A good mix of science and emotion, recommended for dog lovers everywhere.

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DOG IS LOVE

WHY AND HOW YOUR DOG LOVES YOU

The founding director at the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University probes the bonds of affection between humans and dogs.

For 15,000 years, humans and dogs have been living side by side. However, as Wynne makes clear in this pleasingly garrulous and jocular report from the front lines of canine research, we are only beginning to understand how our minds have intertwined over that duration. “Dogs have an exaggerated, ebullient, perhaps even excessive capacity to form affectionate relationships with members of other species,” writes the author. “This capacity is so great that, if we saw it in one of our own kind, we would consider it quite strange—pathological, even. In my scientific writing, where I am obliged to use technical language, I call this abnormal behavior hypersociability. But as a dog lover who cares deeply about animals and their welfare, I see absolutely no reason we shouldn’t just call it love.” This may seem imprecise, and borders on anthropomorphism, but Wynne has found that evidence coming from labs—evidence in the forms of genes that code for loving behavior, brain states that register and direct affection, and hormones that match the activity found in our own species when we feel love—and animal sanctuaries suggests that dogs feel affection much the way that humans do. This love doesn’t require special cognitive abilities. It is innate in the creatures and then is shaped by the environment to be expressed, hopefully, as a warm bond—though if the dog is ill-treated, it will manifest in antisocial behavior. Of particular importance to Wynne is what this means in terms of how we interact and care for dogs. It is our responsibility to treat them with respect because they deserve it, and both of us will be greater creatures for it.

A good mix of science and emotion, recommended for dog lovers everywhere.

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-54396-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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