Read being human life lessons from the frontiers of science by Robert M. Sapolsky Online


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, anthUnderstanding 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....

Title : being human life lessons from the frontiers of science
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 15792301
Format Type : Audible Audio
Number of Pages : 96 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

being human life lessons from the frontiers of science Reviews

  • Jim
    2018-10-07 20:42

    Sapolsky works in the lab studying the brain half the year, the other half out in the field studying monkey tribes, & seems well versed in medical history, all of which gives him great perspectives & even better examples. Time & again he'd talk about some subtle bit of brain chemistry & then make sense of it with real world examples.1) What's So Special about Being Human? We have a lot in common with other animals, but where we differ is pretty strange at times. Many subtle differences add up to big ones & yet our evolutionary heritage also rears its head in unexpected ways.2) Junk-Food Monkeys: Really interesting effects of diet on wild monkeys & what it says about our own diet. 70% rates of diabetes in tribes that used to subsist on lean diets when they're suddenly brought into our western world of plenty. Great monkey tribe example.3) The Burden of Being Burden-Free: Modern stress is way different than what we evolved for originally. Makes a huge difference. Our bodies evolved the stress response for instant, short action - do or die - but now the same response is on for long periods. It tears us up physically.4) Bugs in the Brain: Woah, parasites. I'd run across a lot of these examples before, but they're still really eerie. The Emerald Cockroach wasp that turn cockroaches into zombies is creepy, but Toxoplasma gondii makes rats like the smell of cat urine so it can complete its life cycle. It so specifically targets the rat's brain that it will still be scared of lions & tigers & bears, but is drawn to domestic cats, even when it has experience to fear them.5) Poverty's Remains: Wow, medical blunders abound & it works for both rich & poor, although poor usually get the short end of the stick. Not always though. The economics of medicine are subtle & astounding. There are rich & poor diseases, but not for the reasons I originally thought.6) Why Are Dreams Dreamlike? was pretty weird. Really interesting about the frontal cortex & why kids lack impulse control, too. We're 25 before this behavior regulator is fully formed which is why the US Supreme Court set 17 as the minimum adult age. A variety of factors can affect how well it works throughout our lives.7) The Pleasures and Pains of "Maybe": Absolutely wild how a maybe can be better than yes. He actually made it make sense. Very subtle in some ways, but well understood by the gambling industry. Great example in one of his monkey tribes.8) How the Other Half Heals: Don't be born poor or your life expectancy plummets even with socialized medicine. That stress thing & others, but it can work the other way, too. Believing parenting experts is dangerous. Beware extremes.9) Why We Want the Bodies Back: Societies are weird about death. While there are some rational reasons for going to great lengths after bodies, most are so tied up with society that few can look at it rationally.- American Indians block anthropologists from studying ancient remains that aren't even of their ancestors because they think it's wrong. Why? I plan to donate my body to science. Even with that documentation, I doubt anyone will care in a century much less a few millenia. - Cemeteries; why take up space after death? Grave sites used to be leased for a few years in England. - Japanese (Chinese?) have ghost marriages sometimes so younger siblings can get married.- It was a big deal when Japan returned a bunch of noses it cut off dead Korean soldiers several centuries before.- Catholics tear apart saints' (even only possible ones) bodies for talismans. I guess they don't fall under the prohibition against idols, but apparently a cross (even with an agonized guy nailed to it) doesn't either & it's a great way to remember him. Creepy. Seriously weird ideas, but many grow out of "How do I want to be remembered/treated?" a societal correction & unifying mechanism. That he actually made sense out of the odd examples above was extraordinary.10) Anatomy of a Bad Mood: Faking it can change moods? We might actually take cues from our faces? Fascinating in some ways & yet obvious in others. He missed some really good examples here.11) This Is Your Brain on Metaphors: is especially relevant today with all the polarized rhetoric, 'alternative facts', & misleading headlines. He came at this from a different perspective than I'd heard or read before, but wound up in the same place - the label often creates the impression & it can be difficult to shake it. A 'filthy beggar' conjures a worse attitude than an 'unwashed supplicant'.12) Sushi and Middle Age: is novelty versus nostalgia. When do we stop seeking new experiences & tastes? We do & he shows how it generally happens in our 30s. Our music tastes might be set somewhere in our 20s & most won't like sushi if they haven't developed a taste for it before they're 40. Why? Breaking out of that rut can be invigorating.Overall very interesting. I wasn't always thrilled with his delivery. He could get repetitious when excited, but generally he was a pretty good speaker. There were a few times I wished I had the video of this course, but very few. Definitely OK as audio only unlike some of these courses.

