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    1. Cultural Anthropology : The Human
    $12.71 $8.99 list($14.95)
    2. What's Up America?
    $11.86 $11.07 list($16.95)
    3. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates
    $74.95 $61.25
    4. Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Class
    $99.00 $98.94 list($150.00)
    5. African Ceremonies
    $10.20 $7.95 list($15.00)
    6. Why We Buy: The Science Of Shopping
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    7. The Paradox of Choice : Why More
    $10.46 $7.44 list($13.95)
    8. The Power of Myth
    $42.60 $30.95
    9. Conformity and Conflict: Readings
    $22.00 $16.51 list($35.00)
    10. China Streetsmart: What You MUST
    $21.95 $12.95
    11. Encountering the Chinese: A Guide
    $67.60 $43.56
    12. Intercultural Competence: Interpersonal
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    13. Bowling Alone : The Collapse and
    $26.39 $26.38 list($39.99)
    14. Spa
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    15. The Human Mosaic, Ninth Edition
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    16. The European Dream: How Europe's
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    17. Not By Genes Alone : How Culture
    $35.62 $30.77
    18. Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries:
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    19. The Third Chimpanzee : The Evolution
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    20. Racial and Ethnic Relations (7th

    1. Cultural Anthropology : The Human Challenge (with CD-ROM and InfoTrac)
    by William A. Haviland, Harald E. L. Prins, Dana Walrath, Bunny McBride
    list price: $100.95
    our price: $100.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0534624871
    Catlog: Book (2004-07-21)
    Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing
    Sales Rank: 11096
    Average Customer Review: 1.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Comprehensive, readable and written for the student, Haviland/Prins/Walwrath/McBride's market-leading text, CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY, is a highly relevant, high-quality teaching tool. The narrative voice of the text has been thoroughly internationalized and the "we:they" Western voice has been replaced with an inclusive one that will resonate with both Western and non-Western students and professors. In addition, gender, ethnicity, and stratification concepts and terminologies have been completely overhauled in accordance with contemporary thinking and the narrative streamlined using more fully developed, balanced, and global examples. In CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY, the authors present students with examples of "local responses" to challenging globalization issues, designed to provide students with a "cross-cultural survival guide"for living in the diverse, multicultural world of the 21st century. This edition is a truly exciting and unique examination into the field of cultural anthropology, its insights, its relevance, and the continuing role of cultural survival issues. ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    1-0 out of 5 stars I agree with the previous reviews...
    This text was required reading for my anthropology course and although I was looking forward to learning about the subject matter, I felt that Haviland wrote in a way that made it much less enjoyable than it should have been. Often repetitive, always with his own biased version and even his terminology (using such phrases as *something like* when using descriptives)were not what I expected from someone of his caliber. To make matters worse, the *Original Study* segments which were some of the most interesting parts of the book were printed on a green background with the print lightened so that it was barely readable...what were the publishers thinking? I was greatly disappointed.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Book Sucks
    This book is down to earth stupid! Through out the text, haviland insults Western countries by saying that they are all uncivilized and their way of life is far inferior when compared w/ other indegineous cultures. If he has a Ph.D., he should know better that insulting any culture is the trait of a narrow-minded person - not a guy who holds a ph.d. He also mocks religion constantly and the book repeats the same thing in several chapters...its like after a while you'll say "dude, we get the point, move on!". Don't buy it, unless u are a college student and your teacher requires it (I don't know y they would).

    1-0 out of 5 stars Intolerable
    This is among the most frustratingly uninteresting textbooks I've ever read.Every chapter takes the same dull, sensationalistic view of its subject, citing a limitless number of redundant examples of life in lesser-known cultures while condemning every aspect of modern, industrial cultures.Each unit restates the same cliches ad nauseam, and reading this material does nothing to enhance one's appreciation for humanity or for science.It is a terrible and tiresome introduction to anthropology.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing for the Educated Reader
    The editors' review would lead you to believe this is an unbiased, thorough and scholarly examination of cultural anthropology.It is not.There is subtle age, gender, cultural and religious bias.Although it is a thorough look at various cultures, it is by no means comprehensive or accurate.It is inaccurate in highlighted descriptions of minor aspects of Native American culture, especially of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation.It seems to imply Western European cultures and various organized religions are the greatest evil on the planet.The portrayal of some cultures, such as the Malaysian, Pacific Island, and a few of the African Bushmen cultures, are very nice but that is the only redeeming quality of this text.Real scholars should avoid this text at all costs!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Misleading text
    This text explores human nature in a completely dry, systematic, and cliched manner. It conveys none of the realities of human experience.It describes the customs and practices followed by only a handful of societies in the world, and it does so in a distorted and often sensationalized manner.For example, it portrays Christianity as a simple religion of snake handlers, and it describes the Christian practice of eating the body of God in the COMMUNION WATER!The text communicates that there is no meaning or reason to human existence, and it picks apart each aspect of humanity until there is nothing left but the absurdity of all human thought and belief. If you wish to understand Man's history, get a firsthand look at what Man has written, built, believed, and striven for throughout the ages. Don't go to this book to have your questions answered.I don't know who wrote that ridiculous one sentence review about this book being wonderful, but they were a moron to do so. ... Read more

    2. What's Up America?
    by Diane Asitimbay
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $12.71
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0975927604
    Catlog: Book (2004-10)
    Publisher: Culturelink Pr
    Sales Rank: 286978
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    If you are heading to the United States, this book could be more valuable than an English dictionary or Alka Seltzer tablets to digest the greasy food at the fast food places. This isn’t a traditional guidebook that directs you to a particular hotel or helps you apply for a driver’s license.What it will do is take you inside American culture, serve you a slice of apple pie, and then show you what’s under the crust.

    Organized into twenty chapters, the author boldly answers questions like the following. Why do many young Americans leave home when they turn eighteen years old?What is American food? Why are so many Americans on diets but still overweight?How do we judge if an American is just being friendly or truly being a friend?Why don’t Americans learn another language?

    You’ll find everything foreigners always want to know about Americans but are afraid to ask.Actually, many of them have asked but no one has answered them until now.In this book, the American author answers the real questions that foreigners have asked her in the course of her international career.

    From growing up to growing old, every important cultural topic is covered here, including some controversial ones such as being independent from your family, racial identity and religious practices which are themes usually missing in guidebooks. Foreigners will feel 100% more comfortable being in the United States with a book that uncovers and explains the hidden values of the American people.

    Americans who are curious about what foreigners want to know about the United States and its people will find this book entertaining as well. You’ll laugh when you see yourself described in its pages. At the same time, you’ll learn how American attitudes and customs compare to those of other countries.

    What’s Up America? will make readers, both Americans and foreigners alike, want to learn more about the rest of the world. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars this book must be required reading for international student
    "I couldn't stop reading this book because it answers the very same questions that my husband and I have wondered about. The chapters on food and pets were my favorites. The writing style is so clear and different from other guidebooks I've read. It gave me enough confidence to discuss many ideas with Americans.I think this book should be required reading for international students."

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Book-My Review
    "The way the author describes American culture by showing the similarities and differences between American, Asian, Latino, and European practices, will undoubtedly help the international newcomer in America. By explaining the peculiarities of Americans and the reasons behind their actions, the book helps to dismantle misconceptions and attitudes found among foreigners.The author picks out and engages in the nuances of American behavior that Americans themselves rarely notice, but which foreigners can easily distinguish."-Annie, Chinese-American

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Rare Insight into American Culture
    This book presents an insightful look into the hearts and minds of Americans. It comprehensively presents the nuances of American culture that would take one years to figure out for oneself, making it an indispensable tool for visitors to the United States. At the same time, its objective layout presents Americans with a systematic analysis of their own culture. If you ever wondered how you may be perceived by the rest of the world, or how the American culture differs from others, this book has the answer!

    Overall, it makes for delightful reading. ... Read more

    3. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
    by Jared Diamond
    list price: $16.95
    our price: $11.86
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393317552
    Catlog: Book (1999-04)
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 299
    Average Customer Review: 3.94 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion --as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war --and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California's Gold Medal. ... Read more

    Reviews (625)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Impressive Achievement
    Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel sets out a huge goal for itself, the examination and explanation for the direction of 13,000 years of human society around the world. It would be foolish to spend much looking at the points where his thesis may fail instead of spending more time marveling at the mighty achievement he did accomplish. Of course, taking such a large chunk of history and creating a theory to explain all of its shifts will not always be a perfect but it is wonderful to see just how much of history can be explained by his wonderfully all-encompassing ideas. With the soul of a scientist, Jared Diamond has created a wonderful synthesis to explain the development of writing, agriculture, conquest, disease and many, many other factors. Historians may balk at the largeness of such ideas, not seen Karl Marx found a convenient explanation for all human history, but it is a wonderful book to read, whether it is delighting or frustrating. It gives the reader much to think about and hopefully allows a new perspective to blossom among all of one's older, inherited ideas. A marvelous book.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A whole new way of seeing the world
    This 400 page summation of 13,000 years of history is hard to put down when it begins and hard to finish when you reach its final quarter. Diamond's friendly style draws the reader in immediately, making the book feel not only lively but vitally important as well. What could be more important or interesting than the reasons why the world has turned out the way that it has?

    Without a doubt, this is an important book, and not because it won a Pulitzer. Diamond makes a convincing case as he argues against notions that were quite popular when he wrote this at the close of the 90s. He refutes the notions of The Bell Curve, which used pretend science to claim that blacks were destined by genetics to be less intelligent than whites and Asians. Instead, he shows that the reasons why Europeans ended up dominating most of the world instead of Africans or native Australians or Americans are myriad, but boil down to a reasonable set, including: Eurasia's size advantage; the fortunate combination of ancient plants and large animals available for domestication; its east-west axis, making the spread of plant and animal domesticates easier by keeping them in the same climate; and its relatively mild barriers, like the Urals, which posed less a division than rain forests, high mountains, and deserts in the Americas and Africa.

    The thrilling opening and friendly style are eventually tempered by a repetition of these primary causes; Diamond explores numerous situations around the world, from New Guinea to the New World, and makes essentially the same arguments about each region, adding only nuances for the particulars of each place. It's the beginning of the book that's got the goods-the fourth part, especially, is a litany of details that are less captivating because the reader has learned enough to predict many of them.

    Still, this is a very useful book for understanding the world, and it will arm you with facts to use against anyone who claims that a person's intellect can be predicted by his or her race. Diamond also shows how present conflicts on the world stage are very similar to ones that have been going on for 40,000 years, casting modernity in the same light as prehistory. And, while the fourth part is slower than the rest, the epilogue explains why Europe leapt ahead of Asia in the last millennium, an explanation that is both fascinating and worth learning from.

    Why did Europe colonize America and not the other way around? If you'd like to know, read this book. It's weighty stuff, but it will reward you richly.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good for all types of readers.
    I read this book purely for pleasure, unlike a lot of people I know who have read it for class or as part of an academic exercise. I simply like to pick a book that will challenge me in between fiction books. This book did not disappoint.

    This is a rare work in that it can appeal to academics and pleasure readers. The knowledge and research behind the concepts in the book are complex and detailed, but Diamond does such an excellent job of explaining things, that you can easily sometimes forget the vast amount of information that he had to assimilate in order to put forth this hypothesis.

    There are also two main points from the book that I took. One is the merely academic and scientific data that you learn from the book. I do not have a science, anthropologic, or linguistic background, so I learned a great deal from this book. But secondly, there is a very clear goal of this book to discount the foundations of racism. This is a lesson that every reader from this book can take with them and actually use in real life. I was struck at how this book can have such a dual purpose, and this makes it truly unique in my opinion.

