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T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us

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Testosterone: Misunderstood. Mythologized. Controversial. A Harvard evolutionary biologist debunks the myths and cultural stereotypes surrounding testosterone and reveals its far-reaching effects on gender and sexuality, sports, relationships, and many more aspects of our everyday lives. The biological source of virility and masculinity has inspired fascination, investigatio Testosterone: Misunderstood. Mythologized. Controversial. A Harvard evolutionary biologist debunks the myths and cultural stereotypes surrounding testosterone and reveals its far-reaching effects on gender and sexuality, sports, relationships, and many more aspects of our everyday lives. The biological source of virility and masculinity has inspired fascination, investigation, and controversy since antiquity. From the eunuchs in the royal courts of ancient China to the booming market for “elixirs” of youth in nineteenth-century Europe, humans have been obsessed with identifying and manipulating what we now know as testosterone. And the trends show no signs of slowing down—the modern market for testosterone supplements is booming. Thanks to this history and the methods of modern science, today we have a rich body of research about testosterone’s effects in both men and women. The science is clear: testosterone is a major, invisible player in our relationships, sex lives, athletic abilities, childhood play, gender transitions, parenting roles, violent crime, and so much more. But there is still a lot of pushback to the idea that it does, in fact, cause sex differences and significantly influence behavior. Carole Hooven argues in T that acknowledging testosterone as a potent force in society doesn’t reinforce stifling gender norms or patriarchal values. Testosterone and evolution work together to produce a huge variety of human behavior, and that includes a multitude of ways to be masculine or feminine. Understanding the science sheds light on how we work and relate to one another, how we express anger and love, and how we can fight bias and problematic behavior to build a more fair society.


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Testosterone: Misunderstood. Mythologized. Controversial. A Harvard evolutionary biologist debunks the myths and cultural stereotypes surrounding testosterone and reveals its far-reaching effects on gender and sexuality, sports, relationships, and many more aspects of our everyday lives. The biological source of virility and masculinity has inspired fascination, investigatio Testosterone: Misunderstood. Mythologized. Controversial. A Harvard evolutionary biologist debunks the myths and cultural stereotypes surrounding testosterone and reveals its far-reaching effects on gender and sexuality, sports, relationships, and many more aspects of our everyday lives. The biological source of virility and masculinity has inspired fascination, investigation, and controversy since antiquity. From the eunuchs in the royal courts of ancient China to the booming market for “elixirs” of youth in nineteenth-century Europe, humans have been obsessed with identifying and manipulating what we now know as testosterone. And the trends show no signs of slowing down—the modern market for testosterone supplements is booming. Thanks to this history and the methods of modern science, today we have a rich body of research about testosterone’s effects in both men and women. The science is clear: testosterone is a major, invisible player in our relationships, sex lives, athletic abilities, childhood play, gender transitions, parenting roles, violent crime, and so much more. But there is still a lot of pushback to the idea that it does, in fact, cause sex differences and significantly influence behavior. Carole Hooven argues in T that acknowledging testosterone as a potent force in society doesn’t reinforce stifling gender norms or patriarchal values. Testosterone and evolution work together to produce a huge variety of human behavior, and that includes a multitude of ways to be masculine or feminine. Understanding the science sheds light on how we work and relate to one another, how we express anger and love, and how we can fight bias and problematic behavior to build a more fair society.

30 review for T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stetson

    Carole Hooven's T: The Story of Testosterone is a muted, well-researched apologia for the titular molecule. This work has arrived at a perfect time, gently refuting much of the contemporarily popular blank slatism and/or extreme social constructivism about sex differences (e.g. Angela Saini). Hooven is an inoffensive narrator of the science, breaking down concepts and research findings from multiple disciplines, all of which concern the potent influence of testosterone on sex differences. These Carole Hooven's T: The Story of Testosterone is a muted, well-researched apologia for the titular molecule. This work has arrived at a perfect time, gently refuting much of the contemporarily popular blank slatism and/or extreme social constructivism about sex differences (e.g. Angela Saini). Hooven is an inoffensive narrator of the science, breaking down concepts and research findings from multiple disciplines, all of which concern the potent influence of testosterone on sex differences. These explained differences include morphology (anatomy, size, and strength), athletic performance, sexual preferences and behavior, aggression, and play preference. Hooven spends most of the book reviewing what should be completely uncontroversial findings on the influence of testosterone on the sexual dimorphism observed in animals and humans. Some of this effort includes extended explorations of case studies of individuals with disorders of sex development (DSDs) and "gender affirming" hormone therapy received by transgender individuals. It makes for easy and engaging reading. To many with backgrounds in the biological sciences, most of what is discussed is familiar or unsurprising, but the book is clearly targeted at lay readers who favor social and cultural explanations for sex differences. I hope those readers come to this work with an open mind and are willing to modify their beliefs in the face of this clear evidence. Hooven is also extremely careful with her claims. Hooven does not attribute all sex differences to testosterone so any claims to the contrary are deliberate misreadings or pernicious aspersions. She parsimoniously delineates what sex differences can be attribute to differences in testosterone levels between males and females and discusses the amount of confidence one should have in these purported causal relationships. If anything, the one criticism I have of Hooven's book is that she doesn't explore discuss in detail the full extent of known sex differences, especially those related of psychological proclivities and competencies. This work is, of course, more controversial, and is under active study, which is likely why it is either only hinted at or implied in T: The Story of Testosterone. Overall, I think this is a must read for a lot of cultural commentators and pundits as it will hopefully dissuade them from non-empirical, unscientific perspectives on the biology that underlies sex differences. *I received this book for free ahead of print to review through NetGalley.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stetson

