Behave: online The online Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst outlet online sale

Behave: online The online Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst outlet online sale

Behave: online The online Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst outlet online sale
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The New York Times Bestseller

“It’s no exaggeration to say that Behave is one of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read.” —David P. Barash, The Wall Street Journal

"It has my vote for science book of the year.” Parul Sehgal, The New York Times

"Hands-down one of the best books I’ve read in years. I loved it." —Dina Temple-Raston, The Washington Post

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal 


From the celebrated neurobiologist and primatologist, a landmark, genre-defining examination of human behavior, both good and bad, and an answer to the question:  Why do we do the things we do?

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.

Review

One of The Washington Post''s 10 Best Books of 2017

"Sapolsky has created an immensely readable, often hilarious romp through the multiple worlds of psychology, primatology, sociology and neurobiology to explain why we behave the way we do. It is hands-down one of the best books I’ve read in years. I loved it." — Dina Temple-Raston, The Washington Post

“It’s no exaggeration to say that  Behave is one of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read.” — David P. Barash, The Wall Street Journal

“A quirky, opinionated and magisterial synthesis of psychology and neurobiology that integrates this complex subject more accessibly and completely than ever . . .  a wild and mind-opening ride into a better understanding of just where our behavior comes from. Darwin would have been thrilled.” — Richard Wrangham, The New York Times Book Review

“[Sapolskly’s] new book is his magnum opus, but is also strikingly different from his earlier work, veering sharply toward hard science as it looms myriad strands of his ruminations on human behavior. The familiar, enchanting Sapolsky tropes are here—his warm, witty voice, a sleight of hand that unfolds the mysteries of cognition—but Behave keeps the bar high . . . . A stunning achievement and an invaluable addition to the canon of scientific literature, certain to kindle debate for years to come.” — Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A masterly cross-disciplinary scientific study of human behavior: What in our glands, our genes, our childhoods explains our species’ capacity for both altruism and brutality? This comprehensive and friendly survey of a ‘big sprawling mess of a subject’ is leavened by an impressive data-to-silly joke ratio. It has my vote for science book of the year.” — Parul Sehgal, New York Times

“A monumental contribution to the scientific understanding of human behavior that belongs on every bookshelf and many a course syllabus . . . It is a magnificent culmination of integrative thinking, on par with similar authoritative works, such as Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel and Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature.” — Michael Shermer, American Scholar

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, The Guardian

Rarely does an almost 800-page book keep my attention from start to finish, but 
“If anyone can save evolutionary biology from TED talkers and pop-science fabulists, it might be Sapolsky . . . .  Behave ranges at great length from moral philosophy to social science, genetics to Sapolsky’s home turf of neurons and hormones—but all of it is aimed squarely at the question of why humans are so awful to each other, and whether the condition is terminal.”  Vulture

“Robert Sapolsky''s students must love him. In  Behave, the primatologist, neurologist and science communicator writes like a teacher: witty, erudite and passionate about clear communication. You feel like a lucky auditor in a fast-paced undergraduate course, where the implications of fascinating scientific findings are illuminated through topical stories and pop-culture allusions.” 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

Behave is like a great historical novel, with excellent prose and encyclopedic detail. It traces the most important story that can ever be told.”  —Edward O. Wilson

“Truly all-encompassing . . . detailed, accessible, fascinating.”  The Telegraph

“A wide-ranging, learned survey of all the making-us-tick things that, for better or worse, define us as human . . . . An exemplary work of popular science, challenging but accessible.”  Kirkus Reviews, starred

“[Sapolsky] weaves science storytelling with humor . . . . [His] big ideas deserve a wide audience and will likely shape thinking for some time.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[Sapolsky] does an excellent job of bringing together the expansive literature of thousands of fascinating studies with clarity and humor . . . . A tour-de-force.”  Library Journal (starred review) 

“Sapolsky finds not the high moral drama of the soul choosing good or evil but rather down-to-earth biology . . . a remarkably encyclopedic survey of the sciences illuminating human conduct.”
Booklist(starred review)

