Get a FREE Books of the Moment  sampler!
Check Out These
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
See the List

The Evolution of Beauty

The Evolution of Beauty by Richard O. Prum
Hardcover
May 09, 2017 | 448 Pages
See All Formats (3) +
  • Paperback $17.00

    Apr 03, 2018 | 448 Pages

  • Hardcover $30.00

    May 09, 2017 | 448 Pages

  • Ebook $14.99

    May 09, 2017 | 448 Pages

Buy the Audiobook Download:

Product Details

Praise

“Prum’s argument is exhilarating . . . The Evolution of Beauty should be widely read, as it will provoke readers, shaking them (as reading Hume did to Kant) from their dogmatic slumbers . . . I don’t see how any biologist could read this book and not walk away at least questioning the idea that adaptation must explain every last trait. Survival of the fittest might not be enough to explain nature. We might need survival of the prettiest, too.”
—Sam Kean, Wall Street Journal

“Prum draws on decades of study, hundreds of papers, and a lively, literate, and mischievous mind . . . a delicious read, both seductive and mutinous . . . Prum’s attention never strays far from nature, and his writing [about birds] is minutely detailed, exquisitely observant, deeply informed, and often tenderly sensual.”
—David Dobbs, New York Times Book Review

The Evolution of Beauty is at once fascinating, provocative, and totally compelling. Anyone interested in science or art or sex—which is to say everyone—will want to read it.”
—Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction
 
“A fascinating account of beauty and mate choice in birds and other animals. You’ll be amazed by the weird things that birds do to win mates. You’ll also discover why both men and women have armpit hair, why men lack the penis bone widespread in other mammals, and what really happened in the Garden of Eden.”
—Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel
 
“A smorgasbord of evolutionary biology, philosophy, and sociology, filtered through Prum’s experiences as a birdwatcher and his diverse research on everything from dinosaur colors to duck sex. Through compelling arguments and colorful examples, Prum launches a counterstrike against the adaptationist regime, in an attempt to ‘put the subjective experience of animals back in the center of biology’ and to ‘bring beauty back to the sciences.’”
—Ed Yong, The Atlantic
 
“Prum’s career has been diverse and full, so that reading this fascinating book, we learn about the patterning of dinosaur feathers, consider the evolutionary basis of the human female orgasm, the tyranny of academic patriarchy, and the corkscrewed enormity of a duck’s penis. Combining this with in-depth study of how science selects the ideas it approves of and fine writing about fieldwork results in a rich, absorbing text . . . The dance Prum performs to convince you to take him on as an intellectual partner is beautiful and deserves to be appreciated on its own terms.”
—Adrian Barnett, New Scientist

“Reads like a memoir, argues like a manifesto, and shines with Prum’s passion for all things ornithological.”
—Erika Lorraine Milam, Science

“Life isn’t just a dreary slog of survival. It brims with exuberance—from extravagant plumage to strange courtship rituals. In The Evolution of Beauty, Richard Prum takes us into this universe of delights to discover a fascinating idea: that beauty is central to the history of life.”
—Carl Zimmer, author of Parasite Rex and Evolution: Making Sense of Life

Looking for More Great Reads?
Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now
Back to Top