My rating: 3 of 5 stars
As Homo Sapiens, we are hardwired to seek change and adapt. From our very first ancestors on the African continent, through the changes of the earth's and climate cycles, they adapted or faced obliteration. The Neanderthal, our cousins, had large brains and knew how to use tools. However, they were resistant to change and traveled little more than 15 kilometers during their lifetimes. When water dried up or the climate changed, they refused to change with it and died off. Meanwhile, our African ancestors, upon meeting the same challenges, migrated and eventually found themselves on every continent linking each of our human family together with this capacity to seek out new and better for the sake of survival.
Today's homo sapiens share the innate desire to survive but no longer need the skills of days of yore (that's a long, long time ago). The author deconstructs the different studies done by sociologists, anthropologists, and psychologists while providing modern day (within the past couple hundred years) examples of neophiles. While the societies consist of approximately 15% neophiles (actively seeking new thrills or change), 15% neophobes (resistant to change), the majority of people lie somewhere in the middle. The author explores the biological, cultural and individual reasons for our places on the continuum.
This is not the most interesting book for a person without leanings toward anthropology, psychology or sociology. On the other hand, there were parts that I found fascinating although much of it is theory and not hard science (hence the above stated studies). I enjoyed it in the way that I am a neophile in regards to sociology, anthropology and psychology. Always seeking the next thrill, I am. Kind of like a college professor. Just a thrill a minute.
If you are looking for a book to answer the questions of how much is too much and discuss the evils of technology and techno-addicts, this is not the book you want. The book simply discusses the way we seek out new information and why along with application to our own lives.
Well written and researched.