“Read Robert Sapolsky’s marvelous book  Behave and you’ll never again be surprised by the range and depth of our own bad behavior. We all carry the potential for unconscious biases, to be damaged by our childhoods and map that damage onto our own loved ones, and to form the tribal ‘Us’ groups that treat outsiders as lesser ‘Thems.’ But to read this book is also, marvelously, to be given the hope that we have much more control of those behaviors than we think. And  Behave gives us more than hope—it gives us the knowledge of how to act on that aspiration, to manifest more of our best selves and less of our worst, individually and as a society. That’s very good news indeed.”   —Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better

"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 from acts of hate to acts of love, from our compulsion to dehumanize to our capacity to rehumanize." —David Eagleman, PhD, neuroscientist at Stanford, author, presenter of PBS''s The Brain
 
" Behave is a beautifully crafted work about the biology of morality. Sapolsky makes multiple passes at the target, using different time scales and systems. He shows you how all the perspectives and systems connect, and he makes you laugh and marvel along the way. Sapolsky is not just a leading primatologist; he’s a great writer and a superb guide to human nature."  —Jonathan Haidt, New York University, author of The Righteous Mind

“This is a miraculous book, by far the best treatment of violence, aggression, and competition ever.  It ranges from how neurons and hormones interact, how emotions are an essential part of decision making, why adolescents are more likely to be violent than adults, why genes influence cultures and vice-versa, and the ins and outs of “we versus them,” all the way to “live and let live” truces in World War I and the My Lai massacre. 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. For instance, Behave includes fair evaluations of complex debates (like over sociobiology) that I was involved in, and tackles controversial questions such as whether our hunter-gatherer ancestors warred on each other. He even takes on “free will” with a clarity usually absent from the writings of philosophers on the subject. 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 R. Ehrlich, author of Human Natures

About the Author

Robert M. Sapolsky is the author of several works of nonfiction, including A Primate''s Memoir, The Trouble with Testosterone, and Why Zebras Don''t Get Ulcers. He is a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation genius grant. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, two children and dogs.

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4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
4,431 global ratings

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Reader
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Facts, fictions and interpretations are different things.
Reviewed in the United States on January 13, 2019
Well, i am not only disappointed but frightened. This book is a large review of papers and facts of all sorts from all species of animals, birds, hyenas, apes, fish, all put together in one massive frankenstein text. It is simply not practical to check every reference in... See more
Well, i am not only disappointed but frightened. This book is a large review of papers and facts of all sorts from all species of animals, birds, hyenas, apes, fish, all put together in one massive frankenstein text. It is simply not practical to check every reference in the book to see how well each study was done and whether the results were interpreted correctly or just made to fit the strategy of writing. But things written this way are like scientific reviews - readers assume the author is right given that he did so much research. The fact that it may be very far from the truth struck me when i came across the passage about Stalin and Pavlik Morozov example. Not only it is historically grossly wrong, it was also interpreted in the best tradition of propaganda-infused ideology masked as neurophysiology. And of course presented as fact. Boom. What about trusting the author''s interpretation of all other facts in this book?
Two stars instead of one for indeed a good description of basic neuroanatomy and endocrinology.
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Cliente de Kindle
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Simply one of the best I''ve read ever
Reviewed in the United States on October 22, 2017
It took me twelve days to read this book. I''m a Chilean reader so my English is no native and it''s hard for me to understand everything, but this book deserved to retry any time I couldn''t catch the entire meaning of a sentence or an idea. Robert Sapolsky writes as a... See more
It took me twelve days to read this book. I''m a Chilean reader so my English is no native and it''s hard for me to understand everything, but this book deserved to retry any time I couldn''t catch the entire meaning of a sentence or an idea. Robert Sapolsky writes as a lecturer. The reader is seated in the classroom and he''s the professor who talks, so you feel very comfortable listening him and, more than that, you feel welcome by him. He''s so natural and informal that you feel that a distance has been abolished, and this is just what is needed to capture the very essence of this tremendous achievement.

