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The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality

There seems to be an odd dynamic within popular understandings of genetics research: one side believes in equal outcomes, and cognitive ability has minimal genetic population variation ("Talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not."), so any claims about variation are suspect; and the other side waves genetic studies that show clear variation.

What's the deal? Are progressives ignoring real and important science? Kathryn Paige Harden, a genetics scientist, raises the progressive case for embracing genetic variation to create a more equal society. Just as the location and family you're born into impacts your success in life, the genetic rolls of the dice (even variation within the same family) have a massive impact on outcomes. By ignoring this science, fears about racism or classicism overtake real opportunity to improve the opportunity of marginalized groups.

It's a fascinating book that felt balanced and even-toned.


These are entirely subjective, and roughly try to capture my personal enjoyment and usefulness, and how likely I'd recommend it to others. Don't read too much into this unless you love my judgement. Rough guidelines:

A: Top quartile. Changed the way I think about something.

B: Worthwhile. I took away something useful.

C: Didn't hit, wouldn't directly recommend. Likely won't revisit.

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