On Frans de Waal's Coffee Table

The celebrated primatologist gives DISCOVER a peek at his reading list.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

What is renowned Emory University primatologist Frans de Waal (see “Has Science Found a Way to End All Wars?”) reading now? From his armchair at home outside Atlanta, de Waal is just as likely to be looking out the picture window (“I have a forest full of possums and raccoons and birds and cats and deer”) as picking up from the coffee table:

The Neuroscience of Fair Play: Why We (Usually) Follow the Golden Rule (2007) by Donald Pfaff, a neurological explanation of morality

The Meaning of Night: A Confession (2006) by Michael Cox, a Victorian-era thriller

• Three cats who converge as soon as he sits down

Water for Elephants (2007) by Sara Gruen, a novel about joining the circus (he got through only the first 50 pages: “She depicts male life in a way that I can’t relate to, as if all men are nasty and brutish.”)

Masculinity and Femininity: The Taboo Dimension of National Cultures (1998) by Geert Hofstede

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