    Sure, there are vast generalizations that are made in a work such as this, just as there are in any history book, but this book has excellent points, is well researched, and makes solid arguments. I would definitely read another book by Jared Diamond and will definitely not forget the lessons I learned in this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great if you ever wondered how our cultures got here
    If you have curiosity about how the big picture of civilizations emerged - for example, why it was the European civilizations dominating with ships and guns and not the American civilizations - you should really enjoy this book. Yes, Jared Diamond has biases (he clearly doesn't like people who believe whites are genetically superior to other races) but he weaves a fantastic story with scientific facts and elegant reasoning. Many facts (relating to plant and animal science) are clearly and concisely presented. Other facts are obvious once pointed out (the lack of domesticatable animals in sub-Saharan Africa, or how long it takes for domesticated plants to adjust to different climates) you have these great "Aha" moments while reading. I loved how his arguments came together.

    Are there cons? Well, certain chapters in the second half of the book do repeat parts of the first half. It adds to the clarity (showing how the same principles can apply to different parts of the world), but if you "got it" the first time, some parts of the book can get long. Given how this book can change the way you look at different peoples and cultures, I can forgive him for repeating himself.

    If you like science and are curious about how environment shaped, or better, limited civilizations, get this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars NO PIGS!
    Because a new crop of bushy tailed Ivy League students are sure to be required to pick up a copy of this book before their orientations, before even being allowed on campus, there are a few things that you should know about this book before you do start.

    Even though there are plenty of wild pigs in New Guinea, which could have been domesticated at any time during the last 100,000 years, Jared Diamond describes the natural fauna in New Guinea as if it were the most protein deficient wasteland on earth. No protein, hmmmm, what could this mean? Why, those poor people!

    And even though you would think that this work might lose all credibility if when discussing human cultures, he were to leave out such a grossly significant fact, as the observation that the rugged terrain of the thousands of square miles of the New Guinea highlands is most well known, among educated people, as the home of a people that have been nothing for thousands of years but stone age men without a written language, or any metal tools, but with a human bone or a nasal shell through their septum because they are the world's most feared cannibals.

    Yet not one word will you find in this book about that, but with a subtle nod of Jared's head for those in the know, wink wink, that oh, their natural diet has no protein. So, of course, the same trade routes and tasty plants that led other peoples to great things, through no fault or effort of their own, left these poor people in New Guinea very hungry. Very hungry for protein!

    You will kill anyone who disagrees with you, by the end of this great work, about the fact that all cultures just have different ways of solving the same universal problems, like protein deficiency for example. And that socialism and capitalism and communism and cannibalism are all just different ways of accomplishing the very same things. Except for capitalism, of course, which is grossly unfair to the poor and to be despised!

    You will always have a warm feeling in your stomach, as well, at the secret thoughts that you will imagine that you only realize to yourself after reading this book, about how white boys aren't really anything special after all, despite what you had previously been tricked into believing, in how they just happened to find themselves on east west trade routes near plants that just happened to contain protein.

    Of course, you will find many other new ideas in this book, such as Jared Diamond's suggestion in the introduction, that Western civilization encourages white boys to pass on their genes, no matter how intellectually deficient they might be, because Western civilization makes so few demands upon its citizens. Which is why you must be given this book to read even before your orientation, while you are still unlearned enough to not even know about the famous conch shell collecting New Guinea cannibals. ... Read more

    4. Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Class : The Sociology of Group Conflict and Change (Sage Masters in Modern Social Thought)
    by Joseph F. Healey
    list price: $74.95
    our price: $74.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0761987630
    Catlog: Book (2002-11-14)
    Publisher: Pine Forge Press
    Sales Rank: 233500
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    Book Description

    Visit Joseph Healey's website:

    Praise for the Third Edition of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Class:

    "The Healey book is the best undergraduate textbook, in my opinion, to focus on the U.S. experience of peoplehood…"

                                           —Dr. Gonzalo Santos, California State University at Bakersfield

    "I continue to be very impressed with the conceptual material included in the text related to prejudice, racism, assimilation, stratification and pluralism and their relation to larger social change processes. Students benefits tremendously from learning about the perspectives that relate to understanding race relations occurring at multiple levels: family, small group, community, state and global."

                                                                          —Carol Ward, Brigham Young University  

    Written in a clear, consistent style, the Third Edition of the best-selling text Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Class by Joseph Healey eloquently describes and, at times, simply serves as a conduit for, a broad spectrum of experiences related to race, ethnicity, gender, and class. Featuring in-depth analyses of diversity within groups, as well as the multiple interactions between them, Joseph Healey addresses the experiences of women, and many other minority groups, throughout the text. "Narrative Portraits" are integrated into each chapter and provide students with first person accounts and observations from a wide variety of people. At the end of each chapter, "Current Debates" present important issues through the ideas and writings of prominent scholars. In addition, Photo Essays are included at the end of many chapters, visually reinforcing key concepts in a dramatic and memorable fashion.  

    Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Class, Third Edition will engage students and broaden their understanding of key issues, making this text both a pleasure to read and a lively demonstration of the power and importance of thinking sociologically.  

    New to This Edition:

    • History. Historical coverage of Native Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans and White ethnic groups now discussed in the chapter for each respective group.
    • Currency. Thorough revisions to text and illustrations, updated Photo Essays, and 2000 Census data.
    • Perspective(s). Increased coverage of gender-related issues and comparative, international perspectives through new "Focus on Race and Gender" and "Comparative Focus" boxes in each chapter.
    • Experience. Chapters 5 and 6 have been re-organized, focusing on the African-American experience.
    • Resources. Companion Student Study Site available for students to test their knowledge with interactive quizzes and find useful related sites on the Web. Online exercises are also included at the end of each chapter. 
    Recommended for courses on race and ethnic relations; minorities; race, ethnicity, and gender; and race, class, and gender. ... Read more

    5. African Ceremonies
    by Carol Beckwith, Angela Fisher
    list price: $150.00
    our price: $99.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0810942054
    Catlog: Book (1999-11-01)
    Publisher: Harry N Abrams
    Sales Rank: 183051
    Average Customer Review: 4.23 out of 5 stars
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    By a recent count, the continent of Africa comprises some 1,300 cultures. Some of them number millions of people, some only a few families; some are thriving, while others are in danger of disappearing, the victims of acculturation or, in extreme cases, of genocide. This diversity--and the dangers to it--is little known outside Africa. PhotographersCarol Beckwith andAngela Fisher highlight both matters in African Ceremonies, an extraordinary two-volume collection of some 850 full-color images. The two artists have traveled to almost all the continent's 53 countries in the last three decades, documenting traditional tribal life in earlier books and articles for National Geographic, among other publications. Here they focus on the religious customs of several dozen peoples, combining stunning images with well-written essays to illustrate the enduring power of traditional beliefs.

    Among the book's finest moments are a record of the Fulani cattle crossing, when for 10 days young males drive their herds across the wide Niger River to receive gifts from their grateful compatriots; a sequence showing a healing ceremony of the Himba people of Namibia and Angola, whose "wild women," possessed by lion spirits, are riveting actors on the page; and a remarkable series of photographs of Wodaabe courtship dancers, who compete to attract wives by charming them with exaggerated smiles and the skilled use of cosmetics. The authors note that, as women, they entered places men never could--and as foreigners, they were also often welcomed as "honorary males" and allowed to witness male-only ceremonies. Many of these rites are in danger of extinction as old ways are forgotten and in some cases suppressed. Beckwith and Fisher have captured them before it's too late. Beautifully designed and manufactured, African Ceremonies makes a fine companion toHenry Louis Gates Jr.'s Wonders of the African World, and invites leisurely reading--and constant revisiting. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

    Reviews (13)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Finally!A Nonethnocentric Perspective on African Traditions!
    The New York Times Sunday Book Review section today had a wonderful review of this book (2 volumes in a slipcase). The documentation of ritual and people performing rituals as the seasons change in Nature and life cycles turn for People is a sacred task. The photographers appear to have embraced their subjects with care and respect - perhaps others will follow in this way in the future. What strikes me most about the book and the reviews is the genuine approach of the authors to the dignity, honor and respect of the African People they have photographed and documented. This alone makes the book a winner for me.

    Regarding the book, I am particularly impressed by their treatment of sacredness without judgment and jaded lens. Indeed the art and form of ritual itself creates tradition. The music of these images is at once visual and alive celebrating the sacred as timeless expressions of culture and community.

    5-0 out of 5 stars BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE

    4-0 out of 5 stars See it before it disappears
    A beautiful look at cultural conventions that may soon be relegated to the quaint and unusual.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Africa that *does* exist, but that is vanishing
    The "concise edition" of AFRICAN CEREMONIES opens with a preface by Dr. Malidoma Some, president of "Echoes of the Ancestors" and author of his autobiography OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT and THE HEALING WISDOM OF AFRICA. Malidoma is from the Dagara tribe of Burkina Faso. His name means "make friends with the stranger/enemy," and that is why he now lives in the West.

    I have met Malidoma on a few occasions (participating in some of his rituals) and I corresponded with him for a time. He has been incredibly helpful and supportive in my own spiritual journey (he is an initiated shaman of his tribe and has recently become the youngest initiated elder), and therefore I trust what he says. Malidoma's preface makes it clear that, sadly, AFRICAN CEREMONIES documents a world that - unlike the claims of some - is not entirely gone, but that is quickly vanishing. Malidoma comments that these photographs are very important because they show the last time that some of these ceremonies will be performed in such elaborate nature, and perhaps they will never be performed again at all.

    AFRICAN CEREMONIES continues the tradition of these well respected photographers by providing a beautiful volume of beautiful peoples.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Buy it for what it is
    Buyers should understand what this is - a beautiful coffee table book. Beckwith and Fisher present their usual quality of brilliant, sensitive photography. But understand that this is, for the most part, capturing a memory, a fantasy. This Africa no longer exists. Don't buy the book to learn African culture. Buy it if you like photography. As a historical record, it's lacking. One can capture a visual from the outside, but one cannot capture a cultural understanding as readily. ... Read more

    6. Why We Buy: The Science Of Shopping
    by Paco Underhill
    list price: $15.00
    our price: $10.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0684849143
    Catlog: Book (2000-06-02)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Sales Rank: 3373
    Average Customer Review: 3.59 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Is there a method to our madness when it comes to shopping? Hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as "a Sherlock Holmes for retailers," author and research company CEO Paco Underhill answers with a definitive "yes" in this witty, eye-opening report on our ever-evolving consumer culture. Why We Buy is based on hard data gleaned from thousands of hours of field research -- in shopping malls, department stores, and supermarkets across America. With his team of sleuths tracking our every move, from sweater displays at the mall to the beverage cooler at the drugstore, Paco Underhill lays bare the struggle among merchants, marketers, and increasingly knowledgeable consumers for control.

    In his quest to discover what makes the contemporary consumer tick, Underhill explains the shopping phenomena that often go unnoticed by retailers and shoppers alike, including:

    • How a well-placed shopping basket can turn a small purchase into a significant sale
    • What the "butt-brush factor" is and how it can make sales plummet
    • How working women have altered the way supermarkets are designed
    • How the "boomerang effect" makes product placement ever more challenging
    • What kinds of signage and packaging turn browsers into buyers

    For those in retailing and marketing, Why We Buy is a remarkably fresh guide, offering creative and insightful tips on how to adapt to the changing customer. For the general public, Why We Buy is a funny and sometimes disconcerting look at our favorite pastime. ... Read more

    Reviews (103)

    Paco Underhill's book utilizes observational research to determine why people buy. The book starts off with a detailed description of the shopping behavior of a customer in the towel section of a store. Underhill carefully writes down the customers every move, from the number of towels touched, to checking the price tag, nothing gets by without being recorded. He does this same type of observation on hundreds of customers, and from the observations recorded; he makes very thoughtful suggestions to the management of the firm.

    I found many of his observations very common sense. For example, "transition zone" as Underhill calls it. Many businesses fail to recognize that it takes time for customers to make an adjustment from being outside of the store to being inside the store. A customer will ignore a simple item like a shopping basket if it is placed in the transition zone. Hanging signs and posters in front doors go unnoticed, because customers are concentrating on opening the door, rather than looking at signs. In a later chapter he goes on to discuss how natural human movement motivates customer purchasing. Because humans walk and look in a forward motion, a lot of items that are on the shelves go unnoticed. If a customer is familiar with the stores environment, then he or she is more likely to roam with his or her eyes as they are passing through the isles.

