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Why do human beings behave as they do?
'Awe-inspiring... You will learn more about human nature than in any other book I can think of' Henry Marsh, bestselling author of Do No Harm
We are capable of savage acts of violence but also spectacular feats of kindness: is one side of our nature destined to win out over the other?
Every act of human behaviour has multiple layers of causation, spiralling back seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years, even centuries, right back to the dawn of time and the origins of our species.
In the epic sweep of history, how does our biology affect the arc of war and peace, justice and persecution? How have our brains evolved alongside our cultures?
This is the exhilarating story of human morality and the science underpinning the biggest question of all: what makes us human?
'One of the best scientist-writers of our time' Oliver Sacks
Renowned primatologist Robert Sapolsky offers a completely revised and updated edition of his most popular work, with over 225,000 copies in print
Now in a third edition, Robert M. Sapolsky's acclaimed and successful Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers features new chapters on how stress affects sleep and addiction, as well as new insights into anxiety and personality disorder and the impact of spirituality on managing stress.
As Sapolsky explains, most of us do not lie awake at night worrying about whether we have leprosy or malaria. Instead, the diseases we fear-and the ones that plague us now-are illnesses brought on by the slow accumulation of damage, such as heart disease and cancer. When we worry or experience stress, our body turns on the same physiological responses that an animal's does, but we do not resolve conflict in the same way-through fighting or fleeing. Over time, this activation of a stress response makes us literally sick.
Combining cutting-edge research with a healthy dose of good humor and practical advice, Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers explains how prolonged stress causes or intensifies a range of physical and mental afflictions, including depression, ulcers, colitis, heart disease, and more. It also provides essential guidance to controlling our stress responses. This new edition promises to be the most comprehensive and engaging one yet.
Discover this remarkable account of twenty-one years in remote Kenya with a troop of Savannah baboons from the New York Times bestselling author of Behave.
'One of the best scientist-writers of our time' Oliver Sacks
Brooklyn-born Robert Sapolsky grew up wishing he could live in the primate diorama in the Museum of Natural History. At school he wrote fan letters to primatologists and even taught himself Swahili, all with the hope of one day joining his primate brethren in Africa. But when, at the age of twenty-one, Sapolky's dream finally comes true he discovers that the African bush bears little resemblance to the tranquillity of a museum.
This is the story of the next twenty-one years as Sapolsky slowly infiltrates and befriends a troop of Savannah baboons. Alone in the middle of the Serengeti with no electricity, running water or telephone, and surviving countless scams, culinary atrocities and a surreal kidnapping, Sapolsky becomes ever more enamoured with his adopted baboon troop - unique and compelling characters in their own right - and he returns to them summer after summer, until tragedy finally prevails.
'A Primate's Memoir is the closest the baboon is likely to come - and it's plenty close enough - to having its own Iliad' New York Times Review of Books
Exhilarating, hilarious and poignant, A Primate's Memoir is a uniquely honest window into the coming-of-age of one of our greatest scientific minds.
From the man who Oliver Sacks hailed as “one of the best scientist/writers of our time,” a collection of sharply observed, uproariously funny essays on the biology of human culture and behavior.
In the tradition of Stephen Jay Gould and Oliver Sacks, Robert Sapolsky offers a sparkling and erudite collection of essays about science, the world, and our relation to both. “The Trouble with Testosterone” explores the influence of that notorious hormone on male aggression. “Curious George’s Pharmacy” reexamines recent exciting claims that wild primates know how to medicate themselves with forest plants. “Junk Food Monkeys” relates the adventures of a troop of baboons who stumble upon a tourist garbage dump. And “Circling the Blanket for God” examines the neurobiological roots underlying religious belief.
Drawing on his career as an evolutionary biologist and neurobiologist, Robert Sapolsky writes about the natural world vividly and insightfully. With candor, humor, and rich observations, these essays marry cutting-edge science with humanity, illuminating the interconnectedness of the world’s inhabitants with skill and flair.
Un examen minucioso del comportamiento humano y una respuesta a la pregunta: ¿por qué hacemos las cosas que hacemos?
Sapolsky analiza los factores en juego, desde el momento previo hasta los factores arraigados en la historia de nuestra especie y su legado evolutivo.
Partiendo de una explicación neurobiológica —¿qué sucedió en el cerebro de una persona un segundo antes de que se comportara así?, ¿qué visión, sonido u olor hicieron que el sistema nervioso produjera ese comportamiento?—, pasamos a pensar en el mundo sensorial y la endocrinología: ¿cómo fue influenciado ese comportamiento por cambios estructurales en el sistema nervioso durante los meses anteriores, por la adolescencia, la infancia y la vida fetal de esa persona, e incluso por su composición genética? Y, más allá del individuo, ¿cómo dio forma la cultura al grupo de ese individuo, qué factores ecológicos milenarios formaron esa cultura?
El resultado es uno de los recorridos más deslumbrantes de la ciencia del comportamiento humano jamás propuestos, que puede responder a muchas preguntas profundas y espinosas sobre el tribalismo y la xenofobia, la jerarquía, la competencia, la moral y el libre albedrío, la guerra y la paz.
Described by Oliver Sacks as 'one of the best scientist-writers of our time', Robert M. Sapolsky here presents the human animal in all its quirkiness and diversity.
In these remarkable essays, Sapolsky once again deploys his compassion and insights into the human condition to tell us who, why and how we are. Monkeyluv touches on themes such as sexuality, aggression, love, parenting, religion, ageing, and mental illness. He ponders such topics as our need to seek out beauty; why our preferences in food become fixed; why we are sexually attracted to one another; why Alzheimer's disease tends to be a post-menopausal phenomenon; and why grandmothers buying groceries for their grandchildren are part of nature's Darwinian logic.