The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley

Why do we have sex? One of the main biological reasons, contends Ridley, is to combat disease. By constantly combining and recombining genes every generation, people “keep their genes one step ahead of their parasites,” thereby strengthening resistance to bacteria and viruses that cause deadly diseases or epidemics.

– Constance Rinaldo, Dartmouth Coll., Hanover, N.H.

Called the “Red Queen Theory” by biologists after the chess piece in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass which runs but stays in the same place, this hypothesis is just one of the controversial ideas put forth in this witty, elegantly written inquiry. Ridley, a London-based science writer and a former editor of the Economist , argues that men are polygamous for the obvious reason that whichever gender has to spend the most time and energy creating and rearing offspring tends to avoid extra mating. Women, though far less interested in multiple partners, will commit adultery if stuck with a mediocre mate. In Ridley’s not wholly convincing conclusion, even human intellect is chalked up to sex: virtuosity, individuality, inventiveness and related traits are what make people sexually attractive.

From Library Journal This is a fascinating book filled with lucid prose and seductive reasoning. Freelance science writer Ridley reaches into the literature of genetics; molecular, theoretical and evolutionary biology; ecology; sociology; and anthropology to weave an extraordinary tale of the evolution of human nature, beginning with the evolution of sex. Using Lewis Carroll‘s Red Queen (who runs as fast as she can to stay in the same place) as a metaphor for evolution, Ridley shows how sex was the result of an evolutionary arms race between hosts and their disease-causing parasites. Ridley covers so much ground that transitions may be abrupt or unclear, particularly in the last two chapters; also, his review of human homosexuality is thin. His occasionally pompous style (including his immediate dismissal of those who do not believe in evolution) may offend some readers. However, Ridley clearly explains many complex and remarkable concepts for a wide audience. Highly recommended.


Any Dummy can date Online: Online Dating for Dummies

Buy Online Dating for Dummies from Kalahari.netFor those already familiar with the ‘for Dummies’ books, this instalment will come as a rather comfortable guide to yet another of life’s great trials: dating. In this case, of the Internet variety. No matter for those who don’t though. The book is a comprehensive, easy to understand introduction into a foreign and, no doubt, terrifying new world.

One of the best advertisements for the book is its authors. Both have not only tried online dating but, in fact, found their lifelong partners, each other, using it. If that doesn’t spur a lonely soul to use ‘Online Dating for Dummies’, then nothing will. The book has all the familiar traits of its stable and provides the views not only of the authors themselves, but also of ordinary readers who ask questions that only the inexperienced would think of and would need answers for.

What is especially encouraging is that ‘Online Dating for Dummies’ starts from the very beginning. The reader is told everything they need to know, from what hardware is required for the Internet to how to choose and register at an online dating website and what to do if you wish to initiate contact with your chosen date. The book provides safety tips, do’s and don’ts and even has a section on coping with that inevitable pitfall of dating, rejection. ‘Online Dating for Dummies’ is separated into six parts and then further into twenty-two chapters which allows the reader to skip parts they know they don’t need and to come back to the areas they need most. It is both convenient and easy to understand. ‘Online Dating for Dummies’ has some superb advantages. It is created for all ages and for those who are looking for love or simply for friendship. Best of all though, is that it is easy to use for both men and women and has ‘He said, She said’ sections designed specifically for each by experienced persons of that gender.

The book demystifies the so-called ‘rules’ of dating as well. In addition to providing those very functional and quite boring details, it incorporates elements not easily found elsewhere like etiquette, honesty and even sex without sounding like a pretentious TV ‘life coach’ or those rather impersonal and outdated agony aunts. The book practically goes on the date with you! One possible drawback is the fact that South Africans won’t find the details of some websites particularly useful to them as the guide to these is primarily for North Americans. Still, that shouldn’t prevent you from finding the rest of the book fascinatingly honest and helpful. I would find it hard to believe that anyone could screw up their online dating experience after reading ‘Online Dating for Dummies’.

Every ‘secret’ is revealed, every ‘myth’ dispelled and every topic is treated with humour, sensitivity and know-how that only those with experience would have. So whether you’re a first-timer or a pro, ‘Online Dating for Dummies’ has something for everyone. Even a dummy couldn’t fail after making use of this guide.

‘Online Dating for Dummies’ by Judith Silverstein, MD and Michael Lasky, JD. Published by Wiley Publishing, Inc.


The Rules by Ellen Fein & Sherrie Schneider

The RulesA self-help book with a simple set of do’s and don’ts which evidently lead you to where you want to be… the question is are these rules simple? The author’s of ‘The Rules’ have compiled a list of 35 Rules to help commit you to a healthy relationship.

