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pandora’s seed

Pandora’s Seed

Why the Hunter-Gatherer Holds the Key to Our Survival

The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization

By Spencer Wells

By Spencer Wells

By Spencer Wells

By Spencer Wells

Category: Science
Category: Science

Sep 13, 2011 | ISBN 9780812971910 | 5-3/16 x 8 –> | ISBN 9780812971910 –> Buy

Jun 08, 2010 | ISBN 9780679603740 | ISBN 9780679603740 –> Buy

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Sep 13, 2011 | ISBN 9780812971910

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Jun 08, 2010 | ISBN 9780679603740

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About Pandora’s Seed

Ten thousand years ago, our species made a radical shift in its way of life: We became farmers rather than hunter-gatherers. Although this decision propelled us into the modern world, renowned geneticist and anthropologist Spencer Wells demonstrates that such a dramatic change in lifestyle had a downside that we’re only now beginning to recognize. Growing grain crops ultimately made humans more sedentary and unhealthy and made the planet more crowded. The expanding population and the need to apportion limited resources created hierarchies and inequalities. Freedom of movement was replaced by a pressure to work that is the forebear of the anxiety millions feel today. Spencer Wells offers a hopeful prescription for altering a life to which we were always ill-suited. Pandora’s Seed is an eye-opening book for anyone fascinated by the past and concerned about the future.

About Pandora’s Seed

Ten thousand years ago, our species made a radical shift in its way of life: We became farmers rather than hunter-gatherers. Although this decision propelled us into the modern world, renowned geneticist and anthropologist Spencer Wells demonstrates that such a dramatic change in lifestyle had a downside that we’re only now beginning to recognize. Growing grain crops ultimately made humans more sedentary and unhealthy and made the planet more crowded. The expanding population and the need to apportion limited resources created hierarchies and inequalities. Freedom of movement was replaced by a pressure to work that is the forebear of the anxiety millions feel today. Spencer Wells offers a hopeful prescription for altering a life to which we were always ill-suited. Pandora’s Seed is an eye-opening book for anyone fascinated by the past and concerned about the future.

Ten thousand years ago, our species made a radical shift in its way of life: We became farmers rather than hunter-gatherers. Although this decision propelled…

PANDORA’S SEED

THE UNFORESEEN COST OF CIVILIZATION

by Spencer Wells ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 8, 2010

A population geneticist examines how human endeavors have shaped the world and finds that not all the changes have been beneficial.

When prehistoric man first sowed seeds some 10,000 years ago, they had no idea they were starting humans down the path to agriculture, settlements and civilization, a state now faced with grave challenges. Wells (Deep Ancestry: Inside the Genographic Project, 2006, etc.), director of National Geographic’s Genographic Project, takes the reader back in time to reveal the alterations that have taken place since the Neolithic period within the human body, in society and in the environment. The author shows that farming and the subsequent growth and spread of populations led to enormous changes in human lifestyles that altered our DNA. More disturbing are the external changes. Shaping the landscape to grow plants and animals for food, Wells argues, has created a mismatch between human biology and the environment, which has promoted the spread of major diseases, such as malaria and AIDS. Further, he argues that our present densely populated, socially stimulating, noisy world is likely the reason for the rise in mental illness in most societies. Wells does not overlook the more familiar issues of environmental pollution and climate change, calling global warming the biggest social challenge of the 21st century. Most of the world’s problems, he writes, stem from greed, and technology cannot provide the solution. What is required, according to Wells, is a new way of viewing the world. As we move further away from our origins as a species, he says, perhaps we should downsize our lifestyles and learn to want less.

At times demands close reading of fairly technical material, but the narrative is lightened by the author’s informed firsthand accounts of encounters with people around the world.

Pub Date: June 8, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-6215-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2010

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Not only the definitive life, but a tour de force by a master.

Kirkus Reviews’
Best Books Of 2019

New York Times Bestseller

EDISON

by Edmund Morris ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 22, 2019

One of history’s most prolific inventors receives his due from one of the world’s greatest biographers.

Pulitzer and National Book Award winner Morris (This Living Hand and Other Essays, 2012, etc.), who died this year, agrees that Thomas Edison (1847-1931) almost certainly said, “genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration,” and few readers of this outstanding biography will doubt that he was the quintessential workaholic. Raised in a middle-class Michigan family, Edison displayed an obsessive entrepreneurial spirit from childhood. As an adolescent, he ran a thriving business selling food and newspapers on a local railroad. Learning Morse code, he spent the Civil War as a telegrapher, impressing colleagues with his speed and superiors with his ability to improve the equipment. In 1870, he opened his own shop to produce inventions to order. By 1876, he had money to build a large laboratory in New Jersey, possibly the world’s first industrial research facility. Never a loner, Edison hired talented people to assist him. The dazzling results included the first commercially successful light bulb for which, Morris reminds readers, he invented the entire system: dynamo, wires, transformers, connections, and switches. Critics proclaim that Edison’s innovations (motion pictures, fluoroscope, rechargeable batteries, mimeograph, etc.) were merely improvements on others’ work, but this is mostly a matter of sour grapes. Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone was a clunky, short-range device until it added Edison’s carbon microphone. And his phonograph flabbergasted everyone. Humans had been making images long before Daguerre, but no one had ever reproduced sound. Morris rivetingly describes the personalities, business details, and practical uses of Edison’s inventions as well as the massive technical details of years of research and trial and error for both his triumphs and his failures. For no obvious reason, the author writes in reverse chronological order, beginning in 1920, with each of the seven following chapters backtracking a decade. It may not satisfy all readers, but it works.

Not only the definitive life, but a tour de force by a master.

A population geneticist examines how human endeavors have shaped the world and finds that not all the changes have been beneficial.