Now I'm getting the chance to read books I didn't have time for before. Think of me whenever you see the slogan "So many books, so little time!" Now I've got the time.  Cheers, Fred.

The Fairness Instinct: The Robin Hood Mentality and Our Biological Nature

Book Number: 
Date Fred Read: 
April 2018
Fred's Rating: 
Total Pages: 
Prometheus Books

L. Sun is a professor of biology at Central Washington University. He first studied biology and animal ecology and then he focused on zoology and animal behavior. Co-author of two books, this is his first book as the sole author.

I bought the hardcover edition but I give here the Amazon website for the Kindle edition:

[None of the ISBN-10, ISBN-13, or ASIN numbers on Amazon’s websites for the three editions (Kindle, hardcover, or paperback) are recognized by Amazon, thus the ‘no image Circle' appears. I think this new change by Amazon is not good. However, you can see the images of this books' covers at the website above.]

The home page has a good review (click on ‘Read more’), but I got much more from the first Top Customer Review by “multimonitors.” It is a review by a 14-year old who describes this book much as I would have – first by briefly describing well each of the four parts of the book. After this he gives a paragraph that begins with “The only negative part of the book is that there is often an excess of information given.” What he says in this paragraph is nearly identical with what I was planning to say about the book’s “excess of information.” But I enjoyed the stories of the Robin Hood characters, so I didn’t find them to be excessive.

I didn’t find the author’s statement that the fairness instinct is 'in out DNA' to be specific enough. Perhaps the author felt it was enough to call it an instinct. But I have learned that it is wise to consider humans to possess a sixth “sense” – one beyond our five physical senses of ‘ssstt’ (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste). If we call this sixth sense ‘mind’ (as do most Buddhist philosophers) then we can think of mind as having at least three parts: imagination, intuition, and the transcendental. Instincts would be within the intuition part of our mind. It would also be in the intuition part of the minds of primates. We have known for several years of studies that primates have a sense of fairness, which is expressed with unmistaken ‘vigor of protest’ when a primate sees the neighboring primate getting a better food item than the very upset primate was given at the same time. The author describes well the ability of the primate’s sense of fairness.

But with about half the book offering little new to me, and when significant parts have enough excess of information to provide me with a ‘cure for insomnia,’ then the book has lost value for me. There was enough of such to bring my overall rating of this book down to three stars.