Transcendence: How Humans Evolved through Fire, Language, Beauty, and Time (Paperback)
  • Transcendence: How Humans Evolved through Fire, Language, Beauty, and Time (Paperback)

Transcendence: How Humans Evolved through Fire, Language, Beauty, and Time (Paperback)

Paperback 320 Pages / Published: 05/11/2020
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'A wondrous, visionary work' Tim Flannery, scientist and bestselling author of The Weather Makers

From the prize-winning author of Adventures in the Anthropocene, the astonishing story of how culture enabled us to become the most successful species on Earth

Humans are a planet-altering force. Our closest living relatives, the now-endangered chimpanzees, continue to live as they have for millions of years. Yet we evolved through the same process. What are we then?

Gaia Vince argues that our unique ability to determine the course of our own destiny rests on a special relationship between our genes, environment and culture going back into deep time. It is our collective culture, rather than our individual intelligence, that makes humans unique. Vince shows how four evolutionary drivers - Fire, Language, Beauty and Time - are further transforming our species into a superorganism: a hyper-cooperative mass of humanity that she calls Homo omnis. Drawing on leading-edge advances in population genetics, archaeology, palaeontology and neuroscience, Transcendence compels us to reimagine ourselves, showing us to be on the brink of something grander - and potentially more destructive.

To think of humans as a smarter sort of chimp with cool tools is to miss what is truly extraordinary about us. Look around you: we are the intelligent designers of all you see - including ourselves.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780141984209
Number of pages: 320
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm

A hugely enjoyable sprint through human evolutionary history . . . Read it. -- Tim Radford * Nature *
Beautifully written . . . At her best Vince takes dizzying leaps, making connections between archaeology, anthropology, genetics and psychology. She is especially good on the delicate interplay between genes, environment and culture. Vince steps with lightness. -- Tom Whipple * The Times *
The storming success of Yuval Noah Harari's books has inspired many others that aim to span the epic sweep of human history with grand theories and cor-blimey factoids. This book does both well. -- The Times * Best Science and Medicine Books of the Year 2019 *
Wonderful. There was a lot I hadn't heard about before . . . interesting and enlightening. -- Robin Ince
Even those broadly familiar with humanity's story will find new information and insights in Vince's fascinating study. * Publishers Weekly *
A wondrous, visionary work. -- Tim Flannery, scientist and author of the bestselling 'The Weather Makers'
Transcendence is a beautifully imaginative overview of the biological and cultural evolution of humans. Richly informed by the latest research, Gaia Vince's colorful survey fizzes like a zip-wire as it tours our species' story from the Big Bang to the coming age of hypercooperation. -- Richard Wrangham * Professor of biological anthropology at Harvard University and author of The Goodness Paradox *
Vince draws on extensive travels and many interviews with scientists to offer vivid accounts of these forces at work in the lives of our "cultural forebears." A provocative, highly readable take on our astonishing emergence from the primordial soup. * Kirkus *
An imaginative and inspiring adventure into the origins and evolution of what we hold most dear: our human culture. -- Uta Frith, Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development UCL
This book goes from the Big Bang to the Hundred Thousand Genome Project to make a convincing case that Homo sapiens has become a super-organism. I learned a lot from it and so will you. -- Steve Jones, Emeritus Professor of Human Genetics UCL, author of 'Almost Like a Whale'
Gaia Vince's enthralling second book, ideal for anyone who loved Sapiens, shows how a unique combination of genes, environment and culture (from our love of objects to our knowledge of mortality) has enabled us to determine our own destiny, uniquely among species on earth. * The Bookseller *

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