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Publisher's Summary

When published in 1981, The Mismeasure of Man was immediately hailed as a masterwork, the ringing answer to those who would classify people, rank them according to their supposed genetic gifts and limits. Yet the idea of of biology as destiny dies hard, as witness the attention devoted to The Bell Curve, whose arguments are here so effectively anticipated and thoroughly undermined. In this edition, Stephen Jay Gould has written a substantial new introduction telling how and why he wrote the book and tracing the subsequent history of the controversy on innateness right through The Bell Curve. Further, he has added five essays on questions of The Bell Curve in particular and on race, racism, and biological determinism in general. These additions strengthen the book's claim to be, as Leo J. Kamin of Princeton University has said, "a major contribution toward deflating pseudo-biological 'explanations' of our present social woes."

©1981 Stephen Jay Gould, Renewed 1996 by Stephen Jay Gould (P)2011 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A rare book---at once of great importance and wonderful to read." ( Saturday Review)

What listeners say about The Mismeasure of Man

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a must for everyone in academic research

it was amazing to have historical input of the methods, data, biases and quotes from great horrible and good influencers on eugenic matter. the subject is not dead, so this book is a must.
it has also a second layer of training on how to do responsible science.

4 people found this helpful

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Timely refutation of wrong views on race

Only criticism is that the original book very frequently quotes historical material at length. If one listens on and off, sometimes you may hear something a bit off the wall when you come back. You hope it’s not Gould’s words, and it isn’t: it’s the material Gould is quoting. The producers could have found some technological way to make these quotes sound differently, or the narrator could have given slightly different vocal cues.

4 people found this helpful

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Extremely Dated Material

The book preface is painful. The author spent what felt like an hour complaining about the Bell Curve book and his petty feud with the authors. My patience was worn thin during the preface. Once I got to the actual book and the content felt equally dated and whiny, I gave up.

It’s a shame: Stephen Jay Gould’s books are normally good.

5 people found this helpful

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Wow!

wow! I was given this book by a respected Professor years ago during a Time when I was inundated with my studies as a student. I regret these twenty years I've spent without the light this works sheds on the problems of human potential, racism and elitism.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent and eye opening

Any additional comments?

A story of history that makes you shake your head in disbelief but also an excellent story of cognitive bias and its influence on science. A story that can still occur today.

5 people found this helpful

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Great book, mediocre narration

Would you listen to another book narrated by Arthur Morey?

I wouldn't listen to another nonfiction book narrated by Arthur Morey. The quoted passages were difficult to follow, and hard to keep track of what was quote and what was text. In the first few chapters, he seemed to be doing a slight accent or different voice for each quoted passage, which was great and made things easier to follow, but he abandoned that approach and read everything in the same voice.

Any additional comments?

A great book that everyone should read.

1 person found this helpful

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A great Anthropology book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes I would. Having an audible version of such a nice book is very convenient and we can listen to it anytime anywhere.

What other book might you compare The Mismeasure of Man to and why?

Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne. It gives us different perspectives on evolution.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The voice of the reader of The Mismeasure of Man is a little monotonous. It is hard to keep listening for more than an hour.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

Evolution is everywhere. We are not more special than any other species. Being a humble human being may help open doors to a greater understanding of the past, present and future of our species.

Any additional comments?

Books on science, anthropology, archaeology, geology are as important as novels and popular literature. I notice there are many options on classic and modern literature but not so many in books dealing with natural sciences. The Origin of Species would make a great option.

2 people found this helpful

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Long winded

I really appreciate this book and everything should has to say. Especially in light of today’s issues. However this could have been summed up in the first and last chapters. Would recommend the cliff notes.

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A capable tour de force

Magisterial no, Stephen Jay Gould is too conversational for that and too willing to find the humor and humanity in what is his ethical stance , which shines a clear crisp light on a mostly American history of the misuse of intelligence tests for fairly eugenic purposes by the roaring twenties. It is a baseline of the key historical figures and theories used to as the title says mis measure man, for active or even benign is that possible racial and heredity outcomes based on race theories. I only wish the promise of a direct address of Bell Curve in the introduction was delivered to the same degree as his critiques, exposés, and take downs of earlier researchers. He does an admirable ethical job by the inclusion of two essays and some related works but only an adequate job by a scientific critique of the exact data sets and methodology followed as he did for prior research, and yet it’s still SJG and his writing is good , it flows , it is thoroughly enjoyable and educational no matter my critique.

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Simply the best book I have ever read

An avid reader all my life and at 61 to have happened upon this masterpiece that absolutely should be made required reading for undergrads worldwide…..but then again, The Mismeasure challenges the very foundation that every “esteemed” professor measures his/her degree on—-imagine the irony.
Darwin: To paraphrase, The misery of our poor having nothing to do with their innate inferiority but as a result of our institutions, great are our sins.

Robert Bryan

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  • dp litchfield
  • 06-15-20

game changer

came across this title, in a conversation I heard with Cornel West and Michael Brooks.
Such an interesting book showing how we are all products of our time but showing how narratives that take hold arent always the ones based on sound science. this has changed me and the way I see the world
thanks

3 people found this helpful