Why The Reckless Survive

…and Other Secrets of Human Nature

Selected as one of the “Best Sci-Tech Books of 1990” by Library Journal

“Konner is one of the most skilled and professionally qualified science expositors working today. He addresses questions of the humn condition in an entertaining manner that draws deep.”

Edward O. Wilson, author of Sociobiology and On Human Nature

WTRS cover

“A beautifully written, spellbinding book filled with new facts and fresh insights about the human mind, body, and soul. Seldom does the technical competence of a practicing scientist find itself so happily matched with uncommon literary gifts.”

Marvin Harris, author of Our Kind and The Rise of Anthropological Theory

“A gifted essayist, Dr. Konner weaves disarming personal anecdotes with anthropology’s wide view of behavior and psychiatry’s deep understanding of brain mechanisms. Whether pondering the evolutionary usefulness of the smile or the link between an infant’s fear of strangers and social prejudice, Dr. Konner’s prose entrances as it informs.”

Daniel Goleman, The New York Times

“Dr. Konner is always both informative and challenging. His willingness to consider interesting new ideas, whether or not they mesh with his own views, distinguishes his scientific stance from the emotional shrillness of most debates on human nature.”

Robin Dunbar, The New York Times Book Review

“To his training in anthropology and medicine, Konner adds an inherent skill at writing uncluttered prose…[He] felicitously combines humor and a facility for viewing material in a wide perspective with the stuff of technology and biological science in these essays of unfailing interest.”

Publisher’s Weekly

“Konner offers a fresh set of stimulating reveries on the relationship between man’s biological and cultural selves…Konner’s ideas are original and entertaining. An exceptionally diverting collection.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Konner brings to his writing a wealth of knowledge from both the social and biological sciences, and can integrate the pragmatic skills of the concerned physician with the curiosity of a basic scientist . . . What’s more, he writes very well indeed . . . Though his topics are wide-ranging, Konner’s writings are not to be confused with science journalism . . . He is a humanistic philosopher who has undertaken to inform himself widely and deeply about the biological, evolutionary, and cultural causes of the human condition—and who has developed the discipline as a writer to convey both information and emotion.”

William H. Calvin, Seattle Weekly

“Sociobiologists have had the audacity to speculate on the deepest mysteries of human being . . . One might think that a book on human nature by someone as irreverent as Melvin Konner would only stoke the fire . . . But although Konner continues to delight in challenging the conventional wisdom—speculating here, for instance, that the first tools might have been sticks and slings invented by women—his authorial voice has grown warmer, more empathic . . . Instead of snidely dismissing our need to hold on to some workable definition of human singularity, though, Konner goes in search of it.”

Alex Raksin, The Los Angeles Times

“In sum, this book is just what it should be, a collection of true essays, thought-provoking and insightful, on why we are the way we are. Konner has perfected his skills as an essayist with regular columns for The Sciences and The New York Times. Collecting his thoughts in one volume is so much the better.”

Paul Bargren, Milwaukee Journal


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