Download Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst Audiobook

Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst Audiobook, by Robert M. Sapolsky Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Robert M. Sapolsky Narrator: Michael Goldstrom Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2017 ISBN: 9781524735166
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Narrator Michael Goldstrom performs Sapolsky’s fascinating audiobook like a youthful professor. He succeeds in making this seemingly impenetrable topic completely understandable…The exhaustive nature of this work is cutting-edge, yet the audiobook is thoroughly enjoyable. Behave is a must-listen for anyone curious about the science of why we do what we do.”

    AudioFile

  • “One of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Shows in exquisite detail how culture, context, and learning shape everything our genes, brains, hormones, and neurons do.”

    Times Literary Supplement (London)

  • “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

  • “It has my vote for science book of the year.”

    New York Times

  • “Hands-down one of the best books I’ve read in years. I loved it.”

    Washington Post

  • A Washington Post Top 10 Book of 2017
  • Shortlisted for the PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
  • A Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year
  • Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Science and Technology

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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.

About the Narrator

Michael Goldstrom is a Juilliard-trained actor and comedian. He has appeared on Comedy Central, HBO, A&E, NBC, and ABC, as well as on and off Broadway. His audiobook narrations have earned several Earphones Awards.