The Book

The final cover design!

Sex, Genes & Rock ‘n’ Roll: How evolution has shaped the modern world was published 1 June 2011 by New South Books. If you like, you can order a copy at 20 % discount by following this link to the NewSouth Books website.

You can keep up to date with news about Sex, Genes & Rock ‘n’ Roll by subscribing to this feed or “Liking” the Facebook page by clicking the button below. Paradoxically, there is another Facebook page that reproduces an early Wikipedia entry for the book that was subsequently deleted due to “lack of notability”. Perhaps, in time, the Wikipedia entry will resurrect itself – possibly even reconstructed from the fossilised Facebook Facsimile.


  • Another very fine review in the Cairns Post (4 November 2011) “Verdict: It’s ancestry, animals, obesity and sex. The writing is funny and reader friendly and you’ll be busting to quote it at the dinner table. You must read it.”
  • A wonderful review in The Sydney Morning Herald (9 July 2011) concludes “This is a sublime piece of popular science.”
  • A full-page review by Dr Clio Cresswell in the Australian Literary Review on publication day (1 June).
  • A sensational review from Professor Mark Elgar (Melbourne University) in The Conversation (17 June 2011)
  • A long, positive, and entertaining review by Stephen Saunders in The Canberra Times (6 August 2011)
  • A short review in New Scientist by Wendy Zukerman.
  • Glen Humphries in The Illawarra Mercury “It’s a book that could well do for evolutionary biology what Freakonomics did for economics.”
  • Steve Carroll in The Age (Melbourne) on 11 June
  • Heather Catchpole’s review in COSMOS Magazine (June/July issue)
  • Leigh Dayton in The Australian (Review Magazine 28 May).


Chapter 9 (Blame it on the Stones) is excepted in the August/September issue of COSMOS Magazine (Issue 40). Other parts of the book appear, modified, in posts at ABC Science Online, The Conversation, The Sydney Morning Herald and National Times. All of those pieces have been republished in the blog part of this website.


The book received wonderful endorsements for the book from Geoffrey Miller, Baba Brinkman and David Barash, excerpts of which appear on the cover. Here they are in full:

Nature and nurture interact to produce behavior – but how, exactly? In this engaging and witty book, biologist Rob Brooks shows how human nature interacts with social and economic conditions to explain some of the most troubling aspects of modern human life – obesity, environmental degradation, over-population, sexual conflict, polygyny, female-biased abortion, and heavy metal music. His science is good, his writing is clear, and his policy suggestions would make the world a better place. A must-read for the evo-curious.

Geoffrey Miller, author of The Mating Mind and Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior

Finally, a book about evolution that’s as readable as a Rolling Stone article without any loss of depth or rigor.  On the contrary, even as he stage-dives into the most controversial subjects, Brooks’ rock and roll writing style still comes fast and feverish with the facts, a dazzling tour of the hidden evolutionary logic behind modern life.  Crank up your stereo, read it, savor it, and then give it to your zoned-out friend with the headphones on.  This  book will blow her mind more than the music.

Baba Brinkman, Creator of the Rap Guide to Evolution

Evolution is much more than a history lesson; properly employed, it is an illuminating guide to the present and a powerful prophet of the future. And Rob Brooks uses evoutionary thinking not just properly, but superbly. Whether illuminating the obesity crisis, world population, the ever-fascinating panorama of sex and love, or the adaptive value of music (especially rock and roll), “Sex, Genes and Rock ‘n’ Roll” offers up a humane, accessible and scientifically informed vision of how evolution is always with us.

David P. Barash, Professor of Psychology, University of Washington and co-author of Payback: why we retaliate, redirect aggression and seek revenge

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