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Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
From the man who Oliver Sacks hailed as “one of the best scientist/writers of our time,” a collection of sharply observed, uproariously funny essays on the biology of human culture and behavior.
In the tradition of Stephen Jay Gould and Oliver Sacks, Robert Sapolsky offers a sparkling and erudite collection of essays about science, the world, and our relation to both. “The Trouble with Testosterone” explores the influence of that notorious hormone on male aggression. “Curious George’s Pharmacy” reexamines recent exciting claims that wild primates know how to medicate themselves with forest plants. “Junk Food Monkeys” relates the adventures of a troop of baboons who stumble upon a tourist garbage dump. And “Circling the Blanket for God” examines the neurobiological roots underlying religious belief.
Drawing on his career as an evolutionary biologist and neurobiologist, Robert Sapolsky writes about the natural world vividly and insightfully. With candor, humor, and rich observations, these essays marry cutting-edge science with humanity, illuminating the interconnectedness of the world’s inhabitants with skill and flair.
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.
"Ask fans of popular science to name the best science essayists today, and the name of Sapolsky should not immediately come to mind. This book should help to change that."
— Library Journal (starred review)
"Sapolsky draws fascinating parallels between humans and our close primate relatives and provides abundant details about some of the latest breaking discoveries in neurobiology . . . [He] packs his treatments of them with wisdom and delightful surprises."
— Publisher's Weekly (starred review)
"In the end it is the refreshing honesty of this scientist-teacher, his zeal to speculate as well as to clearly present the facts, that engages the reader. That, and a deft and often witty way with words."
"[T]he book makes for very interesting and enjoyable reading. Those who have read Sapolsky's earlier books will be familiar with his casual and accessible style of writing. Although the ideas he presents are complex and often provocative, the facts are kept relatively simple. Throughout, the science is interspersed with personal anecdotes and humorous asides."
— Nature Medicine