    I found the most interesting topics later in the book. Underhill gives a very insightful description of why men and women shop differently. Underhill states, "Men are from Sears Hardware, Women are from Bloomingdale's." I found some of his research findings very fascinating. He gives a wonderful statistic on men's buying behavior. When a man try's items on at the store there is a 65% chance that he will purchase the item vs. a woman 25%. There is one observation Underhill makes I definitely have to agree with is that idea that men almost always pays. However, I do not agree with his idea that men get a thrill out of purchasing their female friends items.

    When I started reading the chapter about what women want, I found a lot of his research findings not too surprising. It is almost common knowledge that women tend to shop faster if a male companion accompanies her. Also nothing new about how ritualistic women shopping patterns is. From seeking and comparing, to trying on and leaving items behind, it is all part of a days shopping for women.

    At the end of the book there is an insightful chapter called "The Self-Exam." One idea that he mentions repeatedly through out his book, and emphasized again in this chapter is that shoppers need baskets when their hands are full. Which is not surprising, however when was the last time you saw a stack of baskets sitting in the middle of a store? This book is very thoughtful, interesting and gives any person in the marketing field excellent insight on buyer behavior. This book is a must read for anyone managing in the retail.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile book on retail design
    It's interesting that Underhill's group was the one that advised Subway Sandwiches to print specific nutritional comparisons to other brand-name fast food items on their napkins. This was genius!
    After reading this book, you will never enter a store or restaurant without examining its design and displays. Underhill describes the "zones" of a store or restaurant.
    There's a time or two when Underhill gives contradictory opinions. One time, he says that computers should be displayed set up with their peripherals, ready to work, so that customers can try them out. But, another time, Underhill says customers want to see all similar $300 printers lined up together for comparison.
    There are several things Underhill doesn't mention which are major sales inhibitors. Stores may have the best designed signage displaying the menu items or identifying aisles, and then put up large advertising banners a few feet in front of those signs, so that customers can't read the original signs without getting right under them. Many fast food outlets also neglect clearing and wiping tables. Yes, customers are expected to clear their own tables, but if they don't, the staff should promptly do so. Otherwise, the company spends millions in advertising to get customers into a restaurant, and the negligence of a manager chases the customer out. Many a time fast food customers will find napkins, straws and utensils stuffed into dispensers so tightly that it's near impossible to retrieve them.
    Likewise, Underhill barely mentions the effects of employees' broken promises and faulty information. How many of us have shopped at a Orchard Supply-type hardware store, to have an employee promise to send someone to help you and never return? Or have an employee tell you they don't sell such an item in the store, and it turns out later they do? Frequently the reverse happens, when the employee swears the item can be found waaay across the store in aisle 3, where it doesn't exist.
    Underhill says video stores should play movies suitable to all audiences, but it's often the case, especially later in the evening, that customers will have to shop under blaring rock music. In some stores, such as a mall Radio Shack I visited recently, the teen employees were engaged in such an animated conversation among themselves that customers didn't feel welcome to interrupt them, for the purposes of getting help or ringing up a purchase.
    This book is worth reading. In reading the book, you'll see that some stores have incorporated his suggestions in the four years since publication.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Sometimes the obvious isn't so apparent
    I finally picked this one up after about a year of "meaning to buy it." I'm glad I did. It's a lighthearted and fun book that will make you analyze every store you set foot into and make you want to avoid many others. There are no earth-shattering ideas in here, but it does point out many of the obvious things you'd probably miss, ie: product placement, who the decision-makers are and traffic flow of the stores. It's written clear and concise, but recycles many of the examples. I read it over the course of 2 planetrips (with layovers) and will probably pass it along to a store-owner I know - meaning I won't be referencing it for the rest of my life, but I'll probably keep an eye to see what stores have read it and who should

    3-0 out of 5 stars The Lady Doth Protest Too Much
    It is interesting to note people's reactions to this book. I'm reminded of the adage about the stages of acceptance of an idea. At the first stage people say it's wrong, at the second stage they assert that that it's right, but also trivial (common sense perhaps?), and at the 3rd stage (final acceptance) they claim the idea as their own. Many of the negative reviews fit into stages 1 or 2. I would concur with several reviewers that the author's ego interferes with the presentation, but this does nothing to diminish the observational detail that he manages to share, if you are in a place where you can think about it. It takes a little effort to step back from the detail and consider some of the ideas about our behavior that are cloaked in the author's descriptions. Yet many of the notions about what we notice and why and how we move about in a space could be applied (with some reflective thought) to the whole process of "arriving at" and "navigating" a web site (to purchase something or to get information).

    If you are looking for a book that correlates characteristics of people (socieconomic status, sex, etc) with purchases you will be sorely disappointed. I assume that many of Underhill's clients have contemplated charateristic type marketing data with an eye toward some causal connection between characteristics of people and purchasing behavior. But what Underhill notices is that the act of going to a store and buying something is a sequence of behavior that can be derailed in a variety of ways. And this, ultimately, is why characteristics (socieconomic status, gender, etc) that predict purchasing are also not causal (I don't know of any 100% correlations between characteristics and purchasing behavior that would suggest a causal relationshp). There is instead a process that starts with purposefully going to a store, or arriving their fortuitously, and a subsequent sequence of steps that may or may not result in a purchase. In detailing this process he also takes note of differences related to gender and other characteristics. If you want to understand something about how people must get to a place, enter, move about, notice things and think in order to buy things you will intrigued by the Underhill's anthropological musings. If you want some definitive "cause" for why people buy you might look elsewhere, though I suspect you would be hard-pressed to argue that the processes Underhill takes note of have nothing to do with a successful retail environment.

    5-0 out of 5 stars They Know What You are Doing
    There are very few books that I read over and over, but 'Why We Buy' has earned a spot in my top ten all time favorites. Through this book, the author takes us on an informative and entertaining journey into the world of retail marketing. However, the beauty of the book lies is that while it is a must-read for any retailer, it will appeal and intrigue the average consumer.

    When you shop, you aren't just shopping -- you are performing a science. From the way you move your eyes, to what path you take through the store, even items you touch on the shelves, is all part of how each individual consumer makes a purchasing choice. Through this book, you learn how retailers have studied shoppers -- like yourself -- and why certain items are on the top shelfs, why two items are never on sale at the same time, and a wealth of other retail secrets.

    Have you ever stopped to think about what happens the moment you walk into the store? Probably not, but you'll learn about what happens from the parking lot to the checkout stand in this book. You'll find out, for example, why shopping carts are usually always on the righthand side, and why the days of plastering windows with advertisements are all but over for many stores.

    Overall, this book is just fascinating in the depth of knowledge it presents, and in such a manner to make it entertaining and informative. Even the most casual reader can find something of interest.

    One thing is for sure, once you read this book, you'll never view a grocery store or mall the same way again. ... Read more

    7. The Paradox of Choice : Why More Is Less
    by Barry Schwartz
    list price: $13.95
    our price: $10.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060005696
    Catlog: Book (2005-01-01)
    Publisher: Ecco
    Sales Rank: 51176
    Average Customer Review: 4.28 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Whether we're buying a pair of jeans, ordering a cup of coffee, selecting a long-distance carrier, applying to college, choosing a doctor, or setting up a 401(k), everyday decisions -- both big and small -- have become increasingly complex due to the overwhelming abundance of choice with which we are presented.

    As Americans, we assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction. But beware of excessive choice: choice overload can make you question the decisions you make before you even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations, and it can make you blame yourself for any and all failures. In the long run, this can lead to decision-making paralysis, anxiety, and perpetual stress. And, in a culture that tells us that there is no excuse for falling short of perfection when your options are limitless, too much choice can lead to clinical depression.

    In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz explains at what point choice -- the hallmark of individual freedom and self-determination that we so cherish -- becomes detrimental to our psychological and emotional well-being. In accessible, engaging, and anecdotal prose, Schwartz shows how the dramatic explosion in choice -- from the mundane to the profound challenges of balancing career, family, and individual needs -- has paradoxically become a problem instead of a solution. Schwartz also shows how our obsession with choice encourages us to seek that which makes us feel worse.

    By synthesizing current research in the social sciences, Schwartz makes the counter intuitive case that eliminating choices can greatly reduce the stress, anxiety, and busyness of our lives. He offers eleven practical steps on how to limit choices to a manageable number, have the discipline to focus on those that are important and ignore the rest, and ultimately derive greater satisfaction from the choices you have to make.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (18)

    5-0 out of 5 stars If choices are making you crazy read this book
    Dr. Schwartz has exposed the difference between the best and good enough. He tells us that "maximizers" are people who want the absolute best, so they have to examine every choice or they fear they are not getting the best. However, looking at all the choices is usually frustrating and takes too much time. A "satisficer" is a person who looks at the options and chooses an option that is good enough.
    Maximizers may look at satisficers and say, "they're lazy or they're compromisers", but Dr. Schwartz points out that satisficers can have high standards. Dr. Schwart points out that the satisficer with high standards is internally motivated. The maximizer is more externally motivated because they are not looking at themselves, they're looking at others to see if what they have is better. Dr. Schwartz points out that social comparison brings unhappiness.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Having Problems choosing books to read chose this one.
    In The Paradox of Choice Barry Schwartz provides evidence that we are faced with too many choices on a daily basis. He also presents impressive facts of psychological evidence about how more looking actually makes us less happy with our final decisions. In the beginning of the book it talks about shopping at a grocery store and the number of options there. As the number of options increases, the psychological stakes rise accordingly. This book is helpful in many ways; it shows us how to reduce stress in decision-making. Faced with numerous options in today society Schwartz provided information on leaving your losses behind and focus on the future. He also touched on the topic of regretting, because it's hard to go through life regretting every decision you made because it might not have been the best possible decision. I recommend this book to anyone whose been faced with decision making.

    After reading The Paradox of Choice I realized the over-whelming amount of choices I came across within the next hour, and how I had a difficult time deciding on what to do. Even with the number options I had to choose from I couldn't pin point on just one. This book is a tool that everyone should use in coping with day-to-day decisions.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Choose This Book!
    The counterintuitive title of this book makes sense by page two, which is only the first of many wonders Schwartz makes happen over the course of this deceptively thin and breezy tome. Paradox explains why we feel like we have less time even as technology continues to promise to make life easier. In a nutshell, it's because we have too many choices and invest great amounts of time and mental capital in making decisions that were far simpler or simply didn't exist in the past. Schwartz start with examples like buying jeans--slim fit? baggy fit? classic fit? relaxed fit? tapered leg? button fly? zip fly?--or choosing phone service--AT&T? MCI? countless baby Bells? myriad cellular providers?--but quickly demonstrates that our choices in every area of life, including where to live, who (or whether) to marry, what to do for a living, and much more have expanded to a degree that we not only spend more time contemplating our choices, but experience far more regret afterward--or sometimes, he argues, choose not to choose at all because thinking about all the choices we must forego in order to choose just one paralyzes us--or makes the option we like the best seem less appealing.

    Schwartz also notes that the increased array of choices combines with the human imagination in dangerous ways that make us sadder. Life gives us choices with fixed qualities--a good job with potential in a city far from home or a decent job with little potential that's close to home--but we compose our own options by assembling aspects of the real choices into fictional options that we then compare with reality. What a surprise that, as we learn of more and more choices, reality falls further and further short! I can't have it all: live close enough to family and retain the freedom to use distance as an excuse to avoid obligations, live in Minneapolis and also in a house with Brad, work with people I loved working with and also return to Illinois. Yet in times of distress, I (and all of us, Schwartz says) tend to compare the situation that troubles me not with a real alternative but with a fantasy constructed from several conflicting components. This is not a useful way to deal with whatever it is that troubles me, or any of us.

    Fortunately, Schwartz closes the book by offering useful suggestions for understanding the problems unlimited choices pose in our society and dealing with them in our own lives. His book isn't perfect--it gets a bit redundant at times--but it's a fascinating take on a topic that plays a bigger role in modern life than many of us realize.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Feel better about your decisions...
    Schwartz takes an interesting perspective on the decision sciences, exploring not how we could make decisions better, but instead how we can feel better about the decisions we do make.

