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Monkeyluv: And Other Essays on Our Lives as Animals Paperback – October 10, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A hit. . . . Sapolsky lets his obsessive curiosity wander amiably . . . Chases after answers to such puzzles with jovial abandon." (New York Times Book Review)
"The prose is perfectly pitched: Sapolsky writes in a jocular, entertaining style without ever pandering to the presumed ignorance of his readers. " (The Guardian (London))
"Sapolsky ranges wherever his formidable curiosity leads . . . Each essay brings its own unexpected delight . . ." (Publisher's Weekly (starred review))
Top Customer Reviews
But I always make the time to read anything that Sapolsky writes. This book is a collection of essays that show once again, that we have an extraordinarily brilliant iconoclast in our midst. Time and again he demonstrates that he is not afraid to say when he does not know something, but that he also uncommonly good at coming up with new questions and new solutions.
I suggest reading this at the rate of a chapter a day, and meditating on what you have learned: you will not regret it!
The whole thing is witty, unconventional and brilliant!
Sapolsky, who is the author of A Primate's Memoir, The Trouble with Testosterone and Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, is a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford and a recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant. I found his genius not only to be in his insight and ability to frame questions and pursue their answers, but also to be able to write about it in a way that is accessible to a "nongenius."
This book is a collection of previously published essays that are updated for this edition (the updates include notes for further reading and on source materials). Sapolsky divides the book into three parts ("Genes and Who We Are," "Our Bodies and Who We Are" and "Society and Who We Are") and introduces each section with cogent current thinking on the issues addressed. For example, to introduce the first section, Sapolsky writes about how the nature-nurture argument is a red herring; genes contribute to personality/behavior when the environment interacts with them in ways conducive to gene-induced behavior! For example, in "Of Mice and (Hu)men Genes," Sapolsky writes about genes that may indicate a proclivity for depression, but only in certain environments, and summarizes that the reader should be wary of simple expanations. (And, he asserts, as humans we may have more responsibility to create positive environments that interact benignly with risky genes than to understand which genes cause what.) In the second section's "Why are Dreams Dreamlike?" Sapolsky illustrates how answering some questions about how the brain and psyche function just brings up other, deeper questions.Read more ›
A primate researcher, the author has spent many years studying baboon behaviour. Those who fear comparison with other primates may be uncomfortable with Sapolsky's conclusions. The material he draws upon for support, however, shows how universal many of our own behaviours are among our close relatives. In this book, he takes up three themes - why searching for "a gene for" any specific behaviour or illness is doomed to failure; what the body contributes to our personality; and what society contributes in determining our "selves". Each section is preceded by an introductory essay, explaining the significance of the topics discussed.
In the first section he severely condemns those who want to lock behaviour to genetics. That's an admirable end, but the selections weighed in his judgement are nearly all media accounts. Simplifying human behaviour issues sells magazines and newspapers, and his references to "those scientists" who appear to have advocated "nature over nurture" vapourise when you look for them in the text. Still, the elmination of "gene centrism" is an admirable ambition.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was required for my nursing school - BSN program. I feel the selection of books my program chose were all very informative, to the point and we used the books for the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Allfruit
Thank you for carrying Sapolsky's books at a discount -- like the others, what a funny and curious read!Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
Sapolsky picks interesting topics, then writes with the kind of style that makes reading his books an entertaining, informative and fun experience. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Judy
If you don't think you will enjoy this book, please read the last essay and, no matter your age, I promise you that you will find this to be one of the best reads of your life. Read morePublished 17 months ago by May
I am missing an article/chapter. The "Nature or Nurture?" part was conveniently left out of my digital copy of this book. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Alaina
I discovered Monkeyluv while listening to Radiolab on NPR while driving in the car. There was a hysterically funny interview with author Sapolsky explaining the physical... Read morePublished 19 months ago by lunarchi
If I could give this book 10 stars I would do that. It's a wonderful tour de-force of how and why we're human, the same as and different from each other. I loved it!Published 21 months ago by Les