The book is about "us" and "them," and how our biology has modeled us to to replicate and to live this duality as an inexorable destiny. That''s the reason why Sapolsky in a very smart design of the book dedicates the thirteen first (out of seventeen) chapters in describing to you how does our brains (and by extension our biology) to produce a human being with all that it means. And it means a lot. More than I can say here. Thus, the first thirteen chapters of the book leave you with the sensation that we are all design to be just the way we are. So nothing to be much optimistic here.

There''s (for me at least) a tipping point in the book that synthesizes everything. It is in page 448 and shows you a graph that plots the "proportion of rulings in favor of the prisoners by ordinal position [i.e., the order in which they were heard by the judge]," with "points [indicating] the first decision in each of the three decisions sessions." Well, the thing is that "in a study of more than 1,100 judicial rulings, prisoners were granted parole at about a 60 percent rate when judges had recently eaten, and at essentially a 0 percent rate just before judges ate... Justice may be blind, but she''s sure sensitive to her stomach gurgling."

Well, there you are. And this is just one example, there are dozens before and after indicating how sensible we are to the environment, the internal and the external one, something that Sapolsky summarize at the end of the book: "...we haven''t evolved to be "selfish" or "altruistic" or anything else--we''ve evolved to be particular ways in particular settings. Context, context, context."

As long as you read you think that the book was written to let you know how remarkably open AND close is our nature, in such a way that we are condemned to suffer our tremendous limitations: there is no way out (or in). Yes, as Sapolsky says, it''s complicated. In fact, that could have been the title of the book. But that would have lessened the final chapters which are like the cracks in the wall through which a silver lining filters. The thing is that you didn''t expect what Sapolsky tells you there.

This is not a detectives novel so what''s the point in not commenting what''s there for everyone of us? Well, I guess that the point is I shouldn''t deprive you of discovering by yourself as I did. Yes, I''m talking here of the pleasure that renders the experience of something that sounds (even in a scientific manner) like a revelation. And that is: at the end of the book you see...

I''m sure that other reviewers have revealed everything in order to criticize some points here and there. I guess that could be several, but to me that''s not the point. The point is that Behave has not been written to convince you, not at all. Behave has been written to show you. Behave is not a book is a window as I suppose any great book is.

As I said, I''m Chilean and here, in my country, are hundreds of political prisoners that haven''t the minimal chance of being paroled. Not even that light ray that could traverse a crack in a wall. Not even that. They have no chance. Unfortunately this book is not going to be translated to Spanish. And if it is, it''s not going to arrive to our commercial and poor (intellectually speaking) bookstores. My country is a very quiet one compared with the rest of the world. Nobody even notice it, so quiet it is. We are like Switzerland bur without the money. And with the political prisoners they don''t have.

Sapolsky it''s not going to change nothing, but that''s not the point, I insist: the point is that things are going to change anyway because history tells so. The thing is that we could do something to hurry the future. I don''t know how. Sapolsky either. And what about you?

Read this book if you are interested into thinking how does it feel not to be the good guy you think you are most of the time. In a sentence: how does it feel to be human.

And it feels good.