    He explains that we live in a world with overwhelming choice, where every activity from buying a box of cereal to choosing our ideal job offers us an almost unlimited set of options. But although these increased choices often make us better off objectively, they don't necessarily make us feel any better. Instead, we get anxious while making the decision and then feel regret once it's made, wondering if we made the "right" choice. Schwartz helps us understand the psychological underpinnings of our anxieties regarding choice, and then offers some simple but useful suggestions on how we can feel better in the world we live in.

    I really enjoyed this book...and as a "maximizer" I found it very helpful. It's a quick read, so if you're at all intrigued by the title then I'd definitely buy it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting and helpful
    I am deeply thankful to live at a time, in a country, where I enjoy unprecedented freedoms; I would never want someone else to restrict my choices. And I'm not sure that the author and I agree on this point.

    However, "The Paradox of Choice" has certainly helped convince me that I could benefit from somewhat limiting my own options in certain areas, as I see fit. What I liked best about this book is the fact that its last chapter is devoted to giving readers practical, customizeable ways to control the ways in which choice can sometimes be paralyzing.

    Worth skimming, at least. ... Read more

    8. The Power of Myth
    list price: $13.95
    our price: $10.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0385418868
    Catlog: Book (1991-06-01)
    Publisher: Anchor
    Sales Rank: 1594
    Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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    Among his many gifts, Joseph Campbell's most impressive was the unique ability to take a contemporary situation, such as the murder and funeral of President John F. Kennedy, and help us understand its impact in the context of ancient mythology. Herein lies the power of The Power of Myth, showing how humans are apt to create and live out the themes of mythology. Based on a six-part PBS television series hosted by Bill Moyers, this classic is especially compelling because of its engaging question-and-answer format, creating an easy, conversational approach to complicated and esoteric topics. For example, when discussing the mythology of heroes, Campbell and Moyers smoothly segue from the Sumerian sky goddess Inanna to Star Wars' mercenary-turned-hero, Han Solo. Most impressive is Campbell's encyclopedic knowledge of myths, demonstrated in his ability to recall the details and archetypes of almost any story, from any point and history, and translate it into a lesson for spiritual living in the here and now.--Gail Hudson ... Read more

    Reviews (78)

    4-0 out of 5 stars An fine introduction to Campbell's work
    Since this book is basically the transcripts from Bill Moyer's excellent televised interviews with Joseph Campbell, "The Power of Myth" frequently comes off as a "Reader's Digest" coffee table condensation of Campbell's life and work. Since the interview, by its very nature is limited in its scope and focus, "The Power of Myth" simply does not possess the depth of Campbell's other work.

    This really is no matter as what is present provides the reader with a fine introduction to Campbell's passionate devotion to World Myth. Campbell's life thesis, that man posseses the innate desire and need to create myth, is a compelling idea the binds us all to ourselves and each other.

    "The Power of Myth" is NOT to be taken as a religious tome. In that context, it certainly does come off as a cockeyed New Age concoction of non-commitment. It is meant, however, to be taken as a work of deconstructionist literary criticsm that seeks to celebrate the common threads running through all cultures and perspectives.

    Campbell openly celebrates man's ability to imagine as well as his devotion to ideas. He does not seek to debunk or trivialize the devout (one must be careful to realize this as they read Campbell). His scholarly intent as I see it, is to encourage and nurture the seed of faith inherent in all and encourage everyone to embark on their own heroic adventures of discovery.

    "The Power of Myth" serves as an excellent bibliography of sorts as it lists the many great folktales and religious texts which demand re-reading. Campbell urges his audience to read for themselves and search for their own discoveries.

    If one is searching for a far more in depth study of myth, I cannot praise enough Campbell's excellent "The Hero With A Thousand Faces". As is, "The Power of Myth" is a fine starting point.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Downright troubling in places
    Because this book has a conversational format as it consists of a series of interviews between Campbell and journalist Bill Moyers, there are points where it becomes a bit repetitive. While Campbell makes some important points about the nature of myths and mythology in all human societies, I found that he often seems to overstate the obvious. Indeed, much of what Campbell says about myths, symbols and the human unconscious has already been covered with more intelligence and clarity by psychologist Carl Jung. Campbell generally refrains from discussing modern, political mythology - even though his general argument about the socializing nature of myths would seem to demand consideration of this aspect. Moyers probably meant for these interviews to serve as a showcase for Campbell's philosophy of life and as such he was too indulgent, rarely prodding Campbell to more fully explain some of his views. Thus, we never really get much more than Campbell repeatedly telling us to "follow our bliss." I think 'Sesame Street' communicates a more sophisticated message than that. At other places, Campbell's views are genuinely disturbing. For example, he said it is "totally improper" and even "obscene" to "judge people in terms of civil law for performances that they rendered in time of war." Moyers, once more shirking his journalistic duty, didn't press him on this matter - like asking him his opinion of the Nuremberg trials. To me Campbell's statement reads like a pseudo-philosophical justification for atrocities of all sorts. Whatever Campbell's merits as an expert on myths/mythology, he was far from being a clear-headed philosopher, and this comes out in this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Myth of Good and Evil
    What I like about this book is that Joseph Campbell steps back and looks at the myth of good and evil where he sees that it is as if there are only two forces. To me it's as if there is a belief that one camp must destroy the other camp or be destroyed, where both sides see their side as good. While I believe that evil exists, I do not believe that there are those who are the owners of good and those who are the owners of evil. I think back to Blake's poems of Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience where he turns to whole notion of good and evil on its head.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Joseph was Amazing
    Campbell gets five stars for this one. In his modest, unassuming way, Campbell during Moyers' series often recited from rote memory different myths and how they apply to everyday religion and life. He had the courage to say, "I don't know" when there are so many Christians who are sure they know the answers.
    As the years pass, we will come to respect the true power, love and uniqueness that emanated from this man.

    Jeffrey McAndrew
    author of "Our Brown-Eyed Boy"

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Power to See the World with New Eyes
    In my college years a friend who was a philosophy major introduced me to this video series (the book is a transcript), and over a period of a couple weeks, we spent many coffee fueled nights watching all six videos, interrupted here and there by heated debates and passionate arguments. Afterwards, I felt transformed. This book only scratches the surface of mythology and Joseph Campbell's other works (of which I'm determined to read), but it was a catalyst for me.

    "The Power of Myth" will have you exploring subject matter in anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, philosophy, world literature, history, psychology, religion, and wherever else "your bliss" takes you. I found this book and video series inspirational in the same way that a standard college course ought to be (JC was a professor at Sarah Lawrence College), except that it's much cheaper! Ten years later, I find myself returning to it and discovering new revelations each time.

    Read, watch, listen, explore, and enjoy! ... Read more

    9. Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology (11th Edition)
    by James Spradley, David W. McCurdy
    list price: $42.60
    our price: $42.60
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0205354793
    Catlog: Book (2002-05-09)
    Publisher: Allyn & Bacon
    Sales Rank: 43249
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (1)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent for those new to cultural anthropology
    This is an ideal book to use to try to pull people into the study of cultural anthropology. It successfully stays away from the excessive use of jargon. The articles are short enough that even students with the lowest attention spans can't complain. The articles themselves come from many different angles, and while almost all of them are extremely articulate and well-structured, they also tend to be successful at emotionally engaging the reader. If used in a class, students will respond. ... Read more

    10. China Streetsmart: What You MUST Know to be Effective and Profitable in China
    by John Chan, John L. Chan
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $22.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0130474886
    Catlog: Book (2003-04-14)
    Publisher: Prentice Hall
    Sales Rank: 34263
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Learn how to set up and run profitable businesses in the most alluring market, China.

    • Stays away from theories and focuses on practical advice from real professionals with proven results in China, which is easy to understand and follow.
    • Learn from the best practices of effective China business executives.

    This book is written for professionals by professionals who have worked in China for decades. The book does not stress theory about how business should be done but rather how business is done by some of the most successful business executives in China. The objective of the book is to pass on practical advice on how to be effective and more importantly, profitable in China.

    Almost every foreign company has made mistakes in China and it is the objective of the book to not only show new investors how past mistakes can be prevented but also to help those already in the market learn how other executives handle similar challenges. Real life case studies are also explored in-depth to give investors a better understanding of the challenges one can expect to face and more importantly a way to resolve them.

    China Streetsmart also examines China's outlook to give the investor a balanced view that the attractive opportunities WTO offers must be juxtaposed with the critical challenges such as how to tackle growing unemployment and pervasive corruption. Streetsmart investors are cautious optimists and within every risk there are also great opportunities to be capitalized on. The benefits of investing in China are real. The critical question is not whether one should invest in China but rather how. This book will show you the way.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (9)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Practical Information
    My company division has just started doing business in China. I didn't know where to start and found this book to be a common sense guide to business.

    What I got out of your book was that -- treating people with respect (no matter the difference) is important to being successful and common business sense is common business sense no matter where you do business.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent primer for Governor Arnold Schwartzneggar
    As a resident of the fifth largest economy in the world--California, I found Mr. John Chan's book, China Streetsmart to be truly enlightening. The People's Republic of China (PRC) will soon pass California and will join the ranks of the Global Five.

    Mr. Chan writes in a way, even an actor like Arnold Schwartzneggar could get a handle on the main strategies of doing business in the PRC.

    One truly hopes that Mr. Schwartzneggar will take Mr. Chan's advice and encourage California's businesses to increase trade and invest in the PRC. Mr. Chan's "Deciding the Best Plan of Action" could assist the new governor's tenure in the State of California.

    Should one zig or zag in doing business in China? Mr. Chan has clearly outlined the art of the possible from planning your negotiation, determining your partner, calculating risk and reaping the rewards in today's China.

    This guide is a must for well seasoned business executives and to those who are just getting started in beginning a venture into
    the Chinese marketplace. As Mr. Chan points out in his book, the Chinese saying "where there is danger, there is opportunity" still holds true today. Hopefully, Mr. Schwartzneggar will seize the investment opportunities in China and join Mr. Chan in the real world with this well written Chinese business guide.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A practical approach to developing a global mindset
    A 2001 Jossey-Bass book by Vijay Govindarajan and Anil Gupta titled The Quest for Global Dominance introduced a new MNC lingo, global mindset.Although appearing novel compared with the framework developed around another more widely used term, transnational corporation, brought up a decade earlier by Sumantra and Goshal in Managing Across Borders, global mindset in Govindarajan and Gupta's book is merely differentiated conceptually from the diffused and parochial mindsets. There is little practical guide as to how an MNC or its managers may develop a global mindset.

    The Six China Streetsmart Action Steps provide ready-to-use recipe for developing a winning China mindset. Moreover, they should appeal to managers of any globalizing business as a universal approach to developing a global mindset. Personally I resonnate the most with the chapters on the six action steps. They are full of practical insights, and stimulate my reflection upon my own understanding of the Chinese and Western cultures and their possible interactions. I also like the case study, can't stop fantasizing making a box-office hit similar to the movie Gun Ho. In addition, I am impressed by author's ability to summarize a whole gammit of most relevant and pressing issues on investing in China in a nutshell of the last 50 or so pages, a real practical primer for managers in a hurry.

    I do suspect the views and conclusions in the book biased towards expats,because I feel like guessing a couple alternative views on behalf of some of the Chinese JV managers as well as MNC headquarters staff whom I have encountered. It is also because I don't resist the temptation to put the research methods cap on myself and start to think about focus groups.

