Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky

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Read Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst Online Free - Why do we do the things we do?
More than a decade in the making, this game-changing book is Robert Sapolsky's genre-shattering attempt to answer that question as fully as perhaps only he could, looking at it from every angle. Sapolsky's storytelling concept is delightful but it also has a powerful intrinsic logic: he starts by looking at the factors that bear on a person's reaction in the precise moment a behavior occurs, and then hops back in time from there, in stages, ultimately ending up at the deep history of our species and its evolutionary legacy.
And so the first category of explanation is the neurobiological one. A behavior occurs--whether an example of humans at our best, worst, or somewhere in between. What went on in a person's brain a second before the behavior happened? Then Sapolsky pulls out to a slightly larger field of vision, a little earlier in time: What sight, sound, or smell caused the nervous system to produce that behavior? And then, what hormones acted hours to days earlier to change how responsive that individual is to the stimuli that triggered the nervous system? By now he has increased our field of vision so that we are thinking about neurobiology and the sensory world of our environment and endocrinology in trying to explain what happened.
Sapolsky keeps going: How was that behavior influenced by structural changes in the nervous system over the preceding months, by that person's adolescence, childhood, fetal life, and then back to his or her genetic makeup? Finally, he expands the view to encompass factors larger than one individual. How did culture shape that individual's group, what ecological factors millennia old formed that culture? And on and on, back to evolutionary factors millions of years old.
The result is one of the most dazzling tours d'horizon of the science of human behavior ever attempted, a majestic synthesis that harvests cutting-edge research across a range of disciplines to provide a subtle and nuanced perspective on why we ultimately do the things we do...for good and for ill. Sapolsky builds on this understanding to wrestle with some of our deepest and thorniest questions relating to tribalism and xenophobia, hierarchy and competition, morality and free will, and war and peace. Wise, humane, often very funny, Behave is a towering achievement, powerfully humanizing, and downright heroic in its own right.

Title : Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 1594205078
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 496 pages


Pouting rated it ★★★★★

June 21, 2017

Robert Sapolsky is a neuroendocrinologist and has studied primates for decades in Africa, and I love him. If anyone wants to watch it he did a TED talk on what makes human's unique from other animals: The book itself covers a wide range of topics, mostly...

Michael rated it ★★★★★

June 04, 2017

This is an outstanding and monumental synthesis on the causes of behavior by a talented researcher and teacher. He excels in making the science of the brain and behavior accessible to a wide audience without oversimplification. The goal is to provide a handle on how to account for the origins of...

Tony rated it ★★★★☆

December 14, 2017

I finished this yesterday, but I had to stop first and catch my breath before writing a review. This was a whirlwind, a high-speed ride, exercising my amygdala mightily. No book I’ve read, at least this year, has challenged me the way this one has. And not just the science, which I will largely f...

Morgan rated it ★★★★★

October 21, 2017

Sapolsky is my lord. He's an Olympian god on high. He's a titan. This book is retarded. It's almost impossible to read. It's like 10,000 pages long. But it's next to impossible not to adore. It's basically a textbook for his ridiculously, cosmically good Stanford undergraduate course on the biolog...

Atila rated it ★★★★★

July 16, 2017

Um dos melhores livros que já li, tranquilamente. Sapolsky trabalha com bioquímica do comportamento e entende muito do tema. Seu primeiro livro que li, Memórias de um Primata, explicava como ele fez sua pesquisa com babuínos selvagens, acompanhando os animais e coletando o sangue deles para enten...

Amir rated it ★★★★★

December 25, 2017

This is an important book, which I suspect, will be a classic. the whole book was dedicated to explaining how our biology and environment interact to give rise to our behavior and what does that implicate for our ethical and social views. That being said, Behave could have as easily been a compre...

Trish rated it ★★★★★

August 13, 2017

Whatever your discipline of study, this book has some degree of relevance, considering as it does human biology. I wish to convey that this book is aspirational for everyone, even the author himself. He readily admits to gaps in his/our knowledge about human biology, but he tries, in this mighty...

Peter rated it ★★★★★

May 19, 2017

Sapolsky might become one of my new favorite authors. In this work, he surveys the literature on Brains, Genetics, Culture, and puts together a detailed picture of what makes us tick. He takes in a large chunk of the human condition and lays out much of the known science around it. Be it gender,...

Max rated it ★★★★☆

October 22, 2017

Sapolsky explores the causes of human behavior at every level. Although he throws in some zingers and catchy vernacular, this is a serious work that can read like a textbook. He divides the book in two parts. The first deals with everything that affects behavior: The brain, neurons, neurotransmit...

Dan rated it ★★★★★

May 26, 2017

Wow. This is brilliant, mind-clearing work by Stanford Professor and MacArthur "genius" Fellow Robert Sapolsky. Not only does he present the latest data in fields of neuroscience and psychology, but his presentation of several issues of human behavior from the levels of neurobiology, sensory and...

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