Five highly deserved stars.
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R. Rex Parris
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I know how, this book explains why.
Reviewed in the United States on May 6, 2017
There are many excellent works that explain how we make the decisions we make. Sapolsky tells us why we make them. This book is a must read for anyone interested in why we make decisions that often times seem inexplicable. More importantly, it provides a foundation for... See more
There are many excellent works that explain how we make the decisions we make. Sapolsky tells us why we make them. This book is a must read for anyone interested in why we make decisions that often times seem inexplicable. More importantly, it provides a foundation for changing our social systems in ways that will be far more efficient and productive. I didn''t get through the introduction before my first aha moment. He has taken complex science and presented it so it is understandable and enjoyable to read. The downside of reading Sapolsky''s latest work is it will cause you to question long held beliefs about guilt or innocence, good and evil, moral or immoral. It is a ride worth taking and will leave you wanting more.
472 people found this helpful
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CLN Constant Reader
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Cutting Edge, Newest Science, Readable by us Average People
Reviewed in the United States on June 2, 2017
The newest on brain science by the world wide expert, Robert Sapolsky. After watching a class taught by him on Great Courses, my husband and I felt he was a leading expert in his field. He also can hold an audience, keeping you interested by inserting anecdotes into what... See more
The newest on brain science by the world wide expert, Robert Sapolsky. After watching a class taught by him on Great Courses, my husband and I felt he was a leading expert in his field. He also can hold an audience, keeping you interested by inserting anecdotes into what can sometimes be an overwhelming amount of scientific information. In this book, you will learn how much your "subconscious" runs your life. You will see that sometimes why you did something is caused by a butterfly effect that started months ago. You will have a much greater understanding of people and why they do what they do. So worth reading. Amazing achievement, this book, this author, deserves your attention. He''s on the cutting edge of our growing base of brain science.
146 people found this helpful
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Sailboat Captain
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Should be titled "Depends"
Reviewed in the United States on May 14, 2017
This book describes the neurological processes of the brain. Most interesting was the numerous times that one''s brain chemistry is doing something other than what you think you are thinking. For example you know that you are not prejudiced against the "other" but... See more
This book describes the neurological processes of the brain. Most interesting was the numerous times that one''s brain chemistry is doing something other than what you think you are thinking. For example you know that you are not prejudiced against the "other" but your brain knows better.

For me a difficult read. Lots of unfamiliar terms and territory. The wonderful jokes and anecdotes greatly lightened the load. Their inclusion in uber-small type was a disappointment.

The basic message is "it depends." Nature , nurture, early childhood experience (including abuse), and peer pressure all have an impact on behavior. There is no "silver bullet" that explains individual behavior.

This is a scholarly work. The pop culture rewrite probably would run 200 pages without the plumbing and wiring diagrams. The frequent recaps and summaries help keep on on track.

A final irony. We are told that the human brain doesn''t reach maturity until the mid-twenties. Many of the cited studies were carried out with students as subjects. Are we studying immature brains?
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YON - Jan C. Hardenbergh
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Sweeping and in depth accounting of the neurobiology of humans.
Reviewed in the United States on March 15, 2018
Behave is a sweeping and in depth accounting of the neurobiology of humans. It covers everthing! The Chapters start with The Behavior, One Second Before, Second to Minutes Before, . . . Centuries to Millenia Before . . . Us Versus Them . . . Morality . . . Epilogue... See more
Behave is a sweeping and in depth accounting of the neurobiology of humans. It covers everthing! The Chapters start with The Behavior, One Second Before, Second to Minutes Before, . . . Centuries to Millenia Before . . . Us Versus Them . . . Morality . . . Epilogue

So many big topics are covered in this book! I''ve picked some themes that resonated with my current understanding of what it is to be human. These are represented by some scant notes of mine clearly labeled as [jch note:s]. All quoted text is verbatum from the book, with p.Page number.

Resonating Themes: It''s complicated! (Addressing Nature v. Nurture), Us v. Them, Autopilot (Free Will?) Brain Science, Income Inequality, Moral Foundations, Culture

Sapolsky is a great writer! The text is clearly presented by someone with a firm grasp on the tree of knowledge and how to pass it on. There are many noted os a personal nature, usually with a wonderful sense of humor. And there are many, many wonderful references such as "untruthiness".

It''s Complicated! - That''s the theme of the book.

p.248 "This is summarized wonderfully by the neurobiologist Donald Hebb: “It is no more appropriate to say things like characteristic A is more influenced by nature than nurture than . . . to say that the area of a rectangle is more influenced by its length than its width.” It’s appropriate to figure out if lengths or widths explain more of the variability in a population of rectangles. But not in individual ones."

