Heroes, Rogues, & Lovers: Testosterone and Behavior

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9780071376280: Heroes, Rogues, & Lovers: Testosterone and Behavior

Testosterone has been the misunderstood human hormone since the early 1970s, blamed for everything to rape to low intelligence to road rage. But the authors argue that the picture is more complex: testosterone is related to things as diverse as criminal violence and the way people smile; it affects our language ability and the way we navigate in the space around us; it helps predict what occupation we will enter and whether or not we will marry, have extra-marital affairs, and divorce. It affects both men and women. Culled from over 20 years of research on the subject, this text is the story of what we know and what we are learning about testosterone - from its role in human evolution, to its links between animal and human nature, to its connections with violence, attraction, and social interaction.

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Review:

To understand how life works, you must understand testosterone. This male hormone--which is present in both men and women--determines who leads society and how it is led; the professions we choose, and in some cases, how well we do in them; and in some cases how long we live--after all, the high-testosterone guy tends to be a risk-taker.

Author James Dabbs, a social psychologist, has been studying testosterone for decades at Georgia State University, and many of the studies coming out of his lab have made headlines. To pick just one of dozens of examples, he and his colleagues found that high-testosterone soldiers were more likely to get in trouble with the law, use drugs and alcohol, and have 10 or more sex partners in a year. The more testosterone one has, the more wild oats one feels compelled to sow.

Of course, testosterone isn't a static thing; it rises with feelings of victory and accomplishment and crashes with feelings of defeat. Dabbs takes us through the world of testosterone--from the basic chemistry to how it affects love, work, and society--and makes it literate, erudite, and outrageously entertaining. Snippets of Shakespeare are used to make a point alongside stories of high-testosterone female prisoners. Men will find Heroes, Rogues, and Lovers a glorious explanation of their hormonal core, while women can use it to understand the men in their lives, and even themselves--after all, testosterone increases libido in geese as well as ganders. --Lou Schuler

From the Publisher:

Testosterone, as Dr. James M. Dabbs attests, "is a small molecule with large effects." It contributed to the evolution of the sexes and the evolution of smiling; it gives love its spark and its sometimes violent flame; it effects the behavior of men, women, children, and the culture in general. No one is outside the influence of testosterone.

Jim Dabbs has recently been in the middle of the tug-o-war over the question of testosterone's influence on behavior and gender roles. Cover articles and raging debates in TIME magazine, the New York Times, and Slate.com have thrust this topic to the fore. People are talking about testosterone.

In a highly readable and engaging style, Heroes, Rogues, & Lovers reveals the many amazing facets of this "small molecule" and, in the process, gives readers a new understanding of themselves and the people around them. I am very excited to be able to publish this fascinating and important book.

Griffin Hansbury Associate Editor McGraw-Hill Trade Science

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