    Carole Hooven's T: The Story of Testosterone is a muted, well-researched apologia for the titular molecule. This work has arrived at a perfect time, gently refuting much of the contemporarily popular blank slatism and/or extreme social constructivism about sex differences (e.g. Angela Saini). Hooven is an inoffensive narrator of the science, breaking down concepts and research findings from multiple disciplines, all of which concern the potent influence of testosterone on sex differences. These Carole Hooven's T: The Story of Testosterone is a muted, well-researched apologia for the titular molecule. This work has arrived at a perfect time, gently refuting much of the contemporarily popular blank slatism and/or extreme social constructivism about sex differences (e.g. Angela Saini). Hooven is an inoffensive narrator of the science, breaking down concepts and research findings from multiple disciplines, all of which concern the potent influence of testosterone on sex differences. These explained differences include morphology (anatomy, size, and strength), athletic performance, sexual preferences and behavior, aggression, and play preference. Hooven spends most of the book reviewing what should be completely uncontroversial findings on the influence of testosterone on the sexual dimorphism observed in animals and humans. Some of this effort includes extended explorations of case studies of individuals with disorders of sex development (DSDs) and "gender affirming" hormone therapy received by transgender individuals. It makes for easy and engaging reading. To many with backgrounds in the biological sciences, most of what is discussed is familiar or unsurprising, but the book is clearly targeted at lay readers who favor social and cultural explanations for sex differences. I hope those readers come to this work with an open mind and are willing to modify their beliefs in the face of this clear evidence. Hooven is also extremely careful with her claims. Hooven does not attribute all sex differences to testosterone so any claims to the contrary are deliberate misreadings or pernicious aspersions. She parsimoniously delineates what sex differences can be attribute to differences in testosterone levels between males and females and discusses the amount of confidence one should have in these purported causal relationships. If anything, the one criticism I have of Hooven's book is that she doesn't explore discuss in detail the full extent of known sex differences, especially those related of psychological proclivities and competencies. This work is, of course, more controversial, and is under active study, which is likely why it is either only hinted at or implied in T: The Story of Testosterone. Overall, I think this is a must read for a lot of cultural commentators and pundits as it will hopefully dissuade them from non-empirical, unscientific perspectives on the biology that underlies sex differences. *I received this book for free ahead of print to review through NetGalley.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tom Schulte

    This is a very impressive study of the famous hormone and the many ways it is involved in human biology. The scope of scientific and cultural knowledge contained here is truly impressive. Particularly enlightening to me is the material on how sexual differentiation forms in the womb and the way the variations there lead to various intersex conditions and even puberty-triggered transformations that can be unexpected. The book has an exploration of Caster Semenya, an Olympic athlete and intersex w This is a very impressive study of the famous hormone and the many ways it is involved in human biology. The scope of scientific and cultural knowledge contained here is truly impressive. Particularly enlightening to me is the material on how sexual differentiation forms in the womb and the way the variations there lead to various intersex conditions and even puberty-triggered transformations that can be unexpected. The book has an exploration of Caster Semenya, an Olympic athlete and intersex woman, assigned female at birth, with XY chromosomes and naturally elevated testosterone levels. Similarly revealing is the material on transition including interviews and experiences of people, including one that de-transitioned.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Blackledge

    Testosterone (T) is a cultural ubiquity and a mystery all at once. We misattribute certain traits and behaviors to it. And undervalue it’s impact on our lives and society at large in important other ways. Researcher Carole Hooven has gifted us this clear, accurate, relatable and interesting guide to this important hormone. It literally couldn’t be more crucial and timely to much of the current topics du jour, including male aggression and gender identity. The later is where the book SHINES. Hooven Testosterone (T) is a cultural ubiquity and a mystery all at once. We misattribute certain traits and behaviors to it. And undervalue it’s impact on our lives and society at large in important other ways. Researcher Carole Hooven has gifted us this clear, accurate, relatable and interesting guide to this important hormone. It literally couldn’t be more crucial and timely to much of the current topics du jour, including male aggression and gender identity. The later is where the book SHINES. Hooven interviews and features many intersex, transgender and gender non conforming individuals. Several of whom have undergone gender reassignment, and gone back to there birth gender. They provide fascinating first person perspective on the powerful role T plays in our identity and behaviors. Additionally, Hooven goes into detail on the role of T from a third person, scientific perspective. The results are super clarifying and BEYOND fascinating. This is a GREAT science book. Up there with Sapulsky and other behavioral biologists. Trust me (with a capital T). You don’t want to miss out on this crazy cool read. Even if you think you’re not interested. You are. Put it on the top of your short list. 5/5

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emil O. W. Kirkegaard

    Useful popsci book summarizing the studies of testosterone.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elle

    Hooven discusses the role of testosterone in distinguishing male and female behavior, and specifically its effect on male behavior in this book. The first few chapters are very informative and I learnt a lot about how hormones contribute to animal (and human) development and behavior, and the history of endocrinology as a whole. The last four chapters, which I think dealt mainly with testosterone in humans/role of testosterone in human behavior, felt a little more drawn out than the first and I Hooven discusses the role of testosterone in distinguishing male and female behavior, and specifically its effect on male behavior in this book. The first few chapters are very informative and I learnt a lot about how hormones contribute to animal (and human) development and behavior, and the history of endocrinology as a whole. The last four chapters, which I think dealt mainly with testosterone in humans/role of testosterone in human behavior, felt a little more drawn out than the first and I struggled to complete them. I enjoyed learning all of the new information this book offered me, especially the kind where further reading was readily available from a simple google search (male sopranos, eunuchs, differences in sex development etc.) As an e-book reader, I would have benefited from in-text citations. There were a number of cases where I would have very much liked to refer to data/sources without having to scroll through pages of the notes section on my kindle. Although very informative, I simply wasn't convinced of some of the points being asserted and in a few cases the citations that were presented at the end of the text were outdated. While the author attributes several differences between men and women to testosterone, she acknowledges that the behavioral effect of hormones specifically of testosterone, in women is understudied, Lastly, I cringed several times reading this book ("So what is the right response to the male propensity for sexual assault and other problematic male behaviors? Let's not forget that men themselves don't get off easy, since hey are the primary victims of male violence. Women are not the only victims here.)" Unsettling quotes such as these dragged on the reading of this book and detracted from the information presented in this book for me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Very clear and approachable explanations about the important and powerful effects of testosterone in human bodies. Warm and engaging writing, with nice touches of humor. She covers effects in “normal” men and women and also discusses topics about people who are different than the mainstream. She discusses all of this with sensitivity and respect, keeping science and humanity in the foreground. I bet she’s a great teacher.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Freddie

