Behave: The bestselling exploration of why humans behave as they do (Paperback)
  • Behave: The bestselling exploration of why humans behave as they do (Paperback)

Behave: The bestselling exploration of why humans behave as they do (Paperback)

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Paperback 800 Pages / Published: 05/04/2018
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Longlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize 2018

Why do we do what we do?

Behave is at once a dazzling tour and a majestic synthesis of the whole science of human behaviour. Brought to life through simple language, engaging stories and irreverent wit, it offers the fullest picture yet of the origins of tribalism and xenophobia, hierarchy and competition, morality and free will, war and peace.

Robert Sapolsky's ingenious method is to move backwards in time from the moment at which a behaviour occurs, layer by layer through the myriad influences that led to it.

We begin with the split-second reactions of the brain and nervous system; then we consider our response to sight, sound and smell in the minutes and seconds beforehand; next he explains the interactions of hormones, which prime our behaviour in the preceding hours and days.

He proceeds through the experiences of adolescence, childhood and foetal development that shape us over our lifespans and continues over centuries and millennia through the profound influences of genetic inheritance, cultural context and ultimately the evolutionary origins of our species.

Throughout, Sapolsky considers the most important question: what causes acts of aggression or compassion? What inspires us to terrible deeds and what might help foster our best behaviour? Wise, humane, often very funny, Behave is a towering achievement, powerfully humanizing, that is unlikely to be surpassed for many years.

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9780099575061
Number of pages: 800
Weight: 576 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 40 mm


'Awe-inspiring ... This is the best scientific book written for non-specialists that I have ever read. You will learn more about human nature than in any other book I can think of, and you will be inspired' - Henry Marsh, author of Do No Harm

'It's no exaggeration to say that Behave is one of the best nonfiction books I've ever read' - Wall Street Journal

'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' - Guardian 

'Truly all-encompassing ... detailed, accessible, fascinating' - Telegraph 

'One of the finest natural history writers around' - The New York Times 

"'Sapolsky's book shows in exquisite detail how culture, context and learning shape everything our genes, brains, hormones and neurons do' - Times Literary Supplement 

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“One of the best books I have ever read”

Behave is quite literally one of the best books I have ever read - and I promise that is not hyperbole. At 800 pages it might not be one that you read quickly, but you'll want to savour every moment with it. I... More

Paperback edition
3 similar books recommended
Helpful? Upvote 42

“A multidisciplinary understanding of behaviour”

This is a refreshing antidote to the current populist trend of giving simple answers to complex questions.Yes, Human behaviour is complicated but can be better understood when considered in the overlapping concepts of... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 24

“I love this book!”

I picked this up on the strength of Henry Marsh and Oliver Sacks giving it praise on the front cover and I was not disappointed. Fascinating, deeply insightful, perfectly pitched, hilarious at times, the list goes on.... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 22

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