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Publisher's Summary

Understanding our humanity - the essence of who we are - is one of the deepest mysteries and biggest challenges in modern science. Why do we have bad moods? Why are we capable of having such strange dreams? How can metaphors in our language hold such sway on our actions?
As we learn more about the mechanisms of human behavior through evolutionary biology, neuroscience, anthropology, and other related fields, we're discovering just how intriguing the human species is. And while scientists are continually uncovering similarities between our behavior and that of other animals, they're also finding insights into everything that makes us unique from any other species.
Join an acclaimed neurobiologist, award-winning teacher, and MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" recipient in a series of 12 invigorating lectures that offer a surprising and undeniably fascinating study of what makes you you, journeying to the front lines of scientific research to gain a new perspective on the quirky nature of being ourselves. Professor Sapolsky explores our humanity by investigating mysterious and sometimes even mundane aspects of human behavior, including bad moods, nostalgia, and dreams, packing the lectures with stories of bold experiments and case studies that illuminate the intricacies of our behavior.
Thought-provoking, witty, and sometimes myth-shattering, this course is sure to have you thinking about and appreciating your life in novel ways.
©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Gillian on 07-28-15

Human And Loving It!

What a joy Sapolsky is! This short course has it all: neurobiology, history, social commentary. And God does it have humor. The writing, the delivery, is top notch. Where else will you hear of a baboon being a tease and giving another, totally love-struck, baboon the cold "fur-covered" shoulder? This is a lesson on intermittent reinforcement, and with an image like that, the story that goes with it, seriously. The lesson will stick with me forever.
There's so much packed into so few hours, you won't even feel time flying by. Plus, perhaps you, as I, will find yourself drawing connections to your own experiences. Depression is covered, in certain ways. Did you know just forcing a smile makes a depressed person more likely to feel better? Or that meds targeting an empathy, an I-feel-the-pain-of-the-world type of depression is being developed?
True, Sapolsky does stray from science a lot, but eventually he gets back to the brain. And true, cockroaches get A LOT of air time (and tell me if you don't get squeamish in the parasite section!), but the section on metaphors? That just highlights how breathtakingly beautiful the whole book is written, how insightful and inspiring the text is.
This book is worth it.
I'm happy to be human today...

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28 of 28 people found this review helpful


By Starmoirai on 05-05-15

Interesting and inspiring

This book felt like being back at university sat there listening to a favorite teacher.
Being from an engineering background, I don't have much knowledge of neuroscience. The lectures were well delivered, I had no problem understanding the concepts being presented and found it incredibly interesting.

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31 of 32 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Andy B on 11-13-15

Life Lessons from the Frontiers of Science

Some extremely insightful examinations on human behaviour, accompanied by wonderfully engaging illustrations leaving you wanting more. Needless to say his narration is fluid and dynamic. Gratz good production.

Presented for audiences on multiple levels of experience, from zero to semi hero!

This guy understands stress on a binary biological level, and explains it seemingly effortlessly.

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6 of 7 people found this review helpful


By Konstantinos on 10-26-17

Amazingly thought provoking

One of the best lectures series i have ever attended live or audio. Pr Sapolsky is an excellent narrator and a top scientist. I was gripped the whole time. Definitely a must listen.

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Customer Reviews

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By Justin on 12-12-17

Great range of subjects & good entry level content

Getting accustomed to Sapolsky's somewhat strange way of speaking took me a little while. But the content is super interesting and often has actionable takeways. I found it beneifical to know his backstory, which I got from reading his biography, which is itself one of my favourite books of all time. I'm glad I gave this a listen and I think I'll definitely give it a re-listen somewhere down the line.

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By George on 08-30-17

Great taster.

A small taste of what Sapolsky's work entails. If you want to see if he has interesting thing a to say start here. And then you will be hooked.

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