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Extended Audio Sample The Mismeasure of Man, by Stephen Jay Gould Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (3,423 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stephen Jay Gould Narrator: Arthur More Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 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.”

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Michele | 2/20/2014

    " I loved Stephen Jay Gould's calm way of eviscerating prejudiced, fraked up belief systems. An essential book if you have trouble getting the idea that you can't judge intelligence by looking at anything but intelligence. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Chris | 2/16/2014

    " This is a very challenging and rewarding book to read. Gould makes no bones about his intention to make the reader rise to the material rather than sink the material to the lowest common denominator. This is a very technical and educational refutation of The Bell Curve. This book explains the problems with standardized testing, IQ tests and even the concept of IQ. Gould has forced me to re-analyze many concepts and ideas that I felt were the bedrock of our culture. It explains the origins of IQ and the Army Alpha as well as their shortcomings. This is an important and rewarding book to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Keith | 2/8/2014

    " Maybe three and a half stars. A noble little book, offering not just a reminder that we should be suspicious of the political uses of scientific research (especially as regards measures of "intelligence," but also that neither good intentions or scientific brilliance are infallible guards against political bias. The first two-thirds, which presents an overview of studies of cranial capacity, are convincing enough that I'll take Gould's word about the conclusions in the final chapter, which debunks the misuse of statistical models in more detail than my poor attenuated left brain could keep up with. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Chris Pincus | 2/6/2014

    " Very interesting, and argumentatively sound. But without much of the humor of Gould's other works and tends toward rambling and repetition. "

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About the Author

Stephen Jay Gould (1941–2002) was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and professor of geology at Harvard University. He published over twenty books, received the National Book and National Book Critics Circle Awards, and a MacArthur Fellowship.