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The Scent of Desire   |   That's Disgusting

 The Scent of Desire:
Discovering Our Enigmatic Sense of Smell

William Morrow:Harper Collins Publishers
Selected as a Finalist for the 2009 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books

Embark on a voyage of scientific and cultural discovery that covers the many varied aspects of scent and how it affects our emotions, preferences, memories, health, sexuality, relationships, and food cravings.

The Scent of Desire fascinates readers with how and why the sense of smell is so powerful and how it is even being harnessed by business and in new innovative technologies.  This book compels the reader to never again take their sense of smell for granted, because once these pages have been turned one will never forget how vital the sense of smell is to the most important aspects of our life.

“Until Rachel Herz told us, who would have imagined that the aesthetics and physiology of the nose would both be as rich and complicated as those of the eye and mouth and heart?  A charming and informative treatise on a vital and over-looked subject.”

Adam Gopnik, author of Through the Children's Gate and Paris to the Moon
“This is a spicy perfume of a book, redolent with fascinating facts and provocative hypotheses.”

Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor, Harvard University, author of The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, and The Stuff of Thought


"The Scent of Desire is a great reference book that everyone should read:   it gives an excellent overview of the sense of smell.  What is so important for me is that it kills some of the myths that have long been corrupting perfumery and explains where the higher debates should really be. Thank you Rachel Herz for gathering all these facts about olfaction in one place."
Christophe Laudamiel, Senior Perfumer, Fine Fragrances & Innovation

“In this tantalizing and evocative book Herz shows how the sense of smell works in every aspect of our lives and she awakens our own senses as we read.  She makes a complex science, accessible, charming and accurate and the book is fascinating, witty and wise.”

Linda Bartoshuk, Professor, University of Florida, Gainesville


“Full of fascinating facts, The Scent of Desire punctures myths and shares secrets about smells and our sometimes-unexpected and emotional reactions to them. Skunks and roses will never seem the same to me again.”

Marlene Zuk, professor of biology, University of California, Riverside and author of Riddled with Life: Friendly Worms, Ladybug Sex, and the Parasites That Make Us Who We Are

Press Contact at Harper Collins:  212.207.7498
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 That's Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion
W.W. Norton and Company
An entertaining and revealing look at the science behind the emotion of disgust.

Disgust originated to prevent us from eating poisonous food, but this simple safety mechanism has since evolved into a uniquely human emotion that dictates how we treat others, shapes our cultural norms, and even has implications for our mental and physical health.

That's Disgusting illuminates the science behind disgust, tackling such colorful topics as cannibalism, humor, and pornography to address larger questions:

  • Why do sources of disgust vary among people and societies?
  • Where does disgust come from in our brain and what deeper fears does it reflect?
  • How does disgust influence our individual personalities, our daily lives, and our values?
It turns out that disgust underlies more than we realize, from political ideologies to the lure of horror movies. Drawing on surprising research in psychology and evolutionary biology, That's Disgusting shows us that disgust mirrors human nature and, as a result, is as complex and varied as we are.

Read an Excerpt

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