    T: The Hormone That Dominates and Divides Us by Carole Hooven is one of the most interesting and beautifully written science books I have ever read. I cannot imagine that there is a book that does a better job of describing the far-reaching effects of testosterone (T) on humans while being such a joy to read. Not only does Carole Hooven display a thorough knowledge of her subject, but she understands how to weave her own compelling stories and those of others into her narrative in a way that make T: The Hormone That Dominates and Divides Us by Carole Hooven is one of the most interesting and beautifully written science books I have ever read. I cannot imagine that there is a book that does a better job of describing the far-reaching effects of testosterone (T) on humans while being such a joy to read. Not only does Carole Hooven display a thorough knowledge of her subject, but she understands how to weave her own compelling stories and those of others into her narrative in a way that makes complex science accessible to the average reader. Whether using baking cookies as an analogy for gene expression, or describing researchers who have implanted wires in a rat’s skull as ( tongue firmly in cheek) “evil scientists,” Dr Hooven gives us stories and images that bring the science of (T) to life for the non-scientist. Beyond the detailed workings of T on male and female bodies and brains, the book is also a powerful and passionate defense of scientific inquiry and its value in our lives. Using her own journey toward becoming a scientist, Dr. Hooven describes how she came to see that while emotions may be vital and important in our lives, we should not let resistance to what is emotionally uncomfortable keep us from acknowledging what good science reveals. Throughout her book, Hooven provides a master class in how to interpret scientific information. At a time when too many “ experts,” are choosing to focus on only the evidence that supports their positions and ignoring what does not, Hooven takes great pains to show that her arguments are guided by a thorough review of the evidence. If the evidence is limited or mixed, she says so, and explains why. When the evidence for the role of T in human behavior is strong, as in the case of controversial topics like male violence, she describes exactly what strong evidence consists of: multiple studies showing similarly large effects, in different populations, using a wide variety of methods. Hooven has chosen to enter what I understand – after reading her book – is highly contentious territory. I suspect she will be vigorously attacked by those who insist that the role of nature in influencing behavior is relatively minor compared to nurture. Those attackers however, would have to ignore how strongly Hooven makes the case for the tremendous power of humans to shape our destinies. Ultimately, there is not only nothing to fear here, but as Hooven argues, much to be optimistic about, if we follow the science. And Dr. Hooven shows us that following the science can make for a gripping and enjoyable read as well.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader. T: The Story of Testosterone is a non-fiction layman accessible overview of the biochemical properties of testosterone written by Dr. Carole Hooven. Due out 13th July 2021 from Macmillan on their Henry Holt imprint, it's 352 pages and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader. T: The Story of Testosterone is a non-fiction layman accessible overview of the biochemical properties of testosterone written by Dr. Carole Hooven. Due out 13th July 2021 from Macmillan on their Henry Holt imprint, it's 352 pages and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. This is a well written and uncontroversial examination of the effects of testosterone on physiology and behavior. It's aimed at the layperson and doesn't require more than an average basic understanding of science and/or biology. The text throughout is well annotated and the links and chapter notes provide ample opportunity for evidence based and peer-reviewed (advanced) reading later. The author has a conversational style of writing and although it's well annotated with proper citations, it's perfectly understandable and accessible. This is admittedly a niche read, but it would undoubtedly make a good selection for library acquisition or science readers' use. I would also recommend it for lovers of natural history and biology as well as students of the human condition. Four and a half stars. Rounded up for the comprehensive annotations and clear and concise writing. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lizzy

    *This was an ARC GoodReads Giveaway* A well done, fairly easy to read presentation of research in testosterone. I appreciated how she examined it in animals as well as humans, and that she covered many topics including different chromosomes and gender transitioning. I was also impressed with how she did her best to examine the science without imposing judgment.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hendrik Strauss

    Really engaged well with this central subject matter. Invokes a deep sense of curiosity of the wonders and blueprints for brutalities and sheer energies that lay in the human condition and more concisely: Are organized and maintained via the endocrine system. The hormones, secreted by glands travelling through the bloodstream. This work of scholarship and communication layed out both the history and the biology which testosterone and humans share. With examples drawn from mammals, foremost prima Really engaged well with this central subject matter. Invokes a deep sense of curiosity of the wonders and blueprints for brutalities and sheer energies that lay in the human condition and more concisely: Are organized and maintained via the endocrine system. The hormones, secreted by glands travelling through the bloodstream. This work of scholarship and communication layed out both the history and the biology which testosterone and humans share. With examples drawn from mammals, foremost primates, and endocrinological variant humans a very concise, plausible and ambivalent reality is implicated by the data. To use jargon: Both proximate and ultimate causes are under investigation. Proximate: What is happening biochemically when behavior and metabolism is mediated and activated by Testosterone? What activates testosterone secretion? What is activated by it? Ultimate: How did Testosterone come to act in the way it does? Why did it evolve? The book is a very carefully laid out argument as this is a very sensitive topic including violence, human sexual differences and the ever debated about realm of the nature nurture sphere. In Hoovens assesment, and I tend to agree, the biology of human subjects interface with a complex social world. No explaination should seek primacy by claiming to render the other sphere(biology/sociology) as irrelevant. Both propably will turn out to be true in not incommensurable terms. To quote Daniel N. Robinson: The truths of philosophy are written with a semicolon ;