    Of the six actions steps I prefer steps 2, 3 and 4 to the other steps for the unique insights and a more elevated discussion on the rationales beyond annecdotes. For example, geographic difference and difference in stage of development are why flexibility and adaptability are in need but not over-standardization. There are areas where the argument could have been made stronger. For example, the management consistency argument could have been strengthened by linking it to guanxi development, being thorough, and the essence of tacit learning process in an ambiguous business environment. Building respect, trust the Chinese way could have been elaborated further for the benefits of the expats. Relatively I got least out of the earlier chapters on guanxi, language and listening, except for the practical guide on local dialects and use of professional translators. While the author makes it quite clear what guanxi is not, the Confucian-based definition of what guanxi is keeps it distant from the reality of institutional arrangement in China, i.e. guanxi cannot be discussed fruitfully outside the nexus of multiple stakeholders whose interests need to be balanced when a bilateral guanxi is engaged or utilized. I find Mr. Lu a fascinating node of the guanxi nexus that hangs over the Portola Packaging case.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Practical and Relevant Guide for Business in China
    Working in a joint venture between a Chinese company and a Canadian company, I can relate to much of the advice John provides in China Streetsmart. I only wish my Canadian company had this resource before establishing our JV 3 years ago. It would have made for a much smoother process on both sides.

    John clearly knows his stuff and combines a great blend of concepts, stories, examples, practical advice and insight into Chinese culture. John's approach is pragmatic and invaluable to anyone considering establishing a business in China or any foreign market.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Indispensable Resource
    After reading China Streetsmart I now have a stronger sense of how to take my North American business to China. It's important to me that the author not give me theory rather something that I can really use. John's unique combination of western background coupled with years of experience on the "front lines" of doing business in China make him an unparalleled authority on how to truly be effective and profitable for anyone that is looking to do business in China. John has taken his personal experiences and to that added stories, both successful and unsuccessful, from other high-level executives to truly give the reader a realistic view of what works and what doesn't work in China and more importantly, why. I really liked the color charts and statistics throughout. I believe this is a must-have resource for anyone looking to start a business in China or enhance an existing China-based business! ... Read more

    11. Encountering the Chinese: A Guide for Americans (The Interact Series)
    by Hu Wenzhong, Cornelius Grove
    list price: $21.95
    our price: $21.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1877864587
    Catlog: Book (1998-11-01)
    Publisher: Intercultural Press
    Sales Rank: 91737
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
    If you are going to China and seek a better understanding of the courtship between East and West, Hu Wenzhong, who is Chinese, and Cornelius Grove, who is American, wrote this culture-bridging book for you. They clearly reveal not only the differences between Chinese culture and the Western culture, but the origin of many of those differences. They explain both history and culture as a context for contemporary social standards, from practical etiquette to how to conduct yourself on a daily basis as you travel, live or work in China. The authors accomplish their explanatory goals, avoid silly generalities and give the visitor just enough knowledge to avoid being completely humiliated. When you read this, you'll have a framework for determining what else you need to learn before you go. Meanwhile we highly recommends this very readable, consistently interesting book.

    4-0 out of 5 stars An overview of what to expect living and working in China.
    This 192 page paperback book is an overview of what to expect for anyone who will be travelling to China to negotiate, work, teach, study, engage in diplomacy, and/or live. Of uniqueness is that this book is co-authored by an American and a Chinese. Together, they bring the insight of Chinese culture together with an American's perspective. As a result, this is one of the better such overview books. ... Read more

    12. Intercultural Competence: Interpersonal Communication Across Cultures (4th Edition)
    by Myron W. Lustig, Jolene Koester
    list price: $67.60
    our price: $67.60
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0321081773
    Catlog: Book (2002-07-08)
    Publisher: Allyn & Bacon
    Sales Rank: 87370
    Average Customer Review: 1 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Striking a unique balance between skills and theory, Intercultural Competence provides readers with the background and confidence to succeed in today's multi-cultural environment. Blending both the practical and the theoretical, the concrete and the abstract, this book is both enjoyable to read and thoroughly researched. By clearly explaining different theories and the significance of cultural patterns and having readers practice what they learn via examples in the book, Intercultural Competence better prepares readers to interact in intercultural relationships. The book also provides a discussion of important ethical and social issues relating to intercultural communication. The authors cover American multiculturalism as well as global cultural issues. For anyone interested in intercultural communication. ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Maximum incompetence.
    Intercultural competence! What a totally inappropriate title for a book, especially when the subject matter is; view points of different cultures. Who gets to decide who is competent and who is not? Would one become competent after they read this book? People who do not agree with the authors, are they incompetent? After the initial shock of the title, I started reading this book, in fact I had to read the whole thing since it was the text book of a class that I was taking. Unfortunately the shock intensified. They define things that are not definable and they categorize things in the most reductionist and mechanistic fashion. Not only that but they don't even use English properly. They ask a question about apples and then give an answer about oranges, not realizing that the question has really no answer and should not be asked to begin with. This book is supposed to be about different points of view but there is nothing in it that would make one understand other cultures. It is all about the extremely narrow and linear point of view of the authors. They explain the simplest concepts in the most convoluted way possible but in reality the information is extremely superficial. They basically name and categorize things and consider them understood. After a few weeks our class turned into 'lets find out how wrong the authors are' class. I must admit after that it was kind of fun. When I asked my teacher as to why she chose this book, thinking perhaps I am missing something, her answer was "because it seems to be quite popular"! So now we are reading books not because of their content but because of their popularity. What a disappointment. ... Read more

    13. Bowling Alone : The Collapse and Revival of American Community
    by Robert D. Putnam
    list price: $16.00
    our price: $10.88
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    Asin: 0743203046
    Catlog: Book (2001-08-07)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Sales Rank: 3145
    Average Customer Review: 4.07 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Once we bowled in leagues, usually after work -- but no longer. This seemingly small phenomenon symbolizes a significant social change that Robert Putnam has identified in this brilliant volume, Bowling Alone, which The Economist hailed as "a prodigious achievement."

    Drawing on vast new data that reveal Americans' changing behavior, Putnam shows how we have become increasingly disconnected from one another and how social structures -- whether they be PTA, church, or political parties -- have disintegrated. Until the publication of this groundbreaking work, no one had so deftly diagnosed the harm that these broken bonds have wreaked on our physical and civic health, nor had anyone exalted their fundamental power in creating a society that is happy, healthy, and safe.

    Like defining works from the past, such as The Lonely Crowd and The Affluent Society, and like the works of C. Wright Mills and Betty Friedan, Putnam's Bowling Alone has identified a central crisis at the heart of our society and suggests what we can do. ... Read more

    Reviews (58)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good Observations, Bad Conclusions
    Putnam's research on the decline of social interaction is extensive, and the book is interesting to read. In Bowling Alone's first nine chapters are graphs showing the chrononical trends for every activity from card-playing to church-going. Putnam shows that Baby Boomers and Generation Xers are significantly less involved in civic activities than their parents and grandparents.

    However, while Bowling Alone does a good job illustrating the loss of community involvement, the last fifteen chapters of the book, which discuss the causes of civic disengagement, and how it can be reversed, are seriously wrong. Just to start, Putnam overlooks many of the events of the last forty years. He pejoratively notes that Americans have become more individualist and distrustful of institutions, but he gives little notice to the Vietnam War, Watergate, the failed War on Poverty, and the inummerable political, corporate, and institutional scandals, which have led to this culture of skepticism.

    Furthermore, the book ignores the role of centralized government and litigiousness in weakening communities. People are less likely to vote or get involved in political affairs because top-down bureaucratic mandates and endless lawsuits have undermined local democracy. Putnam laments the drop in the number of Americans who vote, attend town meetings, or write to their Congressman, but does not realize that much of this apathy is comes from the fact that many Americans perhaps rightly believe that these activities are a waste of time. Why should a person give up several hours of their time to go to a town meeting when any decision of significance made at the meeting may be overturned by a federal judge or blocked by a Washington bureaucrat?

    The whole book is permeated with an irritating longing for Babbitt-like organizationalism. Many American do informally interact with their families, friends, and coworkers, but have absolutely no interest joining a fraternal organization, with its secret handshakes and exclusive membership. Likewise, many Americans do give their time time and money to causes (e.g. environmentalism) that they support, but are unwilling to make donations to large, poorly-run charities who have nebullous goals (e.g., United Way, Red Cross). Unfortunately, Putnam seems to overlook the decentralizing social trends of the last several decades.

    The last two chapters of the book are the absolute worst. He expresses some concern that communitarians need to avoid the 'big-brotherism' of the early twentieth century Progressive movement, but then offers some of his own proposals (e.g., more urban planning, campaign finance reform) which themselves seem heavy-handed.

    In spite of these criticism, I do recommend the book. Public apathy is a serious problem, and though I disagree with some of Putnam's conclusions, the book is informative and well-written.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A paradigm shift in thinking about ourselves
    As an inveterate reader of non-fiction, especially in the social sciences, I can't think of when I last wanted to give an individual book to virtually everyone I know! But that's how I feel about "Bowling Alone" by Robert Putnam. I want to give it to my fellow Girl Guide leaders as we struggle to find ways of maintaining membership among girls today. I want to give it to several friends who work in public health as they talk about ways of improving community health in tough economic times. I want to give it to friends who are parents of teenagers worrying about the future for their children. And I want to give it to friends who don't necessarily fall into any of those categories because it's just such an exciting and stimulating read.
    I should make it clear: That doesn't mean it's an easy read. It's not. Putnam's writing style is clear and remarkably free of sociological jargon, but this is still reading you have to work at. The book is full of graphs, charts, tables and results of countless sociological studies. That's part of what I really liked about it. It's not just one man's opinion, no matter how interesting that opinion might be. Every single conclusion Putnam draws is copiously backed up with facts and evidence from the many studies. It's also challenging reading because there are so many conclusions that make you stop and think, and challenge the ways we've all thought about our communities and what's changed about them and what's gone wrong with them in the past 20 or 30 years.
    Much of the criticism of Putnam's work has been that he just wants to turn the clock back to the days of "Leave it to Beaver" and "Father Knows Best." I don't think that's true. He recognizes clearly that those days in the '50s and '60s when the sense of community was at its highest also had their own problems -- racism, classism, and gender inequality among them. He doesn't want to return to that.
    Rather what I see him challenging us all to do is to build on the much greater tolerance we've built up today, and try to combine that with a renewed sense of community with all the benefits that could bring.
    I think it's a challenge that should be taken up by every single community in North America.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Enlightening, if rather dry
    Putnam's book presents a detailed look at the decline in overall social participation by Americans over the past half-century. From an analytical perspective, it is an impressive work, demonstrating clearly the general decrease in membership in social groups of both a formal and informal nature amongst Americans, then proposing and evaluating possible explanations. One thing I found strange was that, perhaps in an effort to avoid partisan issues and the like, the book doesn't look as much as it perhaps ought into the rather intense political changes over this period and consider how they may have altered prevailing attitudes.

    The book is a bit too academic to make for a compelling read, though, and runs a bit dull in spots. I found myself wishing for some more pedestrian discussion; some of the brief anecdotes in the book, like the one about the man who found himself a kidney donor through a bowling league, are quite interesting, and leave you wishing there were more of them.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An important book worthy of your attention!!!!
    Robert Putnam has written one of the most important books I have read in a long, long time. When was the last time you called a friend or associate and proposed going out to a ballgame or a show only to be rebuffed because there was a game on TV that night? And how many times has that sort of thing happened to you? "Bowling Alone" discusses the reasons why so many people have become isolated and out of touch with family and friends. The reasons are myriad. Obviously, the aforementioned "boob tube" is a major contributing factor. But as Putnam discusses there are so many more reasons. The go-go 24 hour a day economy has robbed us all of much of our leisure time. And even when we do manage to get some time off everyone else we know is probably working. In addition, our society's seemingly endless quest for "personal fulfillment" has made people withdraw into themselves. Given all of the choices we are now presented with in media and other activities, there are fewer and fewer common experiences we can share at the watercooler.
    Putnam also laments the decline of the various fraternal organizations that sprang up in the first quarter of the twentieth century. Groups like the Elks, the Knights of Columbus and the VFW are all struggling to survive. No one joins groups like these anymore and that is really a shame. Our communities are the big losers because the services provided by these organizations have either disappeared or have had to be assumed by the government.
    This is an extremely thought provoking book. Putnam certainly diagnoses the problems and offers up some solutions. But these problems are not easily solved. If the events of 9/11 did not wake us all up, then one has to wonder if anything will.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Get Up. Get Into It, Get Involved
    This is a powerhouse study on a subject that would hardly seem worthy of such attention to many Americans. However, most people, other than extremists and misanthropes, probably have nagging worries about America's plummeting levels of public participation, volunteerism, and civic engagement. This concept of "social capital" is Putnam's specialty. The reasons for America's collapsing social capital are many and varied, and Putnam takes us on an intricately considered and very heavily researched study into the causes and effects of this phenomenon. You are unlikely to see a more intensively documented and supported study than this. Like a true scientist Putnam knows that there are no easy answers, and that there are highly varied causes and effects. Also in a manner quite refreshing for social observation treatises of this type, Putnam freely admits that he doesn't have all the answers, that the data is sometimes missing or contradictory, and consistently invites readers to form their own conclusions.