  • Charlene
    2018-09-21 16:51

    Sapolsky is hands-down the most exciting and relatable professor I have ever experienced. I have watched all of his Stanford lectures on YouTube and just love him. His delivery in this lecture series is, as always, fantastic. Humorous, down to Earth, brilliant, and insightful, Sapolsky engages his viewer/reader/ listener during every lecture. Some of the subjects he covers:- Why do some people gain weight, even when they work their asses off, while other seems to effortless keep it off?- The amazingly odd and awesome behavior of parasite. (absolute enthralling!) - Why do couples, so often, bring up things better left in the past? (really great insight into this)- How can you keep your brain young?

  • Teo 2050
    2018-10-17 16:38

    4h @ 1.5xContents:(view spoiler)[01. What's So Special about Being Human?02. Junk-Food Monkeys03. The Burden of Being Burden-Free04. Bugs in the Brain05. Poverty's Remains06. Why Are Dreams Dreamlike?07. The Pleasures and Pains of "Maybe"08. How the Other Half Heals09. Why We Want the Bodies Back10. Anatomy of a Bad Mood11. This Is Your Brain on Metaphors12. Sushi and Middle Age (hide spoiler)]

  • Troy Blackford
    2018-10-01 13:32

    This was great. A sort of grab-bag of intriguing facts about psychology and neuroscience, presented by the inimitable Professor Sapolsky. Well worth the time.

  • Irena
    2018-10-03 13:39

    Robert Sapolsky is not only a distiguished neurologist but also a brilliant storyteller. His conversational but at the same time highly-knowledgeable delivery coupled with his top-knotched sense of humor make this short course of lectures a delicious food for thought. Now I simply have no other choice but to read or listen as many of his books and lectures as I can get, and as soon as possible.

  • Santhosh Guru
    2018-09-27 17:34

    What a fascinating series of lecture this has been. I know the topics discussed are just a tip of iceberg but gives enough and detailed context to learn more. Highly recommend it, if you are scientifically curious.

  • Jim
    2018-10-13 17:26

    Audio download ...12 lectures, 30 minutes each.This is a difficult series to evaluate, much like trying to compare a really good novel to a really good collection of short stories. Dr. Sapolsky discusses 12 aspects of human neurobiology directed at defining how humans are similar to...and at the same time different from...all the other animals. Each lecture could be a stand-alone topic that could be expanded into a 12-lecture series. But this anthology provides a thread that builds from "we're just another animal" to the subtle (or maybe not so subtle) yet unique human ability to use and understand complex metaphors.If you are considering buying these lectures, consider that you are buying a summary of specific aspects (and examples) of a very broad field to behavioral neurobiology...delivered by a very polished and entertaining scientist. Sapolsky's style and humor are very much so that I re-listened to the entire series after the first time through. Probably the most entertaining 'chapter' for me was the final one..."Sushi and Middle Age" in which the good doctor describes why we humans often close our minds to new ideas and experiences (..."kids today...go figure"). Maybe this is why some reviewers said what they said. He concludes the lecture and the series with ..." an open mind is a prerequisite for an open heart." Maybe that's what makes us just a little different from the rest of the animal world.Highly recommended just for the fun of it...increase your fun by getting it on sale with a coupon.

  • Scott Ableman
    2018-09-30 16:29

    I think Robert Sapolsky is one of the great storytellers of our generation. The fact that he is a world famous neurobiologist and primatologist makes his stories that much more profoundly interesting! I have listened to all of his audio CDs from The Great Courses, and this latest one, Being Human: Life Lessons from the Frontiers of Science, is a treasure -- a gift to Robert Sapolsky fans.If you are a lifelong learner and have any interest in human behavior, then you know that many of the theories being taught in colleges in the late 20th century are being completely disproven by modern cognitive science. Sapolsky's captivating style is to explain the logic of those past theories, then throw the curve ball in explaining why modern brain science is showing that it was all bunk.Sapolsky's other courses are great for going into depth about behavior and stress, his specialties. The purpose of this particular course is to take the listener to the cutting edge of what we're learning about behavior in twelve distinct if unrelated areas. It's like office hours with Dr. Sapolsky. No homework, no tests. Just a fascinating twelve sessions with one of the greatest teachers of our time.