Epilogue Bullet: " Genes aren’t about inevitabilities; they’re about potentials and vulnerabilities. And they don’t determine anything on their own. Gene/ environment interactions are everywhere. Evolution is most consequential when altering regulation of genes, rather than genes themselves."

Epilogue Bullet: " Adolescence shows us that the most interesting part of the brain evolved to be shaped minimally by genes and maximally by experience; that’s how we learn—context, context, context."

Epilogue Bullet: " We are constantly being shaped by seemingly irrelevant stimuli, subliminal information, and internal forces we don’t know a thing about."

p.267 Figure from Cluture Gender and Math ( Luigi Guiso et al. ) showing girls better at math in Iceland

Epilogue Bullet: " Brains and cultures coevolve."
p.92 "Words have power. They can save, cure, uplift, devastate, deflate, and kill. And unconscious priming with words influences pro-and antisocial behaviors."

p.97 culture shapes what we see "Thus, culture literally shapes how and where you look at the world."

Us versus Them

Epilogue Bullet: " We implicitly divide the world into Us and Them, and prefer the former. We are easily manipulated, even subliminally and within seconds, as to who counts as each."
Epilogue Bullet: " Be dubious about someone who suggests that other types of people are like little crawly, infectious things."

p.388 IAT "Rapid, automatic biases against a Them can be demonstrated with the fiendishly clever Implicit Association Test (IAT). 3 Suppose you are unconsciously prejudiced against trolls. To simplify the IAT enormously: A computer screen flashes either pictures of humans or trolls or words with positive connotations (e.g., “honest”) or negative ones (“ deceitful”). Sometimes the rule is “If you see a human or a positive term, press the red button; if it’s a troll or a negative term, press the blue button.” And sometimes it’s “Human or negative term, press red; troll or positive term, press blue.” Because of your antitroll bias, pairing a troll with a positive term, or a human with a negative, is discordant and slightly distracting. Thus you pause for a few milliseconds before pressing a button."

p.629 "The core of that thought is Susan Fiske’s demonstration that automatic other-race-face amygdala responses can be undone when subjects think of that face as belonging to a person, not a Them. The ability to individuate even monolithic and deindividuated monsters can be remarkable."

Epilogue Bullet: " When humans invented socioeconomic status, they invented a way to subordinate like nothing that hierarchical primates had ever seen before."

p.144 "There’s wonderful context dependency to these effects. When a rat secretes tons of glucocorticoids because it’s terrified, dendrites atrophy in the hippocampus. However, if it secretes the same amount by voluntarily running on a running wheel, dendrites expand. Whether the amygdala is also activated seems to determine whether the hippocampus interprets the glucocorticoids as good or bad stress."
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Marco
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fascinating, Humbling and Inspiring
Reviewed in the United States on May 28, 2017
Please read this book! We are capable of both far worse than we want to believe and can do more to change the world for the better than we tend to think we''re able; and in both cases it''s because of things we don''t know, can''t explain or don''t want to control.... See more
Please read this book!

We are capable of both far worse than we want to believe and can do more to change the world for the better than we tend to think we''re able; and in both cases it''s because of things we don''t know, can''t explain or don''t want to control. But the more we try to expand the tiny sliver of knowledge we do have, with respect for how small that sliver is; and the more awareness we can have that the world around us and our biology drive much more of what we do in any moment than our conscious intellect, emotions or "free will" do - the more hope we have of doing more to change the world with the little bit of actual influence we possess.

There is infinitely more that we''ll never know than any of us ever can know. Life, and even more so we as humans, are complicated beyond comprehension. Many times over this book made that abundantly clear. More often than not, those lessons made me question the certainty of what I believe (or thought I knew as fact) about me, people, relationships, politics, economics, race, religion, God, culture, civilization, war, peace and any other slice of life I can think of.

