Evolution and Survival in the Office Jungle...
Deep down, we're just like animals. Some of us are selfish like apes. Some are chaotic like ants. . . And somehow the two clash and coalesce in 'antagonistic harmony'. A fascinating look at the evolutionary psychology, instincts and tactics of the workplace. My Manager & Other Animals examines the evolutionary psychology of work, focusing on the office, workshop, corporation or government department, and the complex and fascinating evolutionary tactics that have developed to deal with working life.
37 years ago Richard Dawkins wrote The Selfish Gene and it didn't take long for the business community to latch on to the 'selfish' part and adopt it as an industry standard. After all, it fitted in with the notion that, since we are all descended from apes, we should be like them: selfish, aggressive and competitive. More recently, astounding discoveries in human and animal behaviour (particularly ants) have shown that, in all animals, cooperation and altruism is more common than we think and more useful than we could imagine. It seems we contain an inner ape and an inner ant. How confusing; they seem like opposites, because co-operation means helping others, competition means swatting them.
What are we, ape or ant? This book shows that ant and ape are both important. Co-operation without leadership is random, leadership without co-operation is slavery. The result of these two colliding is the mad mad mad world of work and life, lovingly described in the book.
Now arrives the prolific science writer Richard Robinson, who approaches the subject with an evolutionary biologist's eye. His main point is an intriguing one. As human beings we are used to thinking we are the pinnacle of the evolutionary tree, the cream of the crop - but in so many ways our behaviour patterns mirror those of so-called 'lesser' animals. . . This book is brief, pithy, inventive and, in an odd way, rather reassuring. He sees patterns in the madness of office life where we just see madness. - Daily Mail
Richard Robinson is the author of 10 books of popular science including the Science Magic series (Oxford University Press) which was shortlisted for the Aventis Science Prize. He works full-time as a science presenter, and is regularly invited to perform demonstrations around the world at science festivals, universities and schools. He has performed at festivals ranging from the Edinburgh Science Festival to the Korean Science Festival, and lectured at universities ranging from the UK to the Ukraine. He holds a BSc in psychology.
Illustrator Kate Charlesworth has drawn regularly for New Scientist and has illustrated a wide variety of publications including The Cartoon History of Time.