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

Language & Reference, Popular Science, Non-Fiction
Paperback Published on: 05/04/2018
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Bookseller Reviews

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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 quic... READ MORE
Bookseller Emma


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: 574g
  • Dimensions: 197 x 127 x 40 mm

Customer Reviews

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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 be... READ MORE
Tim Dumble
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 insigh... READ MORE
B London