Robert Sapolsky, with humility and great respect for the limitations of science, has written a truly world view changing book that is as well written as the science he has aggregated is fascinating and eye-opening. He artfully conveys meaningful, relevant understanding and context for the hopelessly complex topic of what drives human behavior. A review that led me to this book described it as one of the best works of non-fiction the reviewer had read, and it is hands down the same for me. It is also likely to prove one of the most meaningful and important books I ever will read because of how fundamentally it has me re-thinking, well, everything.
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Robert L. Moore
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An Impressive Survey of What Makes Homo Sapiens Tick
Reviewed in the United States on May 11, 2017
This is an impressive book. It’s a kind of encyclopedia of human nature, with the earlier chapters focused on the functions of different parts of the human brain and the later chapters focused on this brain’s behavioral consequences. Robert Sapolsky is nothing if... See more
This is an impressive book. It’s a kind of encyclopedia of human nature, with the earlier chapters focused on the functions of different parts of the human brain and the later chapters focused on this brain’s behavioral consequences.

Robert Sapolsky is nothing if not engaging in his writing style. He knows how to present complicated subject matter in easily digestible and logically coherent portions. And he has a sense of humor which, often enough, hits home. Here’s his take on who reads academic research papers: “The number of times your average science paper is cited can be counted on one hand, with most of the citations by the scientist’s mother.”

As an academic, all I can say is “ouch,” but it’s an ouch of recognition, not objection.

This quote, by the way, is part of a thorough discussion of the work of three of the most cited social scientists in history - Solomon Asch, Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo - a discussion which, by itself, is almost worth the purchase price of "Behave."

So, if you’re interested in the latest research on what people-and-the-things-they-do are all about, and would also appreciate having a valuable source for future reference on a wide array of topics in this area, Professor Sapolsky’s latest book is just the thing. Strongly recommend.
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Bharath Ramakrishnan
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A stupendous book!
Reviewed in India on December 23, 2018
In the shortest possible summary, let me start by saying that Behave is a stupendous book, and among the best science books I have read. While it is a book of science, and very detailed in parts at that – it is still highly recommended reading for everybody. After all, who...See more
In the shortest possible summary, let me start by saying that Behave is a stupendous book, and among the best science books I have read. While it is a book of science, and very detailed in parts at that – it is still highly recommended reading for everybody. After all, who is not curious about why we behave the way we do. This book is certainly a tribute to the remarkable progress science has made in understanding our brain and our behaviours. However, be warned that it is a big book, which has a lot of detail and you might be in for a slower read than many other books. 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
In the shortest possible summary, let me start by saying that Behave is a stupendous book, and among the best science books I have read. While it is a book of science, and very detailed in parts at that – it is still highly recommended reading for everybody. After all, who is not curious about why we behave the way we do. This book is certainly a tribute to the remarkable progress science has made in understanding our brain and our behaviours. However, be warned that it is a big book, which has a lot of detail and you might be in for a slower read than many other books.

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
83 people found this helpful
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A. Hudson
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very interesting but let down by weak prose
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 28, 2019
The book is really interesting but it''s badly let down by weak, slangy writing. I''m just over 2/3 of the way through, and if I see the phrase ''stay tuned'' again I think I will scream. WIth a better editor this could have been an excellent book. For example, someone really...See more
The book is really interesting but it''s badly let down by weak, slangy writing. I''m just over 2/3 of the way through, and if I see the phrase ''stay tuned'' again I think I will scream. 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.
The book is really interesting but it''s badly let down by weak, slangy writing. I''m just over 2/3 of the way through, and if I see the phrase ''stay tuned'' again I think I will scream.

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.
41 people found this helpful
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Craig Millward
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fascinating but the American slang can be grating
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 29, 2020
As many have said before me, this is an absolutely fascinating book. I am pleased I bought it. The Us/Them chapter should be required reading for every member of the human race and is worth buying and ploughing through the whole book for. Brilliant. Sadly, his writing style...See more
As many have said before me, this is an absolutely fascinating book. I am pleased I bought it. The Us/Them chapter should be required reading for every member of the human race and is worth buying and ploughing through the whole book for. Brilliant. 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.
As many have said before me, this is an absolutely fascinating book. I am pleased I bought it. The Us/Them chapter should be required reading for every member of the human race and is worth buying and ploughing through the whole book for. Brilliant.

