January 15, 2021

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Note: Robert Sapolsky is the celebrated neurobiologist and primatologist who is a Professor of Biology and Neurology at Stanford and a Research Associate with the Institute of Primate Research, National Museums of Kenya. His newest book is called Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (2017). His other distinguished science books include: The Trouble with Testosterone (1999); A Primate's Memoir (2001; Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers (2004 3rd ed.); Monkeyluv (2005); and Stress and Your Body (2010). Two of the books were Los Angeles Times Book Award finalists. Sapolsky is a regular contributor to Discover magazine and The Sciences. He is also the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant." lives in San Francisco, California.

ANNOTATION OF THE BOOK, A PRIMATE'S MEMOIR (2002) = This book is Sapolsky's account of his life in the African bush with neighbors both human and primate, by turns hilarious and poignant. It is the culmination of more than two decades of experience and research. The book is a magnum opus from one of our foremost scientist-writers. He writes: "I had never planned to become a savanna baboon when I grew up; instead, I had always assumed I would become a mountain gorilla!" In this witty and riveting chronicle of a scientist's coming-of-age in remote Africa, he explains how he was raised in an intellectual, immigrant family in Brooklyn. He then wished he could live in the primate diorama in the Museum of Natural History.

However, upon graduating from college, Sapolsky's dream came true at age twenty-one when he left the comforts of the United States for the first time to study a baboon troop in Kenya. He was book-smart and naive as he studied the relationship between stress and disease. But he soon learned that his life in the African bush bore little resemblance to the tranquillity of a museum diorama. He was often alone in the middle of the Serengeti with no radio, no television, no electricity, no running water, and no telephone. His nearest neighbors were the Masai, a warlike tribes-people whose marriages are polygamous, with wedding parties featuring bowls of cow's blood.

As Sapolsky conducted unprecedented physiological research on wild baboons, he got more respect for his primate friends' unique and compelling characters in their own right. He returned to them summer after summer, until tragedy finally prevented him from continuing his unique research. However, he was able to document the dangerous health threat that high levels of corticosteroids can cause when produced by the bodies of both humans and primates under chronic stress. -- Blackwell North America and the webmaster.

ANNOTATION OF THE BOOK, WHY ZEBRAS DON'T GET ULCERS (2004) = This completely revised and updated 3rd edition of Sapolsky's most popular book features new chapters on how stress affects sleep and addiction, as well as new insights into anxiety and personality disorder and the impact of spirituality on managing stress. This acclaimed and successful work explains that most of us do not lie awake at night worrying about whether we have leprosy or malaria. Instead, the diseases we fear --- and the ones that plague us now --- are illnesses brought on by the slow accumulation of damage, such as heart disease and cancer. When we worry or experience stress, our body turns on the same physiological responses that all animals do. However, we do not resolve conflict in the same way that animals do: through fighting or fleeing. Over time, continuously activating the stress response system can make us genuinely sick.

ANNOTATION OF THE BOOK, BEHAVE (2017) = This book is a new landmark genre-defining book on human behavior, both good and bad, which answers the consequential question: Why do we do the things we do? Sapolsky starts by looking at the factors that bear on a person's reaction in the precise moment a behavior occurs. Then he goes back in time from there, in stages, ultimately ending up at the deep history of our species and its evolutionary legacy.

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    Book #1 = A PRIMATE'S MEMOIR: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboons, by Robert M. Sapolsky. Touchstone, 2002, 2001 (304 pages)

    Book #2 = WHY ZEBRAS DON'T GET ULCERS, by Robert M. Sapolsky. A Holt Paperback/Owl Book, 2004, 3rd edition new revised and updated (i-v, 539 pages)

    Book #3 = BEHAVE: The biology of humans at our best and worst, by Robert M. Sapolsky. Penguin Group USA, 2017 (800 pages)
The three book outlines and reviews of the books can be activated at the following three links below:

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Click or Tap Links to Book Outlines and Reviews

Book #1:
A Neuroscientist's Unconventional
Life Among the Baboons.


Book #2:


Book #3:
The biology of humans
at our best and worst.


Click or Tap to Return to List of Stars

Robert M. Sapolsky


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