  12. 4 out of 5

    Siham Daher

    The book provides very insightful explanations for those interested in biology and evolution, especially sex evolution. The reader can learn a lot from this book on hormones, genes, scientific studies, and how they work. Hooven did shed some light on how sex is a powerful mover in nature and nurture. However, when I downloaded this book to read it, I expected a specific thing from the author: to put biology in its right place as a factor in shaping human behavior. I imagine biology's place as a The book provides very insightful explanations for those interested in biology and evolution, especially sex evolution. The reader can learn a lot from this book on hormones, genes, scientific studies, and how they work. Hooven did shed some light on how sex is a powerful mover in nature and nurture. However, when I downloaded this book to read it, I expected a specific thing from the author: to put biology in its right place as a factor in shaping human behavior. I imagine biology's place as a shaping factor is in a cycle with other factors where you can't say where the cycle starts or ends, and that every element in the cycle (society, biology, ecology...etc) affect each other and are in no way independent entities from each other. At the end of the day, this very cycle is what drives evolution, especially in humans. Hooven, on the other hand, viewed biology as the "unmoved mover" that is located at the start of a straight chain of causes and effects, and one can't help but see this as a misrepresentation of evolution and how it works. Furthermore, she viewed biology as a completely independent entity that is resistant to any external changes, despite her trying not to look like she does. And along the way showing her false interpretation, she piles up fallacies to the point where it is safe to say that she shattered her argument. Hooven starts the book with many fallacies (already!) first and foremost, she starts with noting that she wanted to learn about the origins of human behavior from studying chimps, and at the end of the book she states that male violence in chimps looked "too human". In trying to make humans similar to chimps, she ignores a hell of a lot of factors that make us very different from them. e.g.: male philopatry where female chimps leave their groups while the males do not, this happens in humans in patrilocal societies but there's a wealth of evidence that this is not the default and is controlled mainly by social, ecological, and economic reasons. The inability of postpartum mother chimps to get pregnant for years results in a highly skewed ratio of adult males to fertile females. The absence of having sex for non-reproductive purposes... and so much more. Despite the 99% of genes we share with the chimps, we do not look anything like them and we do NOT behave any way like them and our "genetic ways" split 8 million years ago, but somehow this wasn't enough for Hooven to reconsider her false way of investigating the origins of human behavior. Also, why there's very little to no mention of bonobos, the matriarchal apes that we share with them 99% of genes AND patterns of sexual behavior and female philopatry? I only remember mentioning male bonobos and their relatively low empathetic behaviors. Not to mention the fact that she doesn't talk about variety in ape behavior according to region which there's plenty of evidence on, and on apes where nurturance in males is reproductively rewarding. All of this raises questions about the author's objectivity. Another fallacy is a clear strawman of the argument of proponents of the socialization hypothesis. The effects of socialization have to be seen on material grounds so that we can detect them, the material grounds in the socialization case are changes in every part of the human bodily system which she did mention when talking about how T works with other hormones in response to external stimuli. The strawman lies in the fact that she considered the proponents of the socialization hypothesis as not aware of the material ground needed to be seen in human biology to prove the existence of the effects of socialization. especially with the fact that chimps are born with their brains more developed than ours, hence our brains are more receptive to external stimuli since birth than chimps. This fallacy not only resulted in viewing the socialization hypothesis proponents as ignoring the biological ground on which socialization works on, but it also resulted in the complete absence of mentioning neuroplasticity in humans despite its huge importance AND plasticity in hormone levels which there's a lot of evidence on and how they affect each other, and in a false dichotomy where we must wonder if whether it's nature or nurture where it's actually both affecting each other significantly. The heavy reliance on anecdotes as evidence is also a huge turn-off. I expected the anecdotes just to be a part of the book to catch the reader's attention. But no, the whole arguments in most of the book rely ONLY on anecdotes, which is truly unscientific. In addition, the writer doesn't have anything to say but "animals are such and such, we can't be an exception, right?" which is also unscientific. Science isn't common sense, it is testing our common sense as hypotheses. This also brings me to the other heavy reliance on animals rather than actual humans. We already know about sexual selection and the role of T. We want good evidence on how these two work in our complex contexts as humans, but the author here really does not have much to say. Luckily others like Cordelia Fine understood the question and knew how to answer it without ignoring the many factors that are at play. And when she talks about humans in another context other than anecdotes or explanations for basic biology, meaning in actual studies and data, she talks very briefly and insufficiently. Take, for example, but not limited to, the studies on CAH girls. Why would anyone on Earth believe that CAH girls will just stop acting as masculine if their parents were absent and take that as absolute evidence on the inevitability of their behavior? When did ever a child forgot what their parents taught them the moment they are absent? Why there aren't any voices of the actual CAH girls talking about how their condition makes them feel about themselves? Another example is when talking about libido differences between the sexes. Why there isn't any mention of how sexual assault, women and girls' perception of sex and bodies affect their libidos even in the countries where the gender equality rate is high? The problem is not that there is no data regarding such things and many others not mentioned in the book, the problem is the author is ignoring the wealth of evidence that puts the sex differences in their true context on purpose. Why also there isn't questioning on if whether women need to have the same hormone levels as men to be aggressive? A 1-year-old and 10-year-old humans have very different nutritional needs where the 1-year-old needs much less food, but these different needs lead to the same result which is robust growth in the body of both kids. So why it might not be reasonable to think that women need different hormonal makeup to be aggressive, competitive, and horny? The writer did mention that to be fair, but only regarding the reproductive aspect which is pretty reductionist. In the very beginning, Hooven said that the existence of a sex difference says nothing on its causes, which is true, however, she was trying to prove her points by actually viewing sex differences with a reductionist lens with no deep investigation regarding their causes. Her take on libido on a global level is an example. Another flaw regarding her position is the take on measurements of prenatal hormones. Some contradictions are very obvious in her explanations. In one chapter she would mention how T in the pregnant mother's womb is associated with masculine behavior in daughters, in another, she would mention that there isn't any accurate way to measure the levels of T a fetus is exposed to even when taking a sample from the amnio fluid surrounding the fetus. How is this possible? Hooven didn't address the right question and didn't answer it at all. She didn't add any meaningful, new insights on the nature and nurture debate relating to sex differences. The irony at the end is that she agreed with a big part of the socialization argument, if not most of it, probably without knowing so simply because she straw manned it in the first place. The take on the type of T timing of measuring, how to measure it, and how it interacts with other hormones and contexts is pretty much the same as Cordelia's for example. We can't simply rely on anecdotes, studies with small numbers of participants, mental gymnastics, animals, and reductionism to derive a conclusion regarding behavioral sex differences. Which all Hooven used. This book is nothing more than a revision on how sexual selection works, the role of hormones, and some basic biology. I'm not here to say that biology is not responsible to some extent for sex differences in hormones. What I'm saying is we must look at biology from a different perspective which I described above.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Boy Blue

    A solid study of the role of Testosterone in human behaviour. The book will be largely unsurprising for most but given the times we live in we have to applaud that as an achievement. Unfortunately the book often felt like Hooven was shadowboxing. She spends a lot of time erecting defences against the outrage and criticism she knows is heading her way. I can understand why she's doing it and I can't imagine how strong the fear of being cancelled is but for me it was frustrating and weakened the ot A solid study of the role of Testosterone in human behaviour. The book will be largely unsurprising for most but given the times we live in we have to applaud that as an achievement. Unfortunately the book often felt like Hooven was shadowboxing. She spends a lot of time erecting defences against the outrage and criticism she knows is heading her way. I can understand why she's doing it and I can't imagine how strong the fear of being cancelled is but for me it was frustrating and weakened the otherwise crystal clear message. The exploration of sexual dimorphism through case studies of people with sex development disorders and those who have undertaken hormone therapy was a great way to use naturally occurring and engineered situations in place of experimental data. It's a complete shame that topics around endocrinology and human biology have become so deeply political because it means that a book like this can only be revolutionary in its normalcy.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Dawson

