Mean Genes

Library Journal

Why are there people who are always dieting yet remain overweight? What happens to spouses who promise to love, honor, and obey but then end up cheating? Burnham (economics, Harvard Univ.) and Phelan (biology, UCLA) explore the genetic evolution of behaviors that sabotage humans' willpower to resist temptation. Debt, fat, drugs, risk, greed, gender, beauty, infidelity, family, and friends and foes are presented as key issues that affect all people.

The authors suggest that people have the ability to control their behavior despite the influence of negative genes by coming to terms with their animal nature. Though it is generally left up to readers to decide exactly how to use the authors' suggestions for controlling undesirable behaviors, this well-written, sometimes humorous book offers excellent biological background on temptation. Recommended for popular psychology collections in academic and public libraries.