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Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are by Frans de Waal


rating: 2 of 5 stars
Narrated by Alan Sklar. I didn't care for the narration; he added a sly nudge-nudge tone of voice to any discussion of sex (and in a book about chimpanzees and bonobos there is plenty of discussion about sex) and a scoffing or superior tone to any discussion of morality/ethics.

I enjoyed the descriptions of animal behavior and of interactions between the apes and their human observers.

I was less impressed with de Waal's attempts to draw conclusions about human behavior from these observations. He swung between generalizing wildly about how all humans (or all men or all women) were this or that, and admitting that human behavior is so influenced by culture and learning that we are capable of pretty much anything.

View all my (goodreads.com) reviews.


Other books I've read or listened to recently:

Musicophilia, Oliver Sacks. I have liked every Sacks book I've read. This one is a little more scattered than some, but I found it fascinating and inspiring.

Spin, Robert Charles Wilson. Overall I liked this quite a bit - there was some believable science and also some believable character interaction and development. I was annoyed that only one of the female characters had meaningful work, and there was a plot point very close to the end that I had major suspension of disbelief problems with, but that didn't really spoil the overall story.

A Passage to India, E.M. Forster. This is the first Forster I've read, and I was really impressed by his ability to get inside the heads of so many different people, who were at odds with each other in various ways, and describe them all with sympathy and compassion. He did a lot more than that, but that's what I especially noticed.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
opus119
Aug. 22nd, 2008 03:09 pm (UTC)
I have a copy of Musicophilia because the first chapter is about someone I know from piano camp, but I haven't gotten around to reading the rest of it yet. (Too many books, too little time.)
firecat
Aug. 22nd, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC)
Oh, is that the guy who got struck by lightning? That was utterly fascinating.
opus119
Aug. 26th, 2008 01:36 pm (UTC)
Yes, that was the lightning fellow. He has a remarkable musical talent, both as a player and composer; I have heard him play several of his compositions, including a "Lightning Sonata", and they are quite amazing.
mjlayman
Aug. 23rd, 2008 12:24 am (UTC)
I thought Spin's science wasn't that good and I suspect the same plot point made me put it down and then pick it back up to at least finish it. I'm not buying Axis, the sequel.
firecat
Aug. 23rd, 2008 12:34 am (UTC)
You'd certainly know a lot more about the accuracy of the science than I would...
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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