    Critics of this book often fail to see the big picture and tend to dwell on doubtful statistics in that old can't-see-the-forest-for-the-trees fashion. There are many examples of questionable stats in the book. One that I noticed was the contention in Chapter 6 that sit-down restaurants are decreasing in number. Putnam backs up the claim with data published by the National Restaurant Association, but that organization may be interested in downplaying their numbers in return for business opportunities. There are many doubtful examples like this, but in the long run Putnam's argument is an incredibly persuasive one. He convincingly demonstrates that time and financial pressures, suburban sprawl, mass communications, political ideology, and especially TV are all culprits in the problem; with appreciable effects on crime, education, voting, public health, and even neighborly politeness.

    Putnam's data-intensive writing style and huge mountains of documentation and evidence lead to some readability issues, especially repetitive information overload. But in the end, it is very hard to escape his conclusions about the worrisome decline of American social capital, and he wraps up the book with great examples of why we should care. When you're done with this illuminating book, don't vegetate in front of the TV, but go out and do something for your community. [~doomsdayer520~] ... Read more

    14. Spa
    by Allison Arieff, Bryan Burkhart, Deborah Bishop, Adrienne Arieff, Irene Ricasio Edwards
    list price: $39.99
    our price: $26.39
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 3822858900
    Catlog: Book (2004-11)
    Publisher: Taschen
    Sales Rank: 43264
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Seventh heaven

    Nothing could be more luxurious, pleasurable, or refreshing than pampering yourself in a sumptuous spa. The best ones are designed to look and feel like paradise—and they do. In this book, you’ll discover the most exceptional historical, thermal, thalassic, wellness & health, resort, new age, adventure, day, and hotel spas around the world—from Paris to South Africa, Bangkok to Texas—beautifully photographed and accompanied by pricing, service, and contact information. Use the book to scout out your ideal spa-destination and take yourself one step closer to nirvana. ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A lovely book filled with photos and ideas
    Nothing is more lovely or inviting than a spa, and the best mimic pools and lovely outdoors environments. Whether you're a traveler seeking the ultimate spa or a homeowner seeking ideas for reproducing paradise in your own backyard, Spa is the book of choice for locating both ideas and destinations. Spas around the world, from resorts and hotel spas to, are profiled and packed into a lovely book filled with photos and ideas. Spa prices and services will appeal to destination-oriented travelers, while the extensive color shots of spa surroundings, both interior and exterior, offer plenty of ideas for homeowners who would create smaller versions of paradise.
    ... Read more

    15. The Human Mosaic, Ninth Edition : A Thematic Introduction to Cultural Geography
    by Terry G. Jordan-Bychkov, Mona Domosh
    list price: $92.95
    our price: $92.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0716739062
    Catlog: Book (2002-07-31)
    Publisher: W. H. Freeman
    Sales Rank: 170755
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (2)

    3-0 out of 5 stars informative but biased
    I took courses with Dr. Lester Rowntree during 1981 and 1990 at San Jose State University. I found him to be very knowledgeable except about Islam. This textbook which is co-authored by Dr. Rowntree contains misleading or inaccurate statements about Islam. For example, It stated in page 180 and 181 (fourth edition), that Islam spread by militaristic conquests while christianity spread by contact conversion. This is not accurate. In page 185 the authors contended that, despite the Muslims belief, the black stone in the Holy Mosque in Mecca is a meteorite. In the next page the authors stated, under the picture of the Ka'aba, that pilgrims come from afar to Mecca, for they believe that the black stone was sent down from heaven by Allah, the Islamic god. The problems with this understatement are, first: Muslims believe that Allah is the personal name of God the creator and lord of all creatures not just Muslims; second: Muslims come to Mecca not for the sake of the black stone, but because they were commanded in the Holy Quran to perform Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetimes. It is also appropriate to mention that the pilgrimage was first initiated at the time of the prophets Abraham and his son Ismail who built the Holy Mosque in Mecca long before the advent of Islam. Unlike the case with Judaism in page 191 this book ignored, in pages 192-193, the fact that the Islamic taboo on eating pork meat was also decreed by devine revelation in the Holy Quran. It stated that it was a "sour grapes" reaction to the inability of the Muslim nomads to raise and own pigs. Professor Rowntree and his co-author also stated in page 193 that in the seventh century A.D., the Muslim nomads imposed their religion, complete with the pork taboo, on the farming people of the river valleys as a final "revenge". In conclusion, this is a very informative and useful book. However, on behalf of the one billion Muslims in the world today, I strongly suggest rewriting the parts dealing with the Islamic culture. Thank you in advavce.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I give it 2 "horns" up
    I am currently enrolled in Professor Terry Jordan-Bychkov's Cultural Geography class, and the book is basically a culmination of his travels all over the world. The majority of the pictures in the book were personally taken by Professor Jordan himself, and it makes the class even more interesting. Professor Jordan's love for Geography emulates throughout the entire book, and it is easy to read as a result. The book is set in very vivid outlines, so it is easy to follow, and each chapter builds upon one another to form the, in words frequently used by Professor Jordan, the "Human Mosiac." The book is intersting, easy reading, and the class is even better. For those of you former, future, or current Longhorns, I HIGHLY reccommend the class; for those of you who cannot have the opportunity to learn from such a brilliant and cultured man, the book is the next best thing ... Read more

    16. The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream
    by Jeremy Rifkin
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $16.35
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1585423459
    Catlog: Book (2004-08-19)
    Publisher: Jeremy P. Tarcher
    Sales Rank: 895
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    Book Description

    The American Dream is in decline. Americans are increasingly overworked, underpaid, and squeezed for time. But there is an alternative: the European Dream-a more leisurely, healthy, prosperous, and sustainable way of life. Europe's lifestyle is not only desirable, argues Jeremy Rifkin, but may be crucial to sustaining prosperity in the new era.

    With the dawn of the European Union, Europe has become an economic superpower in its own right-its GDP now surpasses that of the United States. Europe has achieved newfound dominance not by single-mindedly driving up stock prices, expanding working hours, and pressing every household into a double- wage-earner conundrum. Instead, the New Europe relies on market networks that place cooperation above competition; promotes a new sense of citizenship that extols the well-being of the whole person and the community rather than the dominant individual; and recognizes the necessity of deep play and leisure to create a better, more productive, and healthier workforce.

    From the medieval era to modernity, Rifkin delves deeply into the history of Europe, and eventually America, to show how the continent has succeeded in slowly and steadily developing a more adaptive, sensible way of working and living. In The European Dream, Rifkin posits a dawning truth that only the most jingoistic can ignore: Europe's flexible, communitarian model of society, business, and citizenship is better suited to the challenges of the twenty-first century. Indeed, the European Dream may come to define the new century as the American Dream defined the century now past.
    ... Read more

    17. Not By Genes Alone : How Culture Transformed Human Evolution
    by Peter J. Richerson, Robert Boyd
    list price: $30.00
    our price: $20.40
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0226712842
    Catlog: Book (2004-12-31)
    Publisher: University Of Chicago Press
    Sales Rank: 4332
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Humans are a striking anomaly in the natural world. While we are similar to other mammals in many ways, our behavior sets us apart. Our unparalleled ability to adapt has allowed us to occupy virtually every habitat on earth using an incredible variety of tools and subsistence techniques. Our societies are larger, more complex, and more cooperative than any other mammal's. In this stunning exploration of human adaptation, Peter J. Richerson and Robert Boyd argue that only a Darwinian theory of cultural evolution can explain these unique characteristics.

    Not by Genes Alone offers a radical interpretation of human evolution, arguing that our ecological dominance and our singular social systems stem from a psychology uniquely adapted to create complex culture. Richerson and Boyd illustrate here that culture is neither superorganic nor the handmaiden of the genes. Rather, it is essential to human adaptation, as much a part of human biology as bipedal locomotion. Drawing on work in the fields of anthropology, political science, sociology, and economics--and building their case with such fascinating examples as kayaks, corporations, clever knots, and yams that require twelve men to carry them--Richerson and Boyd convincingly demonstrate that culture and biology are inextricably linked, and they show us how to think about their interaction in a way that yields a richer understanding of human nature.

    In abandoning the nature-versus-nurture debate as fundamentally misconceived, Not by Genes Alone is a truly original and groundbreaking theory of the role of culture in evolution and a book to be reckoned with for generations to come.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great article in NY Times
    The Science section for 5/10/05 had a great review and discussion of this book and its concepts.Made me order toot sweet.


    3-0 out of 5 stars Gently bashing the straw man
    Some years ago, Richard Dawkins published "The Selfish Gene", explaining how gene survival was fundamental in natural selection.He also coined the term "meme" to explain the dissemination of ideas across societies.Almost immediately, there was a strident chorus of objection, based on the theme of "you can't say that about humans!"The outcry hasn't ceased, but in the case of Richerson and Boyd, it's become somewhat muted.This book is designed to gently persuade you that human evolution rests on a solid "cultural" base.Biology is under there somewhere, but for humanity, cultural impact overwhelms our genetic roots.

    The authors would like to abandon the dichotomy of what's usually referred to as the "nature versus nurture" debate.That's admirable, but not only has that contest been challenged elsewhere, finding anyone adhering to either position as an absolute is difficult, if not impossible.Who claims "genes" are the sole behaviour drive?Not even religions, the most dogmatic element in our society, any longer label infants as "blank slates" to be moulded at will.Individuality and expression may be curtailed, but not constrained.Yet that curtailment, even if only mindless imitation, is the foundation of this book.Instead of the chaos of individual response to environmental pressures, "culture" guides behaviour to the extent that groups become predictable in their activities.For them, "culture" is a sort of behavioural umbrella keeping families and small communities from unravelling the fabric of society.

    Richerson and Boyd gather a wide spectrum of studies to erect their cultural edifice.They examine studies of social animals, scrutinise the grim world of economics and wonder how it is that of all species, human beings filled nearly every environmental niche.They accept the complexity of human society as naturally hierarchical.That organisation, coupled with a strong imitative/cooperative sense enabled our species to readily adapt to so many ecological niches.Where some say, "If it works, don't fix it!", Richerson and Boyd counter, "If it works, imitate it!"Human beings, they contend, are better imitators than other species because we can judge long-term impacts of actions.This talent, coupled with language, provides our unique adaptability in varied environments.We can test for success and pass our findings to our neighbours.This gives groups within our species both unique abilities and the means to improve them.Not all of humanity is but one culture.It's a melange of groups, each culture representing a regional or social norm.

