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Extended Audio Sample The Mismeasure of Man Audiobook, by Stephen Jay Gould Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.75 out of 53.75 out of 53.75 out of 53.75 out of 53.75 out of 5 3.75 (28 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stephen Jay Gould Narrator: Arthur Morey Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2011 ISBN: 9781452674100
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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 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." Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

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

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 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 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 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 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mbali | 1/10/2014

    " Makes you think about all the tags we create...even using scientific data. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Charles | 1/9/2014

    " An exemplary history of bad 'science' (in this case, 19th and 20th century white racism) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kupie | 1/9/2014

    " Synopsis: The Bell Curve = Discriminatory Bullshit. It's true that this book is super annoying to read. The sentence structure doesn't flow nicely and I think he likes to hear himself write. But the research is impressive. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Leah Lucci | 1/9/2014

    " I typically like Stephen Jay Gould's writing, but this piece was far too long and dry for my taste. I would have loved this if it had been a longer essay in one of his collections, condensed down to its richest and most interesting parts. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Corey | 1/1/2014

    " As has been demonstrated elsewhere, there are enough flaws in this book that it cannot be recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert | 12/13/2013

    " A bit dated but still a great read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gill Allmond | 11/25/2013

    " An important book, especially if you live anywhere where children are assessed at 11 (as I do) and the assumption is made that a single number/letter is all there is to say about their intelligence. Really made me think about how subjective and politically-motivated science often is. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Geoffrey Miller | 10/27/2013

    " Intellectually fraudulent, utterly ignorant of modern intelligence research, politically biased. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter | 10/23/2013

    " It's good. It's too polemical to get the full breadth of Gould's work I think, I would reccommend some of his collections for that. I think his method is why I (sort-of) made it through College. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chuck | 10/10/2013

    " Excellent overview of the history of science used to justify bad theories and practices concerning race. Gould debunks the Bell Curve and the idea that IQ is some kind of valid number that measures intelligence precisely. As always, another excellent book by the late Stephen Jay Gould. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Porsche | 10/2/2013

    " I am very interested in the study of Eugenics and Social Darwinism but some of the images in this book are down right creepy (as they are meant to be). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alice Gaines | 6/9/2013

    " This is an absolute must read for anyone interested in the heritability of IQ and/or IQ testing movement. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 James | 7/28/2012

    " Not wholly impressed, but still convincing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sam | 4/19/2012

    " This book is a definitive source of facts and information behind intelligence, science, African Americans, and the bending of analysis for prejudicial reasons. Question the IQ test!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Raquel Casilla | 3/26/2012

    " oooh some really heady stuff... but good. Gould does an excellent job in recognizing early scientific thought as being legit for its time, and he details the faults in the biological racisms throughout the history of science. I concentrated on more hereditarian theories and their rebuttals. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Madison | 12/16/2011

    " The futility of poly-misanthropes to compare the volume of their skull with the reader's in an attempt to prove intellectual superiority. Pft! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Malini Sridharan | 12/10/2011

    " How is he SO GOOD at explaining things? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Annelise L'Estrange | 10/28/2011

    " It was an amazing study and really hard to believe that all those scientists were persons and that people really heard them and followed their papers. I foccused a lot on chapter 4 and it was pretty damn stunning. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 9/11/2011

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

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melynda | 9/5/2011

    " A must read for anyone involved with assessment and measurement in the social sciences. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne | 8/13/2011

    " Read this in college - fabulous book by an outright genius. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 James | 4/1/2011

    " Not wholly impressed, but still convincing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Zachary | 3/20/2011

    " Had to read this for my physical anthropology course. The material is well researched and presented very well, but it is a really hard read. Thank god I had an entire semester to read this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elizabeth | 1/14/2011

    " Gould's response to " The Bell Curve." succinctly presents a history of how people have developed theories of intelligence based on prejudice, and develop tests that confirm them. Fantastic read. "

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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.

About the Narrator

Arthur Morey has won three AudioFile Magazine “Best Of” Awards: in 2011 for Biography and History, in for History and Historical Fiction, and in 2009 for Nonfiction and Culture. His work has also garnered multiple AudioFile Earphones awards, and he has been nominated for an Audie Award. He graduated from Harvard and did graduate work at the University of Chicago. He has won awards for his fiction and drama, worked as an editor with several book publishers, and taught literature and writing at Northwestern University. As a narrator, he has received nineteen AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award.