You and Your Genes: Who Wins? contacted me a few weeks ago to write a piece for a special report they were putting together on the theme of achievement. They asked me if I’d write something about “reproductive achievement.” As the father of two children–who will merely replace me and my wife in the human species count–I didn’t think I had much personal authority on the matter. And, frankly, the whole notion of success by progeny is not really all that it’s cracked up to be. After all, just about everyone alive a few thousand years ago is the ancestor of everyone alive today. Even if you give up your own sense of achievement and focus on the genes you pass down, they may spread across the world thanks to natural selection or just dumb luck. So, in the spirit of deconstruction, I wrote an essay. See what you think.

Update: In a momentary lapse into pre-blog behavior, I neglected to include links to papers I discussed in the essay. Here they are: