Wired for Culture: The Natural History of Human Cooperation

Front Cover
Penguin Books Limited, Mar 1, 2012 - 432 pages
3 Reviews

'Expresses an infectious sense of wonder at the uniqueness of our species; it is hard not to be affected by his enthusiasm' Sunday Times

What explains the staggering diversity of cultures in the world? Why are there so many languages, even within small areas? Why do we rejoice in rituals and wrap ourselves in flags? In Wired for Culture Mark Pagel, the world's leading expert on human development, reveals how our facility for culture is the key to what makes us who we are.

Shedding light on everything from art, morality and affection to jealousy, self-interest and prejudice, Pagel shows that we developed culture - cooperating together and passing on knowledge - in order to survive. Our minds are hardwired for culture, and it still determines how we speak, who we love, why we kill and what we think today.

'Human evolution may be the hottest area in popular science writing. Within this field, Wired for Culture stands out for both its sweeping erudition and its accessibility ... richly rewarding' Financial Times

'Impressive for its detail, accuracy and vivacity' Guardian

'Pioneering, vivid ... the best popular science book on culture so far' Nature

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DLMorrese - LibraryThing

An interesting subject, and although I agree that our species is wired for culture, as the title says, I had issues with some of the particulars in this book and how they were stated. The thing that ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lritchie1150 - LibraryThing

I never do this - but I actually emailed the author about what I found to be an off colour joke. Still a really good book but thought the editor should have provided more solid advice on matters of taste. Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2012)

Mark Pagel is head of the Evolution Laboratory in the Division of Zoology, School of Biological Sciences, at the University of Reading, and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He is the editor-in-chief of the award winning Oxford Encyclopaedia of Evolution and co-author of The Comparative Method in Evolutionary Biology, which is regarded as a classic, as well as the author of a number of articles in Science, Nature, and other journals, and he has also been a contributor to numerous monographs. Statistical methods that Pagel has developed are used by researchers all over the world to study evolutionary trends across species.

Bibliographic information