An enjoyable, exhaustive and often insightful look at what turns us on—sure to excite readers.




An in-depth look at the variety of forms in which human sexual desire manifests, based on an analysis of 500 million people and their anonymous—thus, likely truthful—online revelations.

Every day, millions of people voluntarily reveal intimate details about their sexual preferences online through search queries, adult websites, classified ads, stories and videos. During the course of their research into the nature of human sexual desire, neuroscientists Ogas and Gaddam analyzed half a billion of these and, combined with the latest findings in conceptual neuroscience, discovered that the data yielded some unexpected information about sexual preference. Some quirkier examples include the Japanese fascination with a woman's “absolute territory” (the space of exposed skin between the bottom of a skirt and the top of knee-high stockings); the fact that fantasies of older women are very popular among straight men; and that paranormal erotic literature is increasingly popular among women. Also intriguing is the authors' analysis of the relatively small divergence of sexual preference between straight and gay men (excepting the obvious masculine/feminine aspects) and the surprising discovery about which faction is most curious about transsexuals. More expected results also abound: Men are aroused visually, whereas women prefer to have their imaginations stimulated; men desire sex, and woman desire the feeling of being desired; men have a direct mind-body connection when it comes to arousal, and women experience a more complex series of thoughts and emotions, often displaying an intellectual distaste for stimuli that might simultaneously excite them physically. Perhaps partly as a result of this, there exists no pharmaceutical equivalent of Viagra for women. From cartoon porn to foot fetishes, the authors write with enthusiasm and in engaging detail, often incorporating the neuroscientific basis for results, yet retaining an accessible vernacular throughout that references pop culture as often as the laboratory.

An enjoyable, exhaustive and often insightful look at what turns us on—sure to excite readers.

Pub Date: May 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-525-95209-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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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 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...


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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