  • Gary
    2018-09-20 13:36

    A nicely presented lecture on the nexus between psychology and neuroscience and the author never loses the listener with obscure names of brain regions, hormone names, or body parts.There is a theme the author presses through out the lecture and that is the conclusions are only as good as the data set the conclusions are based on.If you ever watch a movie or TV show and they are trying to show how wise a professor of Psychology or Neuroscience is the character in the show will be relating one of the experiments that would have been covered in this lecture. (I'm thinking about the truly marvelous movie, "Boyhood" and the Psychology professor is relating a story that is covered within this lecture).For me, most (if not all) the stories I have come across elsewhere in my readings, but this lecture series has all the stories in one place and without any jargon to confuse the listener and is given by a lecturer who really knows how to tell a story.(I got this lecture on the "deal of the day" for $2.95 and at the price it is well worth it. I would imagine Audible will discount it from time to time and I would recommend it at that discounted price).

  • Daniel Aguilar
    2018-10-08 13:36

    A truly enjoyable introductory tour to some of the facts and mysteries that define human beings from a neurophysiological and psychological point of view. Professor Sapolsky brings a fascinating set of subjects that, while not being systematically structured, connect one to each other in varied and unexpected ways. From classical conditioning experiments to recent discoveries in the impact of stress on health, from weird parasitic interactions to socioeconomic influence in mental and body wellness, from the role of neuroplasticity in creativity to the diversity in the cultural appreciation of death... the author doesn't fail to provide both astonishing facts from hard science and deep unsolved questions about who we are. All this in a calm and inspiring tone intelligently spiced with lots of humour. I definitely look forward to more materials like this.

  • Lex
    2018-09-18 20:44

    Fascinating walk down neuroscience lane. A mix of neuroscience and some psychology, it's a great look at our brains in little 30 minute snippets. I learned a lot and there are fascinating stories and vignettes to help you understand the science that he's explaining. It's not bogged down with technical and scientific terms but he does use them and explain the ones that are necessary for our understanding of the topic. It makes you feel like you're having a conversation with him. Highly recommended for anyone interested in this area of science.

  • Tom Tresansky
    2018-09-26 19:29

    Not bad, but too much a repeat of familiar stories from Sapolsky's other web videos. He's as engaging a speaker as ever, and each lecture is swell, but they don't really deserve to be grouped as a course - it's definitely more an anthology than the novel I was hoping for.

  • Morgan Blackledge
    2018-10-01 18:46

    Studying for MFT licensure exam.Will review ASAIP (as soon as I pass)

  • Mohamad Sani
    2018-09-22 18:45

    Some intriguing and inspiring things, but more unnecessary stuffs

  • Juan Rivera
    2018-09-24 17:49

    Knowing a little more about the last frontiers in the study of the human being, a wonderful course:"Being Human: Life Lessons from the Frontiers of Science" produced by The Great Courses taught by Professor Robert SapolskyThey are definitely very valuable and well selected courses of "The Great Courses".Interesting topics: because the older it is the harder to change your habits and tastes? Why is one perhaps more motivating than achieving a goal? Is it so different to be a human being than other animals, especially our close cousins? What happens to memory with age? The food and if we relation as human beings?In short, it is worth this course.

  • Maggie
    2018-10-06 12:33

    entertaining and informative ... showing us what the science of biology and neuroscience has to say on how we INCARNATED BEINGS use actual physical mechanisms to respond to life ... reductionist methods employe; yes. but a tip of the hat to the complexity of being biological and human ... recommended

  • Brian
    2018-10-07 12:21

    A neuroscience view of being human. Mostly heavy on human and monkey from a science viewpoint. The last couple of lectures were the best. The rest was scientists or monkeys (author's favorite research).

  • Richard
    2018-09-22 14:24

    Excellent. The always interesting Robert Sapolsky. There's a reason (actually numerous reasons) why he won a MacArthur genius grant..

  • Petr
    2018-10-12 18:23

    I know Robert Sapolsky from various podcasts where he always amazed me with his thoughts and ideas. So I always wanted to read some of his books. Behave and Why Zebras... are in my book queue for some time...Then I came across a sale of this course on audible and I had no dilemma.So this is first book by Sapolsky for me (well, yes, it is not exactly a book). I very much like Sapolski's unmistakable voice, so his narration of lectures was great (altough some may have slight problem with his typical mumbled unfinished sentences, but it's not to often :-)).For the content: Unfortunately I was expecting something a bit different and I already knew much of what he was talking about. Also he wasn't going very deep into anything, it was more or less an overview. But I was enjoying it anyway. His style is unrepeatable and I definitely learned few bits. And if I sometimes need a quick revision of these topics this course is very good candidate.I would recommend it for people interested in these topics but only for those who still haven't read much about it. For those, consider this five-star.