My first thought was how stringent is this book, but after much deliberation to some extent the rules do work. But as a woman how far do you take them? How hard to get can you play before the man of your dreams gives up or finds someone else, believing you are not interested?

Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider are however both married with children, so perhaps they do know what they are talking about. For instance my view has changed and I now agree: treat the men we want, as we treat the men we don’t want. After all isn’t it the ones we don’t want running after us? How would we treat the men we don’t want? Perhaps by following the rules in the book and ending the date first, by not calling him and rarely returning his calls, by not being available all the time especially at a last minute whim, don’t see him more than once or twice a week, don’t open up too fast, no more than casual kissing on the first date and don’t rush into sex!

But rule # 9 states how to act on date 1, 2 and 3, ‘All you have to do on the first three dates is show up, relax and pretend you are an actress making a cameo appearance in a movie”. The thing is how many of ‘us’ women actually enjoy acting and pretending, isn’t it all about being ourselves? Mystery is important, but what about going with the flow, and enjoying the moment. I have a friend who initiated her relationship and from the word go were intimate and inseparable. They have as of last month been married for 5 years and happily at that!

What about rule # 26, once you are married: don’t initiate sex even if you want it badly. I personally don’t see anything wrong with the wife in a marriage or long-term relationship, putting some spark into the relationship, and arranging a romantic evening, and yes that includes initiating sex.

Taking the example of my friend above this situation is debatable because if we compare this scenario to ‘Sex and the City’, where none of the characters are happily married and no rules are applied to their life. Are they happy not being married? And if they followed the rules would they be happy? Would Carrie have landed her man happily ever after had she followed all the rules, of course the possibility is there.

All in all this entire book is an entertaining and lighthearted read; it provides for a chuckle and puts across satisfactory points. I would recommend reading it; just maybe you are doing something wrong in dating and need to follow the rules to capture your man! You will never know if you don’t try.

A self-help book published by Warner Books/New York/1995


Falling in Love by Francesco Alberoni should come as no surprise that the subject of this book is of course, love. More specifically, Alberoni deals with those all-too-brief and utterly captivating moments when one first falls in love. He attempts to unlock all the rather bizarre and, sometimes, completely diotic, forces that drive our behaviour in this frenzied state.

For those lucky enough to be experiencing the first signs of true love, I doubt that this book will do the sensations they experience any justice, simply because words are no match for the real thing. For the rest of us (sigh), there is some element of truth in Alberoni’s analytical minefield.

The book transcends any real field that one may attempt to box it into. Instead, it incorporates psychology, sociology, science, philosophy, religion and plain and simple opinion. Written in poetic (though sometimes dreary) language, it transports the reader through time and place and asks questions not regularly given the time of day.

Falling in love, according to the author, is a universal experience. To Alberoni, it is the meeting not just of souls, but of minds as well. The book is particularly optimistic (and I mean that as a compliment) in its observances about human potential and the possibilities, within us all, to experience love, should we allow ourselves the opportunity to do so.

The book applies its theory to adolescent and adult, to man and to woman and to homosexual and heterosexual alike. Falling in love, according to the author, happens as the result of a basic feeling of inadequacy, shame and dissatisfaction with one’s existence. This dissatisfaction is, then, what leads one to seek out love in a sincere fashion, unlike many who wish to find love but are not willing to surrender themselves to that fundamental need to improve their condition. So depression and low self-esteem are, indeed, good for something. How comforting. It is a feeling of insecurity, then, that Alberoni sees as a prerequisite to falling in love. He uses the example of teenagers and their desperate desire for acceptance as a means of illustrating how this desire is translated into the “ignition state” of falling in love. For most of us, adolescence brings with it the most turbulent (read nerve-wracking) and exciting moments in our lives. During this period, we find ourselves at our most insecure and, yet, we feel the first and most frequent flutters of love. To Alberoni, this is no coincidence.

The author extracts from history the nature and structure of group dynamics throughout the book. He likens the couple to the most basic form of a group. The influence of our partners may thus be the influence of us forming an identity as part of the couple, sacrificing (wilfully or not) our individuality and becoming one with the other member of this rudimentary grouping.

Alberoni maintains that this fusion is then countered by the desire within each of us for individuality and independence, resulting in conflict. Sound familiar? This conflict, though, is not necessarily a negative. Instead, it creates that essential and most human of emotions, passion. What would love be without passion? Essentially, then, where would one find passion if there was no conflict? I know, I never thought of it that way either.

