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Publisher's Summary

Survival of the fittest or survival of the nicest? Since the dawn of time man has contemplated the mystery of altruism, but it was Darwin who posed the question most starkly. From the selfless ant to the stinging bee to the man laying down his life for a stranger, evolution has yielded a goodness that in theory should never be.
Set against the sweeping tale of 150 years of scientific attempts to explain kindness, The Price of Altruism tells for the first time the moving story of the eccentric American genius George Price (1922-1975), as he strives to answer evolution's greatest riddle. An original and penetrating picture of 20th century thought, it is also a deeply personal journey. From the heights of the Manhattan Project to the inspired equation that explains altruism to the depths of homelessness and despair, Price's life embodies the paradoxes of Darwin’s enigma. His tragic suicide in a squatter’s flat, among the vagabonds to whom he gave all his possessions, provides the ultimate contemplation on the possibility of genuine benevolence.
©2010 Oren Harman (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

“Enthralling.” (Frans de Waal, The New York Times Book Review)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By J. C. on 09-13-14

Wonderful audio book well worth listening to

It's a riveting story that I thoroughly enjoyed. The narration is excellent. I highly recommend it! This book will really change your outlook on how life evolved to be a cooperative race, with an element of scientific design built into the process. Not only that, but scientists were figuring this out mathematically in the 1930's. I highly recommend this book because not only the ideas are explained, but the lives of all the people connected in any way with the concepts, are told about in an interesting way so you can see really what the idea meant in that time and place. It's so exciting! The author takes you step by step through some new and exciting concepts, that scientists knew a hundred years ago or more. Theories such as group evolution went out of style but are back. It is truly mind boggling. I loved it.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 06-01-18

Meh

I really wanted to like this book but although I finished it I couldn't really get as involved in the story as I had hoped. George Price comes off as rather lost and pathetic and I found myself thinking that he wasted his life and talent. His philosophical and research interests were difficult to understand, so maybe this is the kind of book that is better read -- and reread -- than listened to. It must have been difficult to research the life of someone who moved around so much and probably didnn't leave many personal papers behind, but after reading this book I don't think that I understood George Price or his ideas much bettter than I did when I started it.

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