    I've been reading a great deal about the differences between males and females this year, trying to make sense of the differences between the two genders. Testosterone is obviously a major difference, so I was eager to get my hands on T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us. Any time you try to compare and contract the genders, you'll hit controversies. "Biology defines who we are." "No, gender is a social construct." I've read dozens of books with scientific fact I've been reading a great deal about the differences between males and females this year, trying to make sense of the differences between the two genders. Testosterone is obviously a major difference, so I was eager to get my hands on T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us. Any time you try to compare and contract the genders, you'll hit controversies. "Biology defines who we are." "No, gender is a social construct." I've read dozens of books with scientific facts to back their claims; most are difficult to trudge through. What I liked most about T: The Story of Testosterone, is that it spans a great deal of information without once feeling overly scientific. It references other books, several of which I've read, and has vital quotes throughout the book. The book covers experiments, research, brutal history, recent scandals, and so much more. There is something for every adult reader. While this is a text I imagine would be used for research purposes such as my own, I do think a content warning is necessary. Some of the facts may be disturbing for some readers.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chris Boutté

    If you didn’t read this book, based on some of the backlash as well as discussions in the media about the book, you’d think the entire thing was about the trans debate. While Carole Hooven does touch on these topics in a few different chapters, the book is so much more than that. I’m more of a psychology person than a biology person, and biological topics usually go way over my head, but Hooven is clearly an incredible teacher. She was able to explain everything from fetal development to puberty If you didn’t read this book, based on some of the backlash as well as discussions in the media about the book, you’d think the entire thing was about the trans debate. While Carole Hooven does touch on these topics in a few different chapters, the book is so much more than that. I’m more of a psychology person than a biology person, and biological topics usually go way over my head, but Hooven is clearly an incredible teacher. She was able to explain everything from fetal development to puberty and so many other biological factors by making great analogies and talking in a way that the average person can understand. As a parent, I’ve been curious about topics of how gender norms shape children versus biological factors as well as how testosterone plays a part in aggression. This is an incredible book, and thank goodness for people like Carole Hooven. I can’t imagine trying to be a scientist simply studying what you’re interested in and getting dogpiled just for discussing your findings. It’s clear throughout this book that Hooven is an open-minded, caring, and compassionate person. When touching on sensitive subjects, I saw her go above and beyond to be careful of her language and to clarify as much as possible. This book is great, and I hope people gain a lot more from it than the conversations around transitioning.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Laurin

    This book was a fascinating discussion of testosterone. The author comes from a liberal secular point of view, and seems dedicated to the scientific evidence. I appreciated her discussion on not being afraid of the truth, but learning the truth in order to find the best solutions as possible to problems in society. I also greatly appreciated her discussion on male and female differences and appreciating both. Her observations on the importance of societal norms to help direct behaviour was also This book was a fascinating discussion of testosterone. The author comes from a liberal secular point of view, and seems dedicated to the scientific evidence. I appreciated her discussion on not being afraid of the truth, but learning the truth in order to find the best solutions as possible to problems in society. I also greatly appreciated her discussion on male and female differences and appreciating both. Her observations on the importance of societal norms to help direct behaviour was also fascinating and good to ponder, particularly in light of today’s sexual norms. Even if people are not persuaded by the evidence and want to put all the onus on societal norms, I think this is an important book to consider. It seems to me that a nuanced view that takes into account both biology and culture makes the most sense, and I think Hooven does a fairly persuasive job taking both into account, and not letting men get off the hook for behaviours that hurt and harm their neighbours, whether men or women. As a Christian, I disagreed with certain ethical stances she took, but found her presentation of the facts immensely fascinating and helpful. I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the biological factors that could be at play in sex difference.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Linus

    Hooven is clearly initiated and knowledgable in the topic, the book is structured and well written. The topic is sensitive but Hooven presents facts in a scientific manner and presents alternative interpretations and explanations throughout the text. Science works, like it or not, but chew it up and make the best of it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Delcene Jones

    An interesting book about testosterone. It was solid, logical and easy to understand (no small thing considering the complexity of the science and the controversies and myths surrounding testosterone). I found out about ‘bait and switch’ arguments posed by critics disputing scientific proofs and I now have a deeper understanding of the term Intersex and rare genetic disorders which impact on gender. The chapter on gender transition was compassionate and unbiased. If you like science and want to be An interesting book about testosterone. It was solid, logical and easy to understand (no small thing considering the complexity of the science and the controversies and myths surrounding testosterone). I found out about ‘bait and switch’ arguments posed by critics disputing scientific proofs and I now have a deeper understanding of the term Intersex and rare genetic disorders which impact on gender. The chapter on gender transition was compassionate and unbiased. If you like science and want to be informed about testosterone this should be your go to book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nichola Raihani

    Informative, brave. Although there were parts I was familiar with I did enjoy the book, especially the chapter on sport.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kennedy

    Dialogue and writing about biology as it pertains to sex differences can easily devolve into either side using the "science" to beat one over the head with. Dr Hooven does the opposite of that. In this fascinating and accessible book, she goes through the evidence as it is currently understood to show how testosterone plays an important role in the average differences we observe between men and women. The research is presented using a writing style that makes it easy to follow and understand. Thr Dialogue and writing about biology as it pertains to sex differences can easily devolve into either side using the "science" to beat one over the head with. Dr Hooven does the opposite of that. In this fascinating and accessible book, she goes through the evidence as it is currently understood to show how testosterone plays an important role in the average differences we observe between men and women. The research is presented using a writing style that makes it easy to follow and understand. Throughout the book, the views of critics/skeptics are presented then addressed fairly, with acknowledgement being made where critics have valuable points. This would make a good addition to the library of anyone seeking to be a well informed layman or taking a Behavioural Endocrinology 101 class. An enjoyable and educational read!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Underconsumed Knowledge