So what does it mean to fall in love? What happens to us? Where does it take us and, more importantly, how do we get there? Alberoni’s book is more a study than a guide. Falling in love seems like the easy bit. What so many of us need is a book (or a trick of some sorts, perhaps a magic potion even) on how to find it. In this case, the answer, supposedly, lies in the human drive to better one’s existence, which sounds like a lot of hard work. In love then, as in life, there seem to be no shortcuts. Damn. “Falling in Love” is a unique and stimulating piece of literature. Alberoni, with his background in sociology, provides insight and, importantly, hope. He is alarmingly honest, ensuring that the audience understands the pitfalls of love and the potential for failure. Romantics, though, will not be disappointed either. I leave you with a little trinket of wisdom from the book, “Life is like riding in a canoe…We don’t make the waves and we can’t change them…We manage to stay afloat…until we finally arrive back at shore…happy to have made it back.”

Download free ebook Falling in Love by Francesco Alberoni


Why Men Love Bitches by Sherry Argov

Why men love bitches by Sherry ArgovFrom Doormat to Dreamgirl-A Woman’s Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship

Contending that some women are “too nice,” comedian and radio show host Sherry Argov has written Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirl-A Woman’s Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship. “I’m not recommending that a woman have an abrasive disposition,” Argov writes, “The woman I’m describing is kind yet strong. She doesn’t give up her life, and she won’t chase a man.” Her sassy book is filled with scenarios and advice aimed at making women subtly stronger and self-empowered. Argov’s principles, which range from the far fetched to the downright absurd, include “If you give him a feeling of power, he’ll want to protect you and he’ll want to give you the world” and “A little distance combined with the appearance of self-control makes him nervous that he may be losing you.” The book, which has already been featured on The View and The O’Reilly Factor, should make waves with its controversial view of relationships.

About the Author

Sherry Argov is host of her own radio show on KRLA, which airs in more than forty cities in California. Her work has been featured on shows such as The View and The O’Reilly Factor, as well as national publications such as Esquire, Complete Woman, and Woman’s Own. She also writes for two newspapers in the Los Angeles area, where she resides. Do you feel like you are too nice? Sherry Argov’s Why Men Love Bitches delivers a unique perspective as to why men are attracted to a strong woman who stands up for herself. With saucy detail on every page, this no-nonsense guide reveals why a strong woman is much more desirable than a “yes woman” who routinely sacrifices herself. The author provides compelling answers to the tough questions women often ask: -Why are men so romantic in the beginning and why do they change? -Why do men take nice girls for granted? -Why does a man respect a woman when she stands up for herself? Full of much-needed advice, hilarious real-life relationship scenarios, “she says/he thinks” tables, and the author’s unique “Attraction Principles,” Why Men Love Bitches gives you bottom-line answers. It helps you know who you are, stand your ground, and relate to men on a whole new level. Once you’ve discovered the feisty attitude men find so magnetic, you’ll not only increase the romantic chemistry in the relationship-you’ll gain your man’s love and respect with far less effort.

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The grandfather of success and motivation books, Think and Grow Rich

I’ve been studying various books over the last 6 months in order to find the secret of success and wealth. And I’m likely to continue researching and studying these books for years to come. My search originally began by identifying the historically revered books such as:

Of these I found Napoleon Hill’s philosophy is the most practical because it gives very specific step by step instructions. I went as far as downloading an audio interview with Napoleon Hill by American motivational speaker, Anthony Robbins. I’ve given copies of this audio interview to several people and I can only hope they will find as much benefit from it as I have. The key to success is to know what you want to achieve, and the incrementally do the necessary steps to achieve the goals. Becoming the best God intended you to be.

Think and Grow Rich! is a motivational book. Written by Napoleon Hill and inspired by Andrew Carnegie, it was published in 1937 at the end of the Great Depression. In 1960, Hill published an abridged version of the book, which for years was the only one generally available. In 2004, Ross Cornwell published Think and Grow Rich!: The Original Version, Restored and Revised, which restored the book to its original content, with slight revisions, and added the first comprehensive endnotes, index, and appendix the book had ever contained.

The text of Think and Grow Rich! is founded on Hill’s earlier work, The Law of Success, the result of more than twenty years of research based on Hill’s close association with a large number of individuals who achieved great wealth during their lifetimes.

At Carnegie’s bidding, Hill studied the characteristics of these achievers and developed fifteen “laws” intended to be applied by anybody to achieve success. Think and Grow Rich! itself condenses these laws further and provides the reader with 13 principles in the form of a philosophy of personal achievement.

Reflected in these principles is the importance of cultivating a burning desire, faith, autosuggestion and persistence in the attainment of one’s goals. Hill also discusses the importance of overcoming many of the common fears that can adversely affect one’s thinking and potential.

In his introduction, Hill refers to the “Carnegie Secret“, a conception which he reports is the foundation of all success and appears to be the premise of the book. Hill promises to indirectly describe this “secret” in every chapter, but never state it plainly, believing the use of the secret is only available to those who possess a “readiness” for it, a disposition Hill describes as essential to the concept itself.