  • Alan
    2018-09-25 12:39

    Wow. This series of lectures is really fantastic. I am left wanting more. Every lecture explained some interesting aspect of why humans behave and feel the way they do. This is sometimes different and sometimes similar to animal behavior. Sapolsky did a great job of tying the science to a very human story and relating behaviors to the construction of the of the brain. For example, the last chapter described the science and psychology of how and why we fix our behaviors, likes, and dislikes early in our life. For example, why you might like 70’s music, but your dad likes 50’s music. Humans tend to settle into a pattern of liking one kind of music and then spending the rest of their life on that type of music. My takeaway, try something new every day to keep your brain young. Because a fresh mind, is an open mind and an open mind is often ready to engage with kindness others that are different the self.

  • Adam
    2018-09-18 12:33

    This is, as many of the Great Courses are, a brief introduction to a topic. Sapolsky is up front about this, calling it a "sampler" of the most interesting, intriguing, promising, and bizarre borders of scientific knowledge today. In terms of college courses, think of this as a Freshman Seminar or a 100 level class, designed to give you a brief foray into the topic and hopefully intrigue you into pursuing a major in the field.Sapolsky is a neuroscientist, and his focus is on what human behavior is. He has studied different human cultures, different animal species, and traveled all over the world in diverse environments to figure out the core traits of humanity. Topics such as the physiological effects of stress, behaviors, biases, our addiction to dopamine, and the reason we depend on metaphors for meaning are all explored. Again, this course won't make you a neuroscience expert, but it should intrigue you to learn more.

  • Ruthanne Davis
    2018-10-01 14:31

    Stanford University Professor of Neuroscience and Paleontality Robert M. Sapolsky is absolutely brilliant. In the most comparative speaking and the most basic comparisons which are so easy to undersrand, he compares the behavior of the human race with that of our forebears, the animal race.He is informative while keeping each subject he addresses both interesting and often humorous. A delightful and passionate speaker; an often wistful and hypnotic speaker!I have been a fan of THE TEACHING COMPANY for a number of years now and have never enjoyed a course more. In fact, I just downloaded his course on stress.

  • Emmy Gregory
    2018-09-25 18:32

    The Great Courses / Teaching Company like to suggest that every single one of their teachers is a master teacher who'll blow you away. This is not true: they are very variable and some of them are utterly tedious. Robert Sapolsky is one of the really good ones: he actually is as brilliant, engaging and witty as you'd hope for, and the subject matter is fascinating in no small part because he makes it fascinating. My brain has a crush on his brain and wants to take it out for tea and cake.

  • Silas
    2018-09-28 18:44

    This was an odd assemblage of lectures that didn't really seem to have a strong theme. Each of the lectures was quite interesting on it's own, though. Despite the somewhat odd jumps between lectures, this was an overall enjoyable series of lectures that taught me some things. Odd, disjointed things, but that suits me just fine.

  • Dawn
    2018-10-15 14:32

    I believe that I picked this up as an Audible daily deal. I enjoyed this so much that I'm now looking for other science lectures to add to my "to read" list.The lectures were conversational, at times funny and just fascinating. I'll probably listen a second time just to help retain some of the knowledge and tidbits.

  • Courtney Umlauf
    2018-10-16 13:30

    This is a very interestinglook at the world from a neurobiological viewpoint along with a bit of psychology. It's very accessible and I enjoyed listening to Sapolsky speak. Lecture titles include: "Why We Want the Bodies Back""Anatomy of a Bad Mood""Sushi and Middle Age"and my favorite"This is your Brain on Metaphors"

  • Heather Brush
    2018-10-06 18:29

    Very interesting, and entertaining! A mix of psychology, neurology, sociology, and biology, and even some evolutionary psychology, with humor and engaging examples. Especially loved the baboon studies, and the lecture that included differences in male and female brains and the affect of the same on behavior. Will look for more from Sapolsky.

  • Ilinca
    2018-10-04 13:48

    Not consistently interesting, but interesting enough to make for a great listen with bits of novelty here and there. Packed with common sense, and at times inviting to reflection. The first couple of lectures are also the more interesting ones, I think.

  • Sarah
    2018-09-21 15:40

    I've been interleaving this with a few other things I've been listening to, and it's a nice palate cleanser between fiction books. Didn't really seem to have much of an over-arching point, just a collection of interesting things about psychology.

  • Yi
    2018-09-22 12:28

    Topics are interesting, cover a lot of disciplines including biology, neurobiology, sociology, and psychology.If you are not familiar with the stories (as in most lectures for me), you would find the lectures very interesting.