    Hooven makes the compelling argument, it seems to me, for many of her points about the “nature” of men, the origins of certain things in nature, and how it is that society and culture can actually help to ameliorate these things, a reduction in violence brought about by, “[C]enturies of large cultural and social changes, including the monopolization of violence by the state.” The author does not play down the back and forth that exists between nature (testosterone) and the social environment; ch Hooven makes the compelling argument, it seems to me, for many of her points about the “nature” of men, the origins of certain things in nature, and how it is that society and culture can actually help to ameliorate these things, a reduction in violence brought about by, “[C]enturies of large cultural and social changes, including the monopolization of violence by the state.” The author does not play down the back and forth that exists between nature (testosterone) and the social environment; channeling he inner Thomas Sowell, “I can’t say it enough: culture matters”; the intersection between culture and “biological predispositions.” But, humans are, in fact, animals, albeit the only animal with the capacity for abstraction, and as such, many things such as status and competition have natural origins, regardless of whether you like these things or not; “[E]volution equips males to compete for mates, thus explaining why they are frequently larger, brighter, or more pugnacious than females.” “Culture matters, but there is no evidence that it can account for the consistent patterns of sex differences in sexuality across the globe.” Men overwhelmingly account for all manner of, let’s be frank, stupid activities, from traffic fatalities to homicide to assault. Contra many narratives about what is and is not natural, postulates, “For men, successful reproduction has less to do with energy-sucking reproductive physiology—growing and feeding a baby with one’s own body—and more to do with finding, competing for, and attracting mates.” Explains (rare) genetic origins of complete androgen insensitiveity syndrome, caused by a “a typo in one letter out of Jenny’s three billion DNA bases.” Points out the kinds of play boys and girl in vary greatly, from “heroes battling bad guys” to “relationships, romance, and domestic concerns…” “[P]lay is… a way for young animals to learn and practice adult behaviors that they need to survive and reproduce.” “The norm in much of the rest of the [non-Western] world, in less industrialized and small-scale societies, is for men to have lower levels [of T] overall.” Goes into the biology of body differences, citing an example woman who, “[C]onverts more of her consumed energy into fat rather than muscle” which helps in producing children but can be a drag when it comes to sports. Men alone do not have a monopoly on aggression, however, “Evolution can produce high rates and intensity of aggression in female animals, particularly when they need to compete directly for resources like food, nesting sites, or males… but overall… females benefit more from being safe and cautious and living a long, healthy life. And lower levels of aggression help to make that possible.” Thus, fewer auto accidents. Hooven argues that men with too much T are actually evolutionary losers, because they take too many risks that wind up in their premature death, in addition to not paying proper care to their young; “[A] human dad’s T levels tend to drop when they are in a romantic pair bond and involved in caring for their offspring... this decline in T helps direct attention away from rivals and new sexual prospects and toward one’s mate and children.” Regarding group vs. individual aggression, “[P]roactive aggression is more likely to be perpetuated by groups of people or even institutions. [Richard Wrangham] describes a type of “coalitionary” proactive aggression that is at the heart of such atrocities as war, torture, executions, slavery, and massacres.” Individual aggression is more likely to be “reactive.” Echoing Francis Fukuyama, Steven Pinker, and many others on the violent history of mankind, “High rates of male aggression appear to have long been a feature of the human condition, tracing back to our distant ancestors. Ancient fossil skulls show evidence of violent conflict, including cracks and holes that are thought to result from attacks with clubs, rocks, or spears… [even] among the hunter-gatherer populations remaining today, the sex differences in homicide rates are comparable to those in the rest of the world: men commit almost all murders, mostly against other men.” They also tend to be the ones that try to engage in heroic, if physically dangerous, activity. As with other evolutionary accounts, points out humans, “[E]volved in response to a social environment that bears little resemblance to that of today… Strangers are therefore a novel feature of the modern human environment.” This leads to fear. Furthermore, our status anxiety stems from our evolutionary conditions in a small group where status mattered so much, where “[A] lack of anonymity means that any particular behavior could have far and long-lasting reputational consequences.” “For men, high social status is more reproductively advantageous than it is for women.” Fear, pain, and anxiety increase our likelihood of survival, evolutionarily speaking; “We tend to get a rush of dopamine when we do something adaptive (or that was adaptive in our evolutionary past)” (such as intimidating a competitor). A monkey with increased testosterone, “[B]eats up only on those beneath him on the totem pole and remains polite toward the higher-ups” – deference to authority. But, testosterone in humans, “[D]epends heavily on individual and environmental factors, and in humans especially, winning and achieving high status can often be accomplished without any physical aggression at all.” Thus, ferocious competition in things like business. But, keeping with human variation, “[I]f you shot up a bunch of Buddhist monks with testosterone, it would lead not to violence but to random acts of kindness.” Regarding male promiscuity, “[I]f another fertile female comes around, that’s another opportunity to leave offspring that may be too good to pass up… men want to do [have sex] more often, and with a greater number of people.” “An Angolan man aptly nicknamed “Big Dad” recently died, reportedly leaving behind 156 surviving kids and 250 grandkids.” Ultimately, human children can survive without their father. Stereotypes in men and women have origins in reality, as author approves of Andrew Sullivan’s concise analysis, “What does a lesbian bring on a second date? A U-Haul. What does a gay man bring on a second date? What second date?” – in gay men and lesbian women, our stereotypes are played up to the nines; “[T]here is truth in the stereotypes… gay men do have many more sexual partners. Lesbians do not, and are much more likely to be sexual within committed monogamous relationships.” Cites the experience of various transgender people, including one who transitioned and then transitioned back; “I slowly realized that my body was not the problem… I’m now… much happier overall., though still struggling with my expectations of womanhood and being myself.” Women, “[H]ave higher rates of depression, and having lower T may have something to do with it…evidence here is not straightforward.” Hooven takes the position that aggressive male behavior or other social problems must be understood in terms of their actual causes, instead of looking away from troubling realities. “Solving problems requires understanding their causes. If we consistently downplay one set of potential causes (say, biological) in favor of another (say, social), then we have failed to do our best to get to the truth. And that means that we have also ignored opportunities to increase women’s safety and equality between the sexes.” Oftentimes, “[M]en are exploiting their positions, through whatever means necessary, to have sexual encounters with a series of younger and attractive women.” Cites Steven Pinker (and echoes Camille Paglia) on the potentially terrible nature of nature, “[T]he naturalistic fallacy is ‘the belief that whatever happens in nature is good.’… Nature is full of wonderful things, but it’s also full of truly awful things.” Citing Pinker directly, “As soon as we recognize that there is nothing morally commendable about the products of evolution, we can describe human psychology honestly, without the fear that identifying a “natural” trait is the same as condoning it.” What is natural, whatever that is, is not inherently good or bad.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jan Peregrine

