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The Generous Man

How Helping Others is the Sexiest Thing You Can Do

Tor Nørretranders, Jonathan Sydenham (Translated by)


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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (9/29/2006)


When it comes to sex, Darwin didn't go far enough. Whereas his theory of natural selection dictates that species adapt the most efficient and logical traits, Generous Man makes the case that an animal's success, sexually, depends on developing the least efficient traits. Nørretranders uses as the central symbol of his theory the peacock's plumage. It's cumbersome, showy, and inefficient — and therefore terribly attractive to peahens. Put more simply, nothing shows a potential mate just how worthy you are as a partner than your ability to be wasteful and inefficient. It's like a man with money to burn. But money isn't everything: humans really measure their worth by doing something that's difficult. This is a central factor in evolution. In order to win a partner to mate with, humans display their best sides. In order to win a partner, we display our best sides. We strive for perfection, prove we are willing to help others, do that extra bit, show consideration, and go out of our way. In other words, we are generous. This book shows how our nobler traits derive from our need for sex and are, in fact, the best way to get more of it.

Da Capo Lifelong Books, 9781560257288, 368pp.

Publication Date: October 5, 2005

About the Author

Tor Nørretranders, the author of ten books on topics ranging from the environment to quantum mechanics, is a prominent Danish science writer, television host, and lecturer. His most recent book, THE USER ILLUSION: CUTTING CONSCIOUSNESS DOWN TO SIZE was translated into seven languages.

Jonathan Sydenham translated THE USER ILLUSION into English.