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Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst Paperback – 18 June 2018
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It’s no exaggeration to say that Behave is one of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read ― Wall Street Journal
Behave is the best detective story ever written, and the most important. If you've ever wondered why someone did something – good or bad, vicious or generous – you need to read this book. If you think you already know why people behave as they do, you need to read this book. In other words, everybody needs to read it. It should be available on prescription (side effects: chronic laughter; highly addictive). They should put Behave in hotel rooms instead of the Bible: the world would be a much better, wiser place -- Kate Fox, author of Watching the English
Magisterial … This extraordinary survey of the science of human behaviour takes the reader on an epic journey … Sapolsky makes the book consistently entertaining, with an infectious excitement at the puzzles he explains … a miraculous synthesis of scholarly domains -- Steven Poole ― Guardian
Truly all-encompassing … detailed, accessible, fascinating ― Telegraph
Rarely does an almost 800-page book keep my attention from start to finish, but Behave is exceptional in its scale, scope, detail and writing style ... Sapolsky places what makes us special in the wider context of humans as animals with brains that are fundamentally similar to those of other species. It is the first book that does so comprehensively enough to qualify as a guide to human behaviour -- Frans de Waal ― Science
A miraculous book, by far the best treatment of violence, aggression, and competition ever. Its depth and breadth of scholarship are amazing, building on Sapolsky’s own research and his vast knowledge of the neurobiology, genetic, and behavioral literature. All this is done brilliantly with a light and funny touch that shows why Sapolsky is recognized as one of the greatest teachers in science today -- Paul Ehrlich, author of Human Natures
A great writer and a superb guide to human nature, Sapolsky shows you how all the perspectives and systems connect, and he makes you laugh and marvel along the way. A beautifully crafted work about the biology of morality -- Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind
One of the best scientist-writers of our time -- Oliver Sacks
Behave is like a great historical novel, with excellent prose and encylopedic detail. It traces the most important story that can ever be told -- E O Wilson
As wide as it is deep, this book is colorful, electrifying, and moving. Sapolsky leverages his deep expertise to ask the most fundamental questions about being human -- David Eagleman, author of Incognito
Marvellous. Behave gives us the knowledge of how to manifest more of our best selves and less of our worst, individually and as a society -- Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit
One of the finest natural history writers around ― The New York Times
Robert Sapolsky’s students must love him … witty, erudite and passionate about clear communication … the implications of fascinating scientific findings are illuminated through topical stories … then Sapolsky reaches for the big, synthetic pay-offs, examining how, together, these insights can enhance our understanding of the forces that lead to tribalism, violence, dehumanization and war – as well as tolerance, empathy and peace … The analysis is arresting and the writing is often moving … It is impossible not to deeply admire a project bold entire to ask an entire field to work to create a more just and peaceful world ― Nature
Sapolsky’s book shows in exquisite detail how culture, context and learning shape everything our genes, brains, hormones and neurons do ― Times Literary Supplement
- Publisher : VINTAGE ARROW - MASS MARKET (18 June 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 800 pages
- ISBN-10 : 009957506X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0099575061
- Dimensions : 12.9 x 4 x 19.8 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Robert Sapolsky invokes interest and curiosity right from the start - talking about how we are very conflicted in our beliefs – especially we condone many acts of violence, but do support others. I have to admit I have many conflicts I am unable to resolve myself – such as the fact that I find very impressive the progress that science has made as detailed in this book, and yet I am very pained that much of this has come with cruel experiments on animals.
The organisation of the book is very logical – it traces an action from when it happens, to moments before, months/years before and potentially several years earlier in cases. Experiments show that there are several markers in our brain which light up, before we take any action. So the big question (which the book Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari explores as well) – do we really have free will? Do we have the ability to stop when the natural instinct kicks in? As it turns out, much of how we act is a result of a multitude of factors – events which have happened at any time previously - sometimes well in the past, our genes, environment, and many others, some of it still to be determined. This has extremely important implications for law enforcement as well.
There are excellent examples: eg: when you compliment a child on good work, telling them they are clever vs telling them they are hardworking invokes very different responses. While we appreciate empathy – the ability to step into and feel the others experience, empathy stalls action. Compassion is more effective. The discussion around how the brain responds to meditation are alluded to – though I think it deserved far more coverage. There are also other interesting lessons around how judges and juries decide punishment based on a number of factors which logic says should have no bearing.
The issues of “Us” vs “Them” is discussed in detail, and deservedly so. Our brain instantly associates some faces as “Us” and some others as “Them”. We develop this categorisation over time and this association is very strong in adulthood and near impossible to get over. While this is true even in animals, our behaviours are more complex. The “Us” categorisation could be based on country, language, religion, colour, and others. The natural tendency is to think in terms of aggregate labels rather than as individuals, accounting for much of our biases.
This is a big book, and one for which I should have taken notes. But I did not. Since there is a wealth of important information, I expect I will have to revisit the book again – when I feel I am forgetting its contents.
The Appendix has information on Brain / Genes / Hormones which is worth taking a look at. This is an exceptional book, though certainly not light reading. Since it packs great amount of detail, it is a more difficult read than for instance “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari. However, I very strongly recommend this – for reading at the earliest possible
WIth a better editor this could have been an excellent book. For example, someone really should have picked up on this paragraph: "The authors deconstructed high rank with three questions: (a) How many people ranked lower than the subject in his organization? (b) How much autonomy did he have (e.g., to hire and fire)? (c) How many people did he directly supervise? And high rank came with low glucocorticoids and anxiety only insofar as the position was about the first two variables—lots of subordinates, lots of authority. In contrast, having to directly supervise lots of subordinates did not predict those good outcomes."
I'm pretty sure that should say "lots of autonomy, lots of authority". As it is, it states that lots of subordinates are both good and, "in contrast" bad. There are several errors like this, and they can be quite confusing.
Sadly, his writing style can be incredibly irritating. The publisher should produce an English-English version because much of the US slang is not only irritating but incomprehensible. And the numerous American cultural references which mean nothing to me have become irritations because they are presumably inserted as an analogy to illustrate a point but do the complete opposite when I have to Google each of them.
Something is wrong when a reader has to constantly check the meaning of a multitude of obscure slang words (e.g. what is a ‘nudnik’? Just the latest slang word I had to Google to understand an already complex sentence) and American cultural references that mean nothing to non-Americans but were inserted into an academic book to make it more accessible, but only have the opposite effect.
And if he tells me to ‘stay tuned’ again I’ll scream.
of footnotes, "notes". Three apendixes : Neurosciences "101" neurotrasmitters; The basics of endocrinology, Hormones, and Protein Basics, all to help you understand better.
Don't be scared off! I was a music/education and foreign language major.
And Believe it or not, it's become a bestseller.
Drawbacks for many: Extremelly small print; footnotes impossibly tiny, difficult to read.