    "Group selection" is the offshoot of an older, flawed, evolutionary concept - "species selection".With the idea of "species selection" quickly demonstrated as false, group selection arose to replace it.A close look at group selection reveals that it's but another mechanism to keep humanity separated from the remainder of the animal kingdom.If you downplay any similarities between us and other beasts, you are able to retain a "divine spark" or other metaphysical notions for humanity.And only humanity.Richerson and Boyd's use of animal behaviour studies to ameliorate this distinction are a welcome addition to social studies.However, these examples are carefully selected and interpreted by the authors.They aren't set in an evolutionary context, but are given solely as a contrast to the also carefully chosen aspects of human behaviour.The book raises a number of interesting questions, but answers few of them satisfactorily.[stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]

    4-0 out of 5 stars Evolution's Trajectory
    I purchased "Not by Genes Alone" because it promised to further develop the concept of `evolution's trajectory' explored in chapters 11 & 12 of my book, "Concepts: A ProtoTheist Quest for Science-Minded Skeptics." The concept of evolution's trajectory is an expansion of the idea that we are a `hybrid species' which I first came across in reading Merlin Donald's "A Mind So Rare." For example, just as the spider's web is an extension of, and essential to, the spider; our culture is an extension of, and essential to, us. Spiders' organisms co-evolved along with their webs, one just as important as the other, as a kind of hybrid. So too our organism co-evolved along with our culture; `culture' defined, not only as language, music &c, but as tools (clothing, shelter, weapons and other artifacts) and social institutions. So we need to view human evolution as a hybrid, not just in our organism but also in our culture, which now is `evolving' at an accelerating rate in runaway materialism. But whereas spiders and their webs evolved by random variation, we largely `invent' the variations in our culture. Thus we're now more or less in charge of our evolution; evolution is no longer `blind', we can be evolution's `eyes'.We now have the potential to direct evolution's trajectory.

    Richerson & Boyd in their "Not by Genes Alone" use a narrower definition of culture: "Culture is information capable of affecting individuals' behavior that they acquire from other members of their species through teaching, imitation, and other forms of social transmission." (p.5) "Culture is ... stored and manipulated in human brains." (p.7) Eventho later they use the caption "Technology is culture, not environment" (p.29) their principal focus is on the social aspects of culture. Their thesis is that genes and culture co-evolve. "In the short run, cultural evolution, partly driven by ancient and tribal social instincts [in genes] and partly by selection among culturally variable groups, gave rise to the institutions we observe. In the longer run, cultural evolutionary processes create an environment that led to the evolution of uniquely human social instincts [in genes]." (p.235)

    But Richerson & Boyd seem to largely ignore the technical aspects of our culture which today are evolving at an accelerating rate much faster than, and driving the evolution of, the social aspects. On the one hand, how do our Pleistocene instincts (genes) equip us to use artifacts such as cars, computers and cell-phones, and on the other hand, how can these artifacts lead to the evolution of new instincts (genes) in such a short evolutionary timescale? The first answer may be the plasticity of our neocortex, especially in youth. The second answer may come from future technology that will develop and install new genes in humans which equip us to better deal with our accelerating technology.

    Another quibble: Richerson & Boyd, as do many authors, explain altruism by kin-selection and reciprocity, but fail to credit the desire of some individuals to improve humans' understanding and circumstances. Yet they themselves in writing this book are advancing human understanding, perhaps to some extent for selfish reasons such as prestige &c, but also for altruist reasons having little to do with kin-selection and reciprocity, nor presumably with attracting mates.

    So "Not by Genes Alone" is worth reading to understand the co-evolution of genes and social culture, but doesn't provide much insight to help us direct the more crucial technical aspects of evolution's trajectory. We live in interesting times, perhaps on the cusp of a radical shift in our culture.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Homo Sapiens 101
    In the concluding pages of this book, Richerson and Boyd observe that universities have introductory courses in psychology, sociology, economics and political science in which students "are encouraged to think that the study of humans can be divided into isolated chunks corresponding to these historical fields." There is, however, no Homo Sapiens 1 or 101, "a complete introduction to the whole problem of understanding human behavior." The authors note that the chief reason no such course exist is "that the key integrative fields have not yet developed in the social sciences" and that "a proper evolutionary theory of culture should make a major contribution to the unification of the social sciences. Not only does it allow a smooth integration of the human sciences with the rest of biology, it also provides a framework for linking the human sciences to one another." I believe that such an evolutionary theory can and should integrate the social sciences with each other and biology and that this book could and should serve as the foundational text for Homo Sapiens 101.

    There are dozens of books available employing evolutionary thinking to humans, the large majority of which do not offer a "proper evolutionary theory" because they neglect the most obvious and unique feature of our species--our culture, information affecting behavior acquired from other humans through social transmission. This failure results from a steadfast dedication to accounting for human behavior in terms of principles applicable to the prosocial behavior of other species, kin selection and reciprocity. In an attempt to not stray from "orthodox" neo-Darwinism, neo-Darwinians have failed to fully acknowledge, let alone explain, the most salient feature of our species--a fact that "social contructivists" use to dismiss evolutionary theory. Richerson and Boyd recognize the "ancient social instincts" of kin altruism and reciprocity but they also acknowledge and give appropriate attention to what they call the "tribal social instincts." These instincts, which probably emerged during the dramatic climate variations of the late Pleistocene, allow members of our species to identify with, dedicate themselves to, and take normative direction from, groups of people that include hundreds to thousands of people beyond kin and friends. These tribal instincts are accommodated in complex societies such as our own through "work-arounds," institutions such as religious organizations, political parties, voluntary associations and other symbolically marked groups that exploit our inclination toward particularistic community attachment. Originally, though, these instincts coevolved in a ratcheting process with our language, capacity for perspective taking, morality, religion and "culture" broadly conceived. We are a thoroughly unique groupish species and the only species on which group selection of cultural variants has played a role. As Richerson and Boyd argue, genes and culture have coevolved within our species. Culture has been primary in the environment selecting features of our genotype. Those humans incapable of cooperating in tribal settings were ostracized and were unlikely to find mates. They were less likely than cooperators to survive and reproduce. Culture has molded our genetic make-up just as our genes have directed the development of our culture.

    I do not have space here to outline Richerson and Boyd's theory of cultural evolution beyond noting that population thinking plays as prominent a role as it did in Darwin's thought. I can say that unlike their landmark book, Culture and the Evolutionary Process (1985), this book is accessible to any adult with a three digit IQ. I can also note that the authors are both modest and civil toward those with whom they disagree--characteristics that portray their training in the natural sciences instead of the social sciences. They are quick to acknowledge when empirical evidence is currently lacking to substantiate claims they are making, and they are always generous to their intellectual opponents. For example, they acknowledge Richard Dawkin's contributions to evolutionary theory, while demonstrating the deficiencies of his "meme" theory of culture; they faithfully reproduce the arguments of evolutionary psychologists concerning domain-specific mental modules, while showing the dangers of overly-adaptationist accounts of our mental mechanisms; and in their discussions of various religious groups--Mormons, Catholics, the Amish, Hutterites, and the earliest Christians--Richerson and Boyd are deeply respectful of religious believers, something utterly missing in the writings of non-believers such as Richard Dawkins. This respectful attitude issues not from an impulse to pander but, rather, from an appreciation for our species-wide groupish tendencies and the accomplishments of symbolically marked groups, religious and otherwise.

    Perhaps the largest contribution this book will make if it attains the number of readers it deserves is that it provides Darwinians and social constuctivists in the social sciences and the humanities grounds for common discussion and possible agreement. This is no small feat given the tendency of these symbolically marked groups to deem their in-group members angelic and those in the out-group moronic, if not demonic.
    Brad Lowell Stone
    ... Read more

    18. Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology
    by Kenneth L. Feder
    list price: $35.62
    our price: $35.62
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 076742722X
    Catlog: Book (2001-07-11)
    Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
    Sales Rank: 49113
    Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Ancient astronauts? Atlantis? Psychic archaeology? Committed to the scientific investigation of human antiquity, this indispensable supplementary text uses interesting archaeological hoaxes, myths, and mysteries to show how we can truly know things about the past through science. ... Read more

    Reviews (10)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Guide to Reason vs. Faith in Archeology
    Kenneth Feder has collected a whooole bunch of examples of funny hoaxes and archaeological misadventure in this curiously good book. Read about the Cardiff Giant scam, the Piltdown man hoax, Noah's ark tomfoolery and fakery, the slippery slope of Creationist craziness, Atlantis Atrophy, the Shredded evidence for the Shroud of Turin, and more!

    Feder's volume is interesting, stimulating, and even if you are a well read skeptic, you will probably learn something new. I personally was reminded how easy it is to fool people who want to believe something and aren't moved to investigate or challenge the beliefs they are comfortable with. The gist of the book seems to be that people who rely mostly upon faith can end up believing just about anything, while those who are inclined to question and test new information via logic, scientific methods, and common sense are more likely to actually uncover the facts for themselves, doing away with faith altogether.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding for archeology and skeptic enthusiats
    This is an outstanding book written as a result of the author's own reading in the paranormal genre. Kenneth Feder points out how believable he found "The Morning of the Magicians" until it wandered into his own field of expertise: archeology. After comparing notes with chemists, physicists, historians, etc. he found the same response-- that such books seem perfectly logical--at least in areas in which one has no knowledge.

    All the big name hoaxes are here: the Cardiff Giant, Piltdown Man, the Shroud of Turin; but presented in a way that's fresh for the initiated and straight forward for the budding archeologist; and since he's writing as an archeologist, Feder never lapses into the bitter sarcasm so common to skeptical writers.

    There are surprises: who knew one of the largest pyramids in the world was in St. Louis, or that the Shroud of Turin was declared a fake in 1359? Above all Feder's love of archeology and sincere delight in the real mysteries of the past should make this book required reading for anyone interested in human history.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Will the "real" pseudoscientists please stand up?
    Kenneth Feder, apparently a self-proclaimed authority on everything archaeological and areas that are around the fringe, continues his startling pseudoscientific blunders in the new edition of this book. In line with the now-disproven "Clovis-First" doctrine that dominated American archaeologists, Feder has long asserted that all Native Americans came from Asia. Of course, both the "Clovis-First" and Asian origin have been shown to be false beliefs maintained by a purported "science" apparently functioning more like a religion than a science. His book, like Stephen Williams' equally-flawed competitor book, is a fun read, partially because it reads like an absolute authority pointing out how stupid those are who disagree. The fundamental blunders in the book, crossing into the realm of what medical practitioners and juries would call "malpractice," are best pointed out by his references to the psychic Edgar Cayce.
    Feder makes several references to Cayce including the assertion that Cayce had "Atlantean texts" that enabled him to "predict the future and effect cures on terminally ill people." Feder lists two references with this assertion giving it an air of authority. In 2001 I asked Feder to check out where these references made that asertion. After a brief time, Feder replied that he "had no idea" whatsoever where these claims were made and couldn't tell me where the idea originated. In brief, Edgar Cayce never claimed to have Atlantean texts and never claimed that he could cure the terminally ill. Like Stephen Williams, Feder blindly quotes from previous skeptics (gullible pseudoscientists blindly following pseudoauthority) without actually verifying facts. Like Williams, Feder makes an inexcusable blunder-either purposefully or from the skeptic's gullibility. That inexcusable blunder is this: Feder believes that Edgar Evans Cayce, author of several books on Atlantis, is Edgar Cayce the psychic. Edgar Evans Cayce was Edgar Cayce's son. Edgar Cayce, the psychic, never wrote books. But Feder asserts that the psychic Edgar Cayce saw "his paranormal abilities fail him terribly" when "Cayce obtained information from another plane of reality informing him" that Piltdown man (Eoanthropus) was from Atlantis. Feder concludes that "Apparently, Cayce's other-worldly sources were not aware that the whole thing had been a fake." The facts about this are simple: Edgar Cayce the psychic never mentioned Piltdown man or Eoanthropus. But in one of (Cayce's son) Edgar Evans Cayce's books he mentioned them. Apparently, Feder's skeptical sources never mentioned to him that they actually couldn't tell the difference between Cayce the psychic and his son. And apparently, actual facts aren't important in Feder's book. What is important is the agenda and religious doctrine being pushed down gullible archaeology students' throats by self-proclaimed authorities. It is likely that in the future psuedoscientific editions of both Feder's and William's books, they will continue the deceptions.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Bad science bashing bad science
    In the very first pages of his substandard work, Mr. Feder tells us how he became interested in archaeological hoaxes. He says that he was reading a book called 'Morning of the Magicians' which unveiled evidence of the paranormal using shoddy science, bad fact-finding, and outright lies. Unfortunately, Mr. Feder is guilty of the same sins he denounces in chapter one.

