Books: Survival of the Prettiest

By Nancy Etcoff

As a culture, we venerate symmetrical faces, women with perky breasts, men with V-shaped torsos. But is it the fault of Vogue editors and Aaron Spelling that we do so? Skewering the popular wisdom that beauty is a social construct, this Harvard psychologist argues that we ogle such features because they radiate the health and fertility our species needs to survive. Avoiding ideological rant, Etcoff employs rigorous scientific research and amusing detail to create a great read, albeit one that won't become Naomi Wolf's favorite.

--By Anita Hamilton

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