faculty. He received his Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard in 1997, holds an MBA from MIT's Sloan School of Management, and has a B.S. in Biophysics from the University of Michigan. His primary research area is the Darwinian origin of economic behaviors. Outside the ivory tower, Terry worked on Wall Street for Goldman, Sachs & Co. and co-founded Progenics, a publicly-traded biotech firm with promising treatments for cancer and AIDS. His field research includes studying wild chimpanzees in the rain forest of Uganda. Terry served with distinction as a tank driver in the U.S. Marine Corps. Raised in Michigan, he now resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Jay Phelan is a biology professor at UCLA. He received a Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard in 1995 after obtaining a master's degree in Environmental Studies from Yale University and a B.S. in Biology from UCLA. The central focus of his research, which has been funded by the National Science Foundation, is evolutionary genetics and the causes of aging. Jay has been featured on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation," as well as in numerous magazines and newspapers, and is the recipient of more than a dozen teaching awards. He lives in Malibu, California.