    Admittedly, the content of the first several chapters on revealed hoaxes is interesting and educational, and his sound debunking of psychic archaeology is an excellent example of how skepticism can help us all live a better life free from toll-free 800 hucksters. Unfortunately, this same skepticism dismisses any of the more interesting and plausible theories about how ancient life was lived and apparently gives him license to make false claims about false claims.

    In addition to his outright fictions, Mr. Feder plays amateur psychologist when he ascribes motive to the frauds of yesteryear (nationalism or money). Amusingly, he also talks about why today's frauds are as popular as they are. About halfway through the book you suddenly realize that Mr. Feder feels bad that he's white, since he says that most of these myths are the result of racial supremacy. I certainly hope Mr. Feder gets over his whiteness soon, otherwise we may have to tolerate 5/e of this book written entirely in Ebonics.

    I am a bit reluctant to point out one of the fictions that I found, as they will undoubtedly allow others to accuse me of being too religious in my motivations for a lukewarm review. However, one of the errors I found relates to the Book of Mormon. Mr. Feder states that this book says that the Moundbuilders were from Israel. The Moundbuilders post-date the alleged timeframe of the Book of Mormon by some 1000 years, so it would be very difficult for it to discuss these individuals. Further, a search of this book reveals no mentions of mounds or Moundbuilders at all. (I will admit there are a few Mormons that think this is the case, but it's certianly not directly mentioned in the book, as Feder represents it). If he can't be careful enough to check this fact during the past four runs of his book, I'll have to use his own skeptical logic to conclude that he's either a bad researcher or a liar, neither of which is a comforting option when the book purports to tell the truth.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Superlative
    A superlative journey to the edges of reason and beyond with a witty and knowledgable guide. As the claims of self-styled "alternative" historians of the ancient past gain more and more publicity, it is excellent to encounter such a balanced and well-reasoned antidote to their poison. Particularly useful is to realize that the supposedly "new" theories of the likes of Graham Hancock(who is not addressed in the book, unfortunately) are, in reality, little more than recycled flim-flam from earlier speculative and paranormal movements.

    One previous reviewer brands the book "too sceptical," which is nonsense. Feder actually subscribes to the Theran theory for the origins of the Atlantis myth (which I personally do not), but the investigative process by which he reaches this conclusion is clearly charted in the text. He is no dogmatist, dismissing ideas out of hand. He carefully presents the cases for and against various claims and exposes flaws based on a comparison with the observable evidence and archaeological procedure. In any case, it is also hard to see how one could be "too sceptical" about claims that aliens built the pyramids.

    An excellent read. Highly recommended to any with an interest in "alternative" archaeology, esp. if you've tended to believe such "theories" in the past. ... Read more

    19. The Third Chimpanzee : The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal
    by Jared M. Diamond
    list price: $15.00
    our price: $10.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060984031
    Catlog: Book (1992-12-02)
    Publisher: Perennial
    Sales Rank: 2950
    Average Customer Review: 4.47 out of 5 stars
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    Jared Diamond states the theme of his book up-front: "How the human species changed, within a short time, from just another species of big mammal to a world conqueror; and how we acquired the capacity to reverse all that progress overnight." The Third Chimpanzee is, in many ways, a prequel to Diamond's prize-winning Guns, Germs, and Steel. While Guns examines "the fates of human societies," this work surveys the longer sweep of human evolution, from our origin as just another chimpanzee a few million years ago. Diamond writes:

    It's obvious that humans are unlike all animals. It's also obvious that we're a species of big mammal down to the minutest details of our anatomy and our molecules. That contradiction is the most fascinating feature of the human species.

    The chapters in The Third Chimpanzee on the oddities of human reproductive biology were later expanded in Why Is Sex Fun? Here, they're linked to Diamond's views of human psychology and history.

    Diamond is officially a physiologist at UCLA medical school, but he's also one of the best birdwatchers in the world. The current scientific consensus that "primitive" humans created ecological catastrophes in the Pacific islands, Australia, and the New World owes a great deal to his fieldwork and insight. In Diamond's view, the current global ecological crisis isn't due to modern technology per se, but to basic weaknesses in human nature. But, he says, "I'm cautiously optimistic. If we will learn from our past that I have traced, our own future may yet prove brighter than that of the other two chimpanzees."--Mary Ellen Curtin ... Read more

    Reviews (57)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and important book...
    After trying to read _Guns, Germs, and Steel_, I found this book, surprisingly, easier to get interested in and understand. Not that it's simpler or dumbed-down!

    The book tries to answer the questions of what it means to be human, and how we are different from other life forms. This might sound like a cliché, but as Diamond delves into ethics, sex, history, evolution, and drug abuse, and comes out with his grim but guardedly optimistic conclusions, it seems apparent to me, at least, that what he is saying is of utmost importance to everyone in the world.

    Having read the book _Ishmael_, by Daniel Quinn, a few years ago, I wonder if Diamond's thinking could actually be improved by being combined with Quinn's. Diamond suggests that, when prehistoric societies drove certain animals to extinction, they were acting out a human tendency to be destructive to our local environments that is simply horribly intensified today. Quinn suggests that some of those prehistoric societies were not particularly more destructive than other animals, and for the same reasons; while other, more civilized societies had the tendency to be destructive because of their cultures' inclinations, and passed this tendency on to us, their cultural descendants.

    Of course, if Quinn is correct, our culture must be changed, a daunting task; while if Diamond is correct, the solution is unclear. He suggests that we may in fact be learning to change our behavior, in our own self-interest. I don't see much evidence of this offhand. (Although recent books by Paul Hawken and Ray C. Anderson suggest that business can be reformed in a way that's good both economically and ecologically; they're next on my reading list!) Quinn and Diamond alike offer a very cautious hope for our ecological future: that we may learn from the errors of the past and change our behavior accordingly.

    But how easy it is to sit and type platitudes about the fate of all human life! Read the book; I'm going to reread it myself, in order to thoroughly take in its meaning. If anyone is interested in discussing these topics, please email me.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Captivating Work
    I read this book just after I finished GGS and at some aspects, I liked it even more than the much celebrated GGS.

    At each chapter of the Third Chimpanzee we learn a totally new subject in the Jared Diamond style: a well-thought synthesis, a simple and organized presentation. Every other twenty pages was a new adventure for me.

    Obviously, this might not be the case for other readers that are more acquainted with evolution readings, and obviously I need a lot to learn before I can decide their authenticity but I found his ideas on subjects like extraterrestrial life and evolution of drug abuse very original and provoking. I also found his narration of the issues of Indo-European Languages spreading, mate selection, animal art and genocide very moving and comprehensive.

    A surprise for me was that this book tells the main concept of GGS thoroughly in just two chapters. Given the occasionally criticized redundancy and large volume of GGS, I might humbly suggest a prospective reader of Diamond who has limited time to read this book instead of GGS. For sure, GGS gives a much better and extensive treatise of the concept and it is also a must read book for anybody who wants to put a perspective to human history. Third Chimpanzee also gives a perspective to human psychology and I sincerely recommend it to anybody interested in these two subjects.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking
    This is a very worthwhile read for anyone interested in how man differs and does not differ from the rest of the animal kingdom (particularly the great apes). Since the book is already over ten years old, it is a bit weak on new advances in genetics and does not seem to be up-to-date on the Clovis debate about the peopling of the Americas (new genetic data showing that the entrance was probably earlier than the assumed 12,000 years ago). However, the bulk of the book is a very mind-broadening, timeless view of homo sapiens and this species conquest of the entire planet. The history that Diamond portrays does not augur well for mankind: habitual destruction of the environment; mass extinctions of other species; increasingly limited genetic diversity in the human species; the propensity for genocide. In short, Diamond shows that man has a history of selfishly expanding its population to the detriment of the very environment upon which he depends and that this proclivity could someday spell the end of the species as our numbers continue to rise. Some sobering facts are offered here; and open minds should recognize them and heed them.

    I only give the book four stars for two reasons:
    1) As mentioned, the part on genetics is partially out of date and should be made current in a further edition.
    2) Diamond has a number of annoying tendencies that are sometimes frustrating: I grew weary of his "Outer Space" perspectives (i.e., the paleontologist from Outer Space, the archaeologist from Outer Space, the biologist from Outer Space), as if the reader were incapable of standing back and gaining perspective on his own species without this trick. Also, he piqued my curiosity on a number of subjects that he promised to cover in detail later. When thse subjects finally came, there were often more questions than answers.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely FASCINATING!!!
    Jared Diamond has to be one of my favorite authors. I could hardly put this book down! After reading "Guns, Germs and Steel," and "Why is Sex Fun?", "The Third Chimpanzee" has also proven to be yet another brilliant work by the author. He asks questions and looks at angles that are fascinating and provide almost endless food-for-thought. He approaches his subjects with open-mindedness and a true desire to uncover the truth.
    Human evolution and early human history is a mysterious subject with much of the pieces missing, simply because of how long ago it happened and the lifestyle of those early humans. Yet it is such an important subject-- to understand WHAT homo sapiens really are, how we fit in with the other members of our family tree, how we got to be the way we are. Mr. Diamond applies his experience with hunter-gatherer New Guinian peoples to try to fill in these gaping holes. For thousands of years, all humans lived as hunter-gatherers, yet today it is a lifestyle that is becoming increasingly rare. He also provides insight into our physical evolution, sexual and reproductive evolution, the evolution of language and communication, and how our closest current relatives --the chimps and gorillas-- differ from and are similar to us. He also discusses what he terms "our Great Leap Forward"-- the point were we stopped being pre-human and started being (mentally and behaviorly) modern.
    If you are at all interested in early human history and the "whys" and "hows" of many of our "human" characteristics, then this book is for you. You'll find Mr. Diamond's open, honest approach refreshing and easy to follow. Excellent book on understanding what it means to be human, and how we got that way.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An amazing puzzle of a book
    Challenges the intellect and provokes deep thought. ... Read more

    20. Racial and Ethnic Relations (7th Edition)
    by Joe R. Feagin, Clairece Booher Feagin
    list price: $91.00
    our price: $91.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0130995339
    Catlog: Book (2002-06-18)
    Publisher: Prentice Hall
    Sales Rank: 338542
    Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    This book is based on theory—and the most recent 2000 Census data available—to present an informed exploration of the diversity, depth, and significance of racial and ethnic relations in the United States.It is organized by racial-ethnic groups—rather than by issues, and draws heavily on a broad range of research sources that dig deep into the “what,” “why,” and “how” of racial and ethnic oppression and conflict. Fifteen major racial and ethnic groups are examined with regard to their incorporation, economic circumstances, political development, and experience with exploitation.For the numerous scholars, journalists, politicians—and people— concerned with the racial and ethnic issues of discrimination, oppression, and conflict that exist in the U.S. ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    4-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Overview
    This book provides an excellent overview both of theories about racial and ethnic relations and of the experiences of various ethnic and racial groups. It is extremely sensitive to the nuances of different group experiences, but also speaks the truth about those groups--particularly Native Americans and African Americans--who have been at the bottom in relation to everyone else. When it comes to the treatment of these two groups, the nuanced differences between the other groups have often been overlooked. One must always walk carefully between (1) the obvious truth that, in U.S. history, not all whites have been the same, and (2) the other obvious truth that, when it came to the oppression of Native Americans and African Americans, whites have often been willing to overlook the differences between themselves so that, in effect, any white would do. Feagin and Feagin succeed in walking this line.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Fairly one-sided text
    Mr. and Ms. Feagin make many fine points in this text and do a good job bringing up little known information on many groups, from Irish-Americans to Native Americans, American Jews to African Americans. The reason such little-known evidence is needed though is because the Feagins try to force their views on people. They do this by selecting only the articles and ideas that support their views, however contradictory this is. For instance, they go into great detail on explaining why various groups of white Americans are different...then turn around in other sections and assume all white Americans are identical. As much as I would like to support Mr. Feagin, many of whose views match my own, this is hard to do with his one-sided, heavy-handed approach. Not particularly recommended - David Healey's book on racial and ethnic relations is a preferable alternative. ... Read more

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