Synopses & Reviews
How do imperceptibly small differences in the environment change one's behavior? What is the anatomy of a bad mood? Does stress shrink our brains? What does People
magazine's list of America's "50 Most Beautiful People" teach us about nature and nurture? What makes one organism sexy to another? What makes one orgasm different from another? Who will be the winner in the genetic war between the sexes?
Welcome to Monkeyluv, a curious and entertaining collection of essays about the human animal in all its fascinating variety, from Robert M. Sapolsky, America's most beloved neurobiologist/primatologist. Organized into three sections, each tackling a Big Question in natural science, Monkeyluv offers a lively exploration of the influence of genes and the environment on behavior; the social and political -- and, of course, sexual -- implications of behavioral biology; and society's shaping of the individual. From the mating rituals of prairie dogs to the practice of religion in the rain forest, the secretion of pheromones to bugs in the brain, Sapolsky brilliantly synthesizes cutting-edge scientific research with wry, erudite observations about the enormous complexity of simply being human. Thoughtful, engaging, and infused with pop-cultural insights, this collection will appeal to the inner monkey in all of us.
"The author [is] a luminary among that rare breed -- the funny scientist." -- Los Angeles Times
"One of the best scientist-writers of our time." -- Oliver Sacks
"Delightful in a way that science writing rarely is." -- The Denver Post
"Sapolsky writes in a jocular, entertaining style without ever pandering to the presumed ignorance of his readers." -- The Guardian (London)
"Wry, witty prose...each essay brings its own unexpected delight."
-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A hit . . . Sapolsky lets his obsessive curiosity wander amiably. . . . Most compelling when the animal behavior he is reckoning with is our own." -- The New York Times Book Review
"A combination of Oliver Sacks and David Foster Wallace. . . . Sapolsky is that professor whose classes were impossible to get into, the courses where the students had an infuriatingly good time while they were learning, the ones where the students were inspired to become scientists."
A collection of original essays by a leading neurobiologist and primatologist shares the author's insights into behavioral biology, in a volume that focuses on three primary topics, including the physiology of genes, the human body, and the factors that shape human social interaction. By the author of A Primate's Memoir. Reprint. 25,000 first printing.
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.
Table of Contents
Part I: Genes and Who We Are
Nature or Nurture? "The 50 Most Beautiful People in the World" Assess the Source of Their Good Looks
A Gene for Nothing (Discover, 1997)
Genetic Hyping (The Sciences, 2000)
The Genetic War Between Men and Women (Discover, 1999)
Of Mice and (Hu)Men Genes (Natural History, 2004)
Antlers of Clay (Natural History, 2001)
Part II: Our Bodies and Who We Are
Why Are Dreams Dreamlike? (Discover, 2001)
Anatomy of a Bad Mood (Men's Health, 2003)
The Pleasure (and Pain) of "Maybe" (Natural History)
Stress and Your Shrinking Brain (Discover, 1999)
Bugs in the Brain (Scientific American, 2003)
Nursery Crimes (The Sciences, 1999)
Part III: Society and Who We Are
How the Other Half Heals (Discover, 1998)
The Cultural Desert (Discover, 2005)
Monkeyluv (The Sciences, 1998)
Revenge Served Warm (Natural History, 2002)
Why We Want Their Bodies Back (Discover, 2002)
Open Season (The New Yorker, 1998)