An enjoyable exploration of the evolution and implications of online dating.

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LOVE IN THE TIME OF ALGORITHMS

WHAT TECHNOLOGY DOES TO MEETING AND MATING

A thorough examination of online dating sites.

Finding a companion in life has never been an easy task. In fact, as Fast Company contributor Slater writes, "for virtually all of human history the search for a mate has been predicated on scarcity: One met only so many people in his or her lifetime." It is a logical jump in today's world to use modern technology to help improve the chances of meeting someone. Using personal interviews and extensive research, Slater shows how the latest mode of dating, online, has amplified one's chances by thousands of times as people connect in cyberspace. From its humble beginnings to the thousands of sites now available, cyberdating is the new way to mingle, with complex algorithms and extensive questionnaires analyzed by computers, which decide who might be the perfect mate. Sites like Match and OkCupid bring together millions of people, and the industry continues to flourish. In 2010, it was estimated that one out of every five couples got together through online dating. This new tool to finding a soul mate has changed the way society looks at relationships, as one does not have to settle for a partner from the immediate area. But, as Slater writes, "these new means of connection are threatening the old paradigm of adult life”—not every match made online lasts. Many users find it easier to break up with someone who is not quite the perfect fit rather than work on accepting differences. Choice overload becomes an issue as well, as users question how long to stick with someone; after all, there could be someone better on the next webpage. Although not a choice for everyone, online dating is here to stay; whether it is the best way to find a mate is still under debate.

An enjoyable exploration of the evolution and implications of online dating.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59184-531-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Current

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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