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.
24 people found this helpful
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Richard Lee Juett
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Neurosciences for, well, almost everyone.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 15, 2018
Outstanding! Not light reading, especially the first two chapters. Still, it''d make a great college text for a Pre-Neurobiology "101". Humorous, at times, witty others. Serious academic writing for the well-read with a better than basic knowledge of biology. Well...See more
Outstanding! Not light reading, especially the first two chapters. Still, it''d make a great college text for a Pre-Neurobiology "101". Humorous, at times, witty others. Serious academic writing for the well-read with a better than basic knowledge of biology. Well documented: 54 pages 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.
Outstanding! Not light reading, especially the first two chapters. Still, it''d make a great college text for a Pre-Neurobiology "101". Humorous, at times, witty others. Serious academic writing for the well-read with a better than basic knowledge of biology. Well documented: 54 pages
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.
28 people found this helpful
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Rafael Carneiro
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Rigor e deslumbramento.
Reviewed in Brazil on December 2, 2017
O problema mais frequente do gênero de "popular science" é focar no aspecto do deslumbramento às custas do rigor científico. E, é claro, ser deslumbrante é muito mais sedutor do que o tédio do rigor. Esse livro não cai nessa armadilha e nem por isso perde em...See more
O problema mais frequente do gênero de "popular science" é focar no aspecto do deslumbramento às custas do rigor científico. E, é claro, ser deslumbrante é muito mais sedutor do que o tédio do rigor. Esse livro não cai nessa armadilha e nem por isso perde em deslumbramento. Veja bem, não é uma leitura simples. Mesmo com o costume de ler livros científicos e de ter contato diário com textos científicos em biologia e medicina, ainda assim esse livro não foi leitura leviana (no sentido de ser leve) como seria, por exemplo, um livro de ficção. E isso é um dos pontos mais fortes de Behave: vencido o desafio do entendimento de fenômenos complexos (e o sentimento de vitória aumenta progressivamente ao longo da leitura), a sensação de realização resultante por si só é o bastante para justificar a leitura desse livro. E não fazemos isso sozinho: Sapolsky é um narrador extremamente presente durante todo o livro, funcionando mesmo como um mentor ou professor de biologia particular. Se você se interessa por saber o que a ciência tem para dizer sobre como e por que nos comportamos de um jeito ou de outro, como a ciência da biologia progride, como os cientistas pensam e fazem pesquisas e, por que não, como ensinar um assunto complexo, esse livro, sem dúvidas, é pra você.
O problema mais frequente do gênero de "popular science" é focar no aspecto do deslumbramento às custas do rigor científico. E, é claro, ser deslumbrante é muito mais sedutor do que o tédio do rigor. Esse livro não cai nessa armadilha e nem por isso perde em deslumbramento. Veja bem, não é uma leitura simples. Mesmo com o costume de ler livros científicos e de ter contato diário com textos científicos em biologia e medicina, ainda assim esse livro não foi leitura leviana (no sentido de ser leve) como seria, por exemplo, um livro de ficção. E isso é um dos pontos mais fortes de Behave: vencido o desafio do entendimento de fenômenos complexos (e o sentimento de vitória aumenta progressivamente ao longo da leitura), a sensação de realização resultante por si só é o bastante para justificar a leitura desse livro. E não fazemos isso sozinho: Sapolsky é um narrador extremamente presente durante todo o livro, funcionando mesmo como um mentor ou professor de biologia particular. Se você se interessa por saber o que a ciência tem para dizer sobre como e por que nos comportamos de um jeito ou de outro, como a ciência da biologia progride, como os cientistas pensam e fazem pesquisas e, por que não, como ensinar um assunto complexo, esse livro, sem dúvidas, é pra você.
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