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Too Smart for our Own Good


  • 60 b/w illus. 2 tables
  • Page extent: 546 pages
  • Size: 247 x 174 mm
  • Weight: 1.07 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521757690)

  • Also available in Hardback
  • Published December 2009

In stock

$44.99 (P)

We are destroying our natural environment at a constantly increasing pace, and in so doing undermining the preconditions of our own existence. Why is this so? This book reveals that our ecologically disruptive behavior is in fact rooted in our very nature as a species.

Drawing on evolution theory, biology, anthropology, archaeology, economics, environmental science and history, this book explains the ecological predicament of humankind by placing it in the context of the first scientific theory of our species’ development, taking over where Darwin left off.

The theory presented is applied in detail to the whole of our seven-million-year history. Due to its comprehensiveness, and in part thanks to its extensive glossary and index, this book can function as a compact encyclopedia covering the whole development of Homo sapiens. It would also suit a variety of courses in the life and social sciences. Most importantly, Too Smart makes evident the very core of the paradigm to which our species must shift if it is to survive.

Anyone concerned about the future of humankind should read this ground-breaking work.

This book:
• Provides the first and only theory of humankind’s development
• Explains that economic and political (military) power have their respective biological bases in individual vs. group territoriality
• Provides the first classification of human instincts: into the survival, sexual and social instincts
• Provides the most inclusive characterization of different kinds of population check yet presented
• Explains the importance of the anthropological, archaeological and economic findings of the past 50 years to understanding humankind’s development
• Clarifies the preconditions for human life on earth
• Predicts what will happen to us in the near future


Preface; Introduction; 1. Scientific ground rules; 2. The new views in anthropology, archaeology and economics; 3. Theoretical background to the vicious circle principle; 4. The vicious circle principle of the development of humankind; 5. The development of humankind; 6. The vicious circle today; 7. … and too dumb to change; Conclusion; Glossary; Notes; References; Index.


"Dilworth's book is very interesting, well written, and based on an incredible amount of research. It provides a thoroughly novel view of extremely important issues, one which will add considerably to the discussion concerning limits to growth." - Dennis Meadows, co-author of Limits to Growth

"[Dilworth's] economics discussions are on target. I congratulate him on his very comprehensive undertaking." - Herman Daly, author of Steady-State Economics

"An impressive volume--comprehensive and scholarly. The book's central ideas are of critical importance for humankind." Tony (AJ) McMichael, author of Human Frontiers, Environments and Disease (Cambridge University Press, 2001).

"[Dilworth] writes extremely well, is widely read, and has a unique wealth of knowledge. This book is unique in its coverage and presentation; and the examples it provides are excellent." - David Pimentel, Cornell University; editor of Food, Energy and Society

"... a very fine piece of work, and most welcome as we humans careen toward crisis and disaster. I hope the book gets widely discussed and perhaps even starts to change the extraordinarily ignorant, fantasy-driven media discussions of contemporary problems that seem to focus on aspects of ideology and belief to the neglect of the underlying processes that, I increasingly fear, are driving us to ruin. ... I like the book very much. It is a piece of first-rate scholarship written in a clear and engaging style. ... I would like to see this book widely read by a literate general audience. It could also serve as the basic text for upper division courses in human ecology in departments of anthropology, sociology, geography (and maybe even economics)." - Allen W. Johnson, co-author of The Evolution of Human Societies

"Dilworth's book is an exceptionally 'good read' and is a synthesis of many important components (ecological, social, and technological) that are commonly treated in isolation from each other. Information is provided in a systematic and orderly way, and the flow from one idea to the next is almost seamless. The book also has a wealth of useful references. ... [It] is well written and should be important to anyone interested in the future of civilization and Homo sapiens. Such breadth and depth in a single book are rare." - Environmental Conservation

"I would honestly have to say that this is one of the most important books I’ve ever read." - Ronnie Wright, World Change Café (

"Dilworth may yet prove to have the edge in prescience." - Population and Development Review, December 2010

"The text would undoubtedly be useful in stimulating debate, particularly in providing a comprehensive historical context... This is pertinent at a time when issues relating to population size and the carrying capacity of the Earth are taking a prominent part in the debate on climate change. In summary, this book offers a fascinating overview of human history and evolution from the point of view of a specific philosophical perspective." - Jane Robbins, AREA (Royal Geographical Society), August 2011

"..this is an important book, which effectively challenges the conventional view of the nature of human development." - Mick Common, review for Ecological Economics

"The book is an excellent resource for students... The history of evolution, the glossary, the illustrations, and the persuasive arguments backed up by the comprehensive literature review add to the quality of the book. An impressive and informative undertaking. This book is a must read for those concerned about the future of the human race and hoping for lessons from the past." - Environments, January 2012

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