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The New Psychology of Love

Yale University Press
The sweet mystery of love is beginning to yield to the probings of social and natural scientists. This volume presents theories both biological and cultural, and proposes taxonomies of love, including Sternberg’s conception of love as a collection of “stories”—fairy tale, mystery, horror (see “Love Stories,” Spring 2007). Biological theories boil down to the idea that love is ruled by hormones and neurotransmitters: sex drive by testosterone, romantic love by norepinephrine and serotonin, and attachment by oxytocin and vasopressin. Cross-cultural studies suggest, among other things, that romantic love thrives in individualistic America but not among the collectivist Chinese.

Fear of Enemies and Collective Action

Cambridge University Press
Roman nobles and plebians vs. Carthage. Britain and the Soviet Union vs. Nazi Germany. The United States and Pakistan vs. Islamic radicals. The maxim “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” has brought together strange bedfellows, from the Peloponnesian War to the so-called War on Terror. This exploration of “negative association”—the role played by the fear of external threats in shaping political groups—spans Greek and Roman political thought through Machiavelli, Hobbes, and the twentieth-century realists, proving that “people everywhere define themselves as much by figuring out who they are as by finding out who they are not.”

Pretty is What Changes: Impossible Choices, the Breast Cancer Gene, and How I Defied My Destiny

Spiegel and Grau
Jessica (formerly Tiffany) Queller’s mother, a vivid, complicated fashion designer grappling with ovarian cancer, picks through a pile of hospital gowns, rejecting the garments with rips or unsightly prints in search of the prettiest. Less than a year after her mother’s death, Queller is forced to confront her own ideas about beauty, sexuality, and identity when she is tested for the BRCA “breast cancer” gene mutation, which gives her an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer and a 44 percent chance of ovarian cancer. She chronicles the agonizing odyssey of her decision to undergo a prophylactic double mastectomy.

Kartchner Caverns: How Two Cavers Discovered and Saved One of the WOnders of the Natural World

University of Arizona Press
It has all the elements of a classic boys’ adventure story—two young explorers stumble upon a hidden, treasure-filled kingdom. The heroes, Randy Tufts and Gary Tenen, are college students and amateur spelunkers, and the enchanted kingdom is an untouched cave outside Tucson, Arizona. Dazzled by its stalagmites and stalactites, the two christen their find Xanadu and take extraordinary measures to keep it secret and protected from vandals. After a quarter century of effort, the two achieve their dream of opening it to the public as a “show cave.”

Photo: Gale Zucker

Tim Manners, A79

When’s the last time a TV commercial persuaded you to buy a product? Hmm? Tim Manners thought as much. A marketing specialist who publishes both The Hub magazine and an online marketing digest called Reveries.com, he sounds the death knell for advertising and rejects many of the gimmicks marketers have relied on for years. In Relevance, he draws on 80 case studies and interviews with more than 50 top marketers. The book argues for a return to the basics: listening to customers and creating products and services that solve problems and improve lives. He explains:

“More than 90 percent of what happens in marketing is not relevant to consumers. Too much time is spent trying to sell people on things they don’t want or need. Companies achieve relevance by developing better products or services and offering them where and when people need them.

Demography is a primitive tool, a vestige of mass media. When you had only three TV networks and seven major women’s magazines, it wasn’t as necessary to understand your audience. Most of the marketers I spoke with thought there was a real problem with relying on demographics. When I asked Jim Adams, the executive director of marketing for Chipotle Mexican Grill, who his brand was targeting, he said, “People who eat.”

Advertising doesn’t help people solve their problems or live happier lives. Most of the time it’s doing the opposite—it’s annoying, it’s telling you things you don’t want to know. People don’t have the patience for that anymore, and it works against the brand. Tom Boyles, the head of customer loyalty for Disney, talks about “the economic value of doing nothing.” Sometimes the customer doesn’t want to hear from you.

Pressure for growth gets in the way of what’s in the best long-term interest of the consumer and therefore of the the brand. Starbucks fell right into that trap. As a result of pressure from Wall Street to expand, they built stores where people didn’t necessarily want them. Starbucks learned the hard way that ubiquity is not the same as relevance.

It takes real commitment to build and sustain relevance. Stew Leonard, Jr., understood that people would drive long distances for an outstanding fish market, so at great expense and tremendous disruption to his business, he ripped out his existing fish market in Norwalk, Connecticut, and replaced it with something truly spectacular. This meant selling fish out of ice buckets for six months while the new fish counter was being built. Simply running some flashy ads about his old fish market would not have had nearly the same impact.

Companies think they’re progressive because they’re concentrating on buzz marketing and online ads. But it’s all the same—a unilateral message to the consumer to buy something. Marketers see a new medium, and their first response is, “How do we get advertising in there?” That’s the worst thing you can do. The real opportunity with, say, blogs, is to listen to what people are saying about your brand and use that information to make a more relevant product or service.”

Also of Note

In Poisoned For Pennies: The Economics of Toxics and Precaution (Island Press), FRANK ACKERMAN, director of the Research and Policy Program at the Global Development and Environment Institute, argues that cost-benefit analysis impedes environmental clean-up and protection. MICHELLE EPHRAIM, J91, provides the first book-length examination of Jewish women in Renaissance drama, Reading the Jewish Woman on the Elizabethan Stage (Ashgate). Interviews with 150 people who span the sexes illuminate Transgender Voices: Beyond Women and Men (University Press of New England) by LORI B. GIRSHICK, G80. DEBRA LUFTMAN, M87, a Beverly Hills dermatologist, and Eva Ritvo, a South Beach psychiatrist, pool their insights on achieving that inner glow in The Beauty Prescription: The Complete Formula for Looking and Feeling Beautiful (McGraw Hill). Vet Confidential (Ballantine) by LOUISE MURRAY, V93, is a veritable “Dr. Spock” for pet owners. VINCENT O’NEIL, F96, has penned his third tale of the amateur sleuth Frank Cole, Exile Trust (St. Martin’s). RONALD PIES, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Tufts, wittily applies an ancient philosophy to daily life in Everything Has Two Handles: The Stoic’s Guide to the Art of Living (Hamilton Books). Teens explain themselves to teachers in Fires in the Middle School Bathroom by Kathleen Cushman and LAURA ROGERS, lecturer in education. JONATHAN STRONG, lecturer in English, tells of the aesthetic and erotic development of a young artist in his novel Drawn From Life (Quale Press). A roster of impressive writers meditate on words both shocking and oblique, from “aphrodisiac” to “silver-balling,” in Dirty Words: A Literary Encyclopedia of Sex (Bloomsbury), edited by ELLEN SUSSMAN, J76. Plant a Father’s Day fruit tree, mark your family trips on a bedroom map, enjoy a February “family hibernation day”—just a few of the pleasant suggestions in The Joy of Family Traditions (Celestial Arts) by JENNIFER TRAINER THOMPSON, J77 (who also wrote “Playing with Fire”).

  © 2008 Tufts University Tufts Publications, 80 George St., Medford, MA 02155