    There's long been controversy over the male sex hormone testosterone and evolutionary biologist Carole Hooven has made it her life's work to get to the bottom of how T influence's boys and men in their behavior and moods. Many people, even experts, contend that it's socialization and culture that triggers violent men, but Hooven argues that the truth is more complicated. In T: The Story of the Hormone that Dominates and Divides, she presents her case fairly convincingly. It turns out that masculi There's long been controversy over the male sex hormone testosterone and evolutionary biologist Carole Hooven has made it her life's work to get to the bottom of how T influence's boys and men in their behavior and moods. Many people, even experts, contend that it's socialization and culture that triggers violent men, but Hooven argues that the truth is more complicated. In T: The Story of the Hormone that Dominates and Divides, she presents her case fairly convincingly. It turns out that masculinization of brains begins in the womb when testosterone comes on the scene. If a female fetus gets a little too much, she'll grow up with a range of masculine feelings, behavior, and physical traits. She could so feel like a male that she undergoes hormonal sex transition. I have a friend transitioning from male to female and I wanted to know more about the process. Hooven says it's much easier going the other way. Transgender females won't lose their husky voice, height, narrow hips, or all of their Adam's apples, for instance, and they'll need surgery to more look like a female. Since my friend has MS and is losing strength and focus, I wondered if it was due to loss of T, which is an easy conclusion. I don't think she exactly covered that. But she shows that men and women cannot fairly complete against each other in athletic contests as men have so much more muscle mass, but that begs the question of how Billie Jean King was able to soundly beat Arthur Ashe in straight sets. They were both tennis champions at the top of their game. Anyway, men are statistically more violent in a fatal way than women are. Women can be just as violent, but not in a fatal way. They're violent for defensive reasons to protect kids or self. Hooven wants us to know that extreme violence by men or boys should not be socially acceptable or excused as if men can't help themselves. It is a myth that boys can't help raping or torturing or killing. That men can't help grabbing women by the pussy. They know what they're doing and choose to do what they want to in spite of laws and human rights. There's a lot of science and discussion of clinical studies and our similar behavior with chimps. She talks about Darwin's sex selection theory being Victorian. I'd read about such things and skimmed some chapters. Her message about taming testosterone, controlling it, is a good one. Men can go overboard with increasing T for sports. I may increase mine naturally with amino acids to help me with my incomplete spinal cord injury and being a longtime vegan. Hooven doesn't advise on this sadly. It's not a thrilling book, but not bad.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mediaman

    Complex, confusing book that proves there are no easy answers to anything involving science, despite what the scientific community and political activists wants to claim. The author tries to draw some conclusions, but for the most part she waffles by making sure to cater to the new concept of there not being gender at birth and that you can fluidly move between male and female, whatever your choice. It's just not that easy. She spends too much time in the book talking about those wanting to chang Complex, confusing book that proves there are no easy answers to anything involving science, despite what the scientific community and political activists wants to claim. The author tries to draw some conclusions, but for the most part she waffles by making sure to cater to the new concept of there not being gender at birth and that you can fluidly move between male and female, whatever your choice. It's just not that easy. She spends too much time in the book talking about those wanting to change gender or those that are the less than 1% exception to the rule of gender at birth. Thankfully on the second to the last page she admits that we should stop thinking women need to be more like men and "Men and women, and boys and girls, are different." There are times in the book where she seems to support traditional gender stereotypes as having scientific basis, but even then she switches it up to being environmental influence. The book is too political and neither side wins because just when you think the author is supporting your side's perspective, she blows it up and gives support to the other side. And this book is proof that science does have sides, as anyone who has done significant knows. She also depends too much on evolution and observation of animals. In a funny section she talks about observing chimps where a male beats a female with a stick, with the author guessing what he was thinking. Well, hate to break it to the scientists but you'll never fully know or understand what an animal is thinking so to draw conclusions based on simple observation seems futile, though not inconsequential. She does the same with humans, but attributing "social influences" to just about everything. Namely it's nurture, not nature, that shapes how testosterone impacts us. That may be somewhat true but if so then why are so many spending so much money altering their natural body hormones in order to be something society now accepts as their "true self." No, they aren't "born this way," they are actually choosing to ignore how they are born in order to shape their bodies into what they think will be socially, politically and personally acceptable. So if you are looking here for solid answers to support your viewpoint you won't find many. Instead it just starts raising a lot of questions and will upset all sides, which is ultimately good science.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    I heard Dr. Carole Hooven on Bari Weiss’s excellent podcast, Honestly, discussing aspects of this book and immediately downloaded it from Audible. Dr. Hooven does a masterful job of explaining the science of testosterone. Employing evolutionary biology, endocrinology, and good storytelling, Hooven lays out how testosterone works, why it works as it does it, and what the consequences are of all this. She does not eschew controversial subjects (and there are many when it comes to testosterone!) an I heard Dr. Carole Hooven on Bari Weiss’s excellent podcast, Honestly, discussing aspects of this book and immediately downloaded it from Audible. Dr. Hooven does a masterful job of explaining the science of testosterone. Employing evolutionary biology, endocrinology, and good storytelling, Hooven lays out how testosterone works, why it works as it does it, and what the consequences are of all this. She does not eschew controversial subjects (and there are many when it comes to testosterone!) and is intellectually honest and confident enough to include discussion of the criticisms of, counters to, and gaps in her account. The book is not too technical; though there is complex material here. Hooven’s style is more conversational and informal. This is not a medical treatise. There are lots of interesting anecdotes and stories; some personal drawn from Hooven’s own life, but this is not memoir either. She includes the stories of many other people (and animals too). All these serve to concretized the more abstract scientific theories. In the end, Hooven’s goal is to present the best case for the best current science. Where a careful reading and understanding of the best evidence leads, Hooven follows—even if the conclusions are uncomfortable or not popular. She emphasizes, frequently, that it is only through an honest understanding of how testosterone works, that we can understand ourselves, our interactions with each other, and work to build a better society for all people.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Agirlandabook85

