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Summary

This audiobook narrated by Katherine Fenton makes a provocative and timely case for how the science of genetics can help create a more just and equal society

In recent years, scientists like Kathryn Paige Harden have shown that DNA makes us different, in our personalities and in our health - and in ways that matter for educational and economic success in our current society.

In The Genetic Lottery, Harden introduces listeners to the latest genetic science, dismantling dangerous ideas about racial superiority and challenging us to grapple with what equality really means in a world where people are born different. Weaving together personal stories with scientific evidence, Harden shows why our refusal to recognize the power of DNA perpetuates the myth of meritocracy, and argues that we must acknowledge the role of genetic luck if we are ever to create a fair society.

Reclaiming genetic science from the legacy of eugenics, this groundbreaking book offers a bold new vision of society where everyone thrives, regardless of how one fares in the genetic lottery.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 Kathryn Paige Harden (P)2021 Princeton University Press

Critic reviews

“This brilliant book is without a doubt the very best exposition on our genes, how they influence quite literally everything about us, and why this means we should care more, not less, about the societal structures in which we live.” (Angela Duckworth, author of Grit)

“To me, the aim of genetic research should be threefold: to find out which differences between people are real, which of those matter, and how to use that knowledge to get the best outcomes for all people. This fascinating book is a step toward that goal.” (David Epstein, author of Range)

“Harden expertly explains what we can - and importantly, can’t - take away from genetic research, and does so without shying away from the complexities or controversies. Nobody should be allowed to opine about genetics in public until they’ve read this book.” (Stuart Ritchie, author of Science Fictions)

What listeners say about The Genetic Lottery

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  • James
  • 12-10-21

Mix of Genetic Science and Ideology

The science in the book is spot on. The author conveys the extent to which genes influence outcomes, and the role environment plays as well.

I found it a bit contradictory when she says race is a social construct that is completely meaningless, but then says most genetic studies have been done on European populations, which are so different they can't be compared with non-European ancestry. Can't really blame her for side-stepping the racial discussion after seeing how Charles Murray has been treated though.

The biggest leap is going from the science to politics. Because genes are unfair, we need the government to re-balance the scales. We have to choose between equality of opportunity, or equality of outcome. To me, there's a clear 3rd option, the utilitarian ideal to do the most good for the most people. That might mean accepting the Mathew effect and triaging lost causes. I want the best surgeon, and I don't care if he's only the best cause of his genes or if he makes 5x as much as I do.

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  • Michael Linn
  • 09-10-21

Deep ethical questions that cannot be ingnored

I read Plomin’s Blueprint, which was a great introduction; this was a fascinating further discussion on how to use the insights of behavioral genetics. Largely well-reasoned. Undoubtedly, will be a major text for understanding a field that can only be on the ascent. A bit cloying at times, but that’s probably just about my high polygenic scores for eye rolling. [Also, annoying that the reader mispronounces several words that get repeated.]

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  • Martin R. Crim
  • 07-10-21

thought provoking

I'm going to recommend this widely. it's critical to social justice work and to preserving democracy