Authors Michael and Ellen Kaplan, mother and son duo, were praised by the New York Times for their book, Chances Are, which was a look at probability. Because that title received such rave reviews, I was excited to win Bozo Sapiens through Good Reads giveaways.
It appears that our species is hardwired to get things wrong in a myriad of different ways.
- Why did recipients of a loan offer accept a higher rate of interest when a pretty woman’s face was printed on the flyer?
- Why did one poll on immigration find the most despised aliens were ones from a group that did not exist?
- What made four of the air force’s best pilots fly their planes, in formation, straight into the ground?
- Why does giving someone power make him more likely to chew with his mouth open and pick his nose? And why is your sister going out with that biker dude?
Our cognitive, logical, and romantic failures may, in fact, be a fair price for our extraordinary success as a species; they are the necessary cost of our adaptability.
Michael and Ellen Kaplan swoop effortlessly across neurochemistry, behavioral economics, and evolutionary biology, among other disciplines, to answer, with both clarity and wit, the questions above, and larger ones about what it means to be human.
The title of the book made the book appealing, as did the cover art—which is slightly suggestive of evolutionary theory. Unfortunately, that is where the interesting part left off. The book itself was a dry, if not chaotic, collection of studies on the human brain and illustrations to prove the authors point. It is not often that I start reading a book and do not finish it. In fact, I can count on one hand how many times I have left a book unfinished once I started perusing it’s printed pages. I did not finish reading this one. I just couldn’t force myself to do it. Years ago, I used to use a trick to treat my insomnia. I would get out an old text book, typically nursing, and start reading. If the text was sufficiently dull, I could bore myself into a state of somnolence. Bozo Sapiens is a book that I could easily fall asleep to.
It is unquestionable that the authors are gifted writers, and have a passion for their subject. However, I found the disjointed presentation of ideas to be shallow and boorish. This book left me feeling like I was either not a part of the target audience, or just too plain dumb to understand the text.
You want to know why to err is human? It started with Eve and a serpent in a garden.
If you’ve followed me long on this site, you know that it isn’t often that I experience difficulty in finding something positive to say about a product that I received for review. With that in mind, I thought I would share a few pins (that I have in my craft ideas pins on pinterest) of ideas I have for this book and a few others on my shelf.
(Clicking on the images will take you to the sites that originally posted the clever crafts. Clicking HERE will take you to My Pinterest.)
How clever are those!