    As a competitive weightlifter I have often heard the typical nonsense thrown at a woman who lifts… “weights will make you bulky, you will look like a man, don’t get too big” haha if only it were that easy. Coming from an interest in weightlifting I was drawn to read this out of mild curiosity I was seriously underprepared just how fascinating the subject of hormones and just one in particular, Testosterone could be. I devoured the subject like I was reading a gripping thriller. This is majorly i As a competitive weightlifter I have often heard the typical nonsense thrown at a woman who lifts… “weights will make you bulky, you will look like a man, don’t get too big” haha if only it were that easy. Coming from an interest in weightlifting I was drawn to read this out of mild curiosity I was seriously underprepared just how fascinating the subject of hormones and just one in particular, Testosterone could be. I devoured the subject like I was reading a gripping thriller. This is majorly in part to the quality of Hooven’s delivery, smooth, uncomplicated with hints of personality and humour. It is clear this holds a great passion in her life and that jumps off the page. I imagine this is written with a lay person as the intended audience, but as I fitted this description it allowed me an enjoyable introduction into the subject. There are some topics discussed which hold great controversy and by that I don’t mean the topics such as nature vs nurture, gender, sexuality is in itself controversial but their discussions tend to create emotive and strong opinions in some. Hooven writes with sensitivity and demands that respect lies at the heart of all discussions. Hooven is a scientist that puts her research, experience and understanding out for debate, she is not stating testosterone is the only answer to the question of what makes men and women different but that it is a difference which would be remiss to exclude from the conversation. I could probably fill another post writing about this book and I imagine that is why Hooven wrote it to inspire and stimulate others to widen their scope of conversation.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    Decent book which confirms ideas I already believed and gives me a little more evidence to support them. These were not ideas I believed on faith so I certainly didn't lack evidence to support ideas like the biological basis for sex based behavioural differences, but when one has a belief that goes so firmly against the mainstream opinion, it's good to have as much to support it as possible. I don't really care about the specific reasons for which being male or female result in average difference Decent book which confirms ideas I already believed and gives me a little more evidence to support them. These were not ideas I believed on faith so I certainly didn't lack evidence to support ideas like the biological basis for sex based behavioural differences, but when one has a belief that goes so firmly against the mainstream opinion, it's good to have as much to support it as possible. I don't really care about the specific reasons for which being male or female result in average differences in many ways, such as aggression and relationship dynamics, but it's nice to know that there are reasons and that someone has studied them. Evolutionary psychology is this powerful science that is frequently denied by the science denying progressive left. So it's nice to see that this isn't all we have to go on when we talk about sex based differences in mating strategies. The science supports what is evident by those who believe in evolution and aren't on the evolution denying horseshoe of a political spectrum. I kept expecting some really controversial view since when I searched this author I saw her on Rogan and talking with other conservative grifters. What I found was a very reasonable and scientifically supported work. So testosterone is actual responsible for a lot. That's cool. I didn't know that. I knew there were some differences, but I didn't know it was testosterone. Good to know!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tobias

    There are plenty of studies backing this book, and Carole Hooven really does well to break the science down into relatable and understandable pieces of insight into the role that testosterone holds within the bodies of men, women and transgendered. As someone who has always felt and presented as male, this book affirms a lot of the questions I had about my own body, the way I've been socialised whilst growing up. The book also challenges previously held misconceptions on masculine behaviours and There are plenty of studies backing this book, and Carole Hooven really does well to break the science down into relatable and understandable pieces of insight into the role that testosterone holds within the bodies of men, women and transgendered. As someone who has always felt and presented as male, this book affirms a lot of the questions I had about my own body, the way I've been socialised whilst growing up. The book also challenges previously held misconceptions on masculine behaviours and social biases that we are fed by the capitalistic agenda forwarded by sales of products intended to "boost" testosterone to ensure men feel like men. I'm very please I got to read this book. Highly recommended and I suggest reading with an open mind. The biological influence of testosterone holds a bigger stake in the human experience than many of us have ever thought. To end I'd like to echo Carole Hooven's sentiment, that men must use their testosterone responsibly.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laianna

    I read this book because I’ve been confused about testosterone and wanted to learn more. Unfortunately, while I learned a lot about the role of testosterone in the womb, during puberty, and in certain genetic variations, I wasn’t satisfied. The author goes into graphic detail describing animal research but often draws on personal and pop culture anecdotes to explain human behavior. Some examples were too political for my taste. Moreover, I did not identify with many statistics about girls and wo I read this book because I’ve been confused about testosterone and wanted to learn more. Unfortunately, while I learned a lot about the role of testosterone in the womb, during puberty, and in certain genetic variations, I wasn’t satisfied. The author goes into graphic detail describing animal research but often draws on personal and pop culture anecdotes to explain human behavior. Some examples were too political for my taste. Moreover, I did not identify with many statistics about girls and women and did not appreciate the dismissive “boys will be boys” implications to several of her conclusions. I liked the “naturalistic fallacy” section but it came too late. This book is a decent introduction to testosterone but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone looking for something purely scientific.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Johno

    I read this shortly after reading Testostone Rex by Cordelia Fine and this is just a much better book. It seems to take a much more objective look at the science and is less obviously biased (although, of course that might be my own biases blinding me a little). At times it got a little bit too down into the weeds of the actual science for me personally, but it was still enjoyable and well written. I found it particularly interesting how rats get treated differently by their mothers based on the I read this shortly after reading Testostone Rex by Cordelia Fine and this is just a much better book. It seems to take a much more objective look at the science and is less obviously biased (although, of course that might be my own biases blinding me a little). At times it got a little bit too down into the weeds of the actual science for me personally, but it was still enjoyable and well written. I found it particularly interesting how rats get treated differently by their mothers based on the hormones levels of the young rats. Basically the hormones affect the socialisation, making "maleness" both nature and nurture.

  30. 4 out of 5

    mark propp

    very good, highly readable & friendly counter to the blank-slateism that depressingly still seems to still seems to dominate so much of the discourse these days. mostly not technical at all - there are a few sections where she does have to get into details, and as always i find that kind of bio talk numbing and impenetrable, even when it's as user friendly as it is here. if you've read the moral animal or the blank slate or have a basic knowledge of ev/psych, this probably won't add to much to yo very good, highly readable & friendly counter to the blank-slateism that depressingly still seems to still seems to dominate so much of the discourse these days. mostly not technical at all - there are a few sections where she does have to get into details, and as always i find that kind of bio talk numbing and impenetrable, even when it's as user friendly as it is here. if you've read the moral animal or the blank slate or have a basic knowledge of ev/psych, this probably won't add to much to your intellectual quiver, but it's certainly a fine read and worth your time.

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