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Understanding our humanity-the very essence of who we are and how we live our lives-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 and vivid dreams? How can metaphors and symbols in our language hold such a powerful sway on our thoughts and actions? As we learn more about the mech Understanding our humanity-the very essence of who we are and how we live our lives-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 and vivid dreams? How can metaphors and symbols in our language hold such a powerful sway on our thoughts and actions? As we learn more about the mechanisms of human behavior through evolutionary biology, neuroscience, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and other related fields, we're discovering just how intriguing the human species is. And while scientists are continually uncovering deep similarities between our behavior and that of other animals, they're also finding a wealth of insights into everything that makes us unique from any other species on Earth. Join acclaimed neurobiologist and award-winning Professor Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University for a surprising, amusing, and undeniably fascinating study of what makes you you. Being Human: Life Lessons from the Frontiers of Science is a 12-lecture course that takes you to the front lines of scientific research and offers you a new perspective on the supposedly quirky nature of being ourselves. Thought-provoking, witty, and sometimes myth-shattering, this course is sure to have you thinking about, observing, and even appreciating your own life in novel ways.


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Understanding our humanity-the very essence of who we are and how we live our lives-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 and vivid dreams? How can metaphors and symbols in our language hold such a powerful sway on our thoughts and actions? As we learn more about the mech Understanding our humanity-the very essence of who we are and how we live our lives-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 and vivid dreams? How can metaphors and symbols in our language hold such a powerful sway on our thoughts and actions? As we learn more about the mechanisms of human behavior through evolutionary biology, neuroscience, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and other related fields, we're discovering just how intriguing the human species is. And while scientists are continually uncovering deep similarities between our behavior and that of other animals, they're also finding a wealth of insights into everything that makes us unique from any other species on Earth. Join acclaimed neurobiologist and award-winning Professor Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University for a surprising, amusing, and undeniably fascinating study of what makes you you. Being Human: Life Lessons from the Frontiers of Science is a 12-lecture course that takes you to the front lines of scientific research and offers you a new perspective on the supposedly quirky nature of being ourselves. Thought-provoking, witty, and sometimes myth-shattering, this course is sure to have you thinking about, observing, and even appreciating your own life in novel ways.

30 review for Being Human: Life Lessons from the Frontiers of Science

  1. 4 out of 5

    HBalikov

    If I had been a student in a class where Robert Sapolsky was the professor might I have made a different career choice? Such is the power of an inspirational teacher. Sapolsky is that. He is engaging; he is entertaining; he is instructive; he is surprising; and, he conveys his enthusiasm for biology, neuroscience and psychology. This is the single best series of lectures I have ever experienced. You may recall that last month I reviewed his book, Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst If I had been a student in a class where Robert Sapolsky was the professor might I have made a different career choice? Such is the power of an inspirational teacher. Sapolsky is that. He is engaging; he is entertaining; he is instructive; he is surprising; and, he conveys his enthusiasm for biology, neuroscience and psychology. This is the single best series of lectures I have ever experienced. You may recall that last month I reviewed his book, Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... I said that I would find other ways of exploring many of the issues raised in that book. This was one way to do that. Sapolsky makes it easy for those of us without the scientific knowledge or vocabulary to understand many of ways we act human and the underlying factors contributing to why we do so. Among the things that I found very exciting were: Why certain very young children had a better chance of survival in hospitals serving the poor rather than the wealthy; Why and how an aggressive species, such as chimpanzees, will engage in win-win behavior; The way in which certain human parasites control us; What it takes to get two countries to sit down and discuss peace; and, Why we have accepted completely wrong medical treatment, sometimes for decades. I found it impossible to listen to a lecture without bringing up some aspect of it over coffee or dinner. Many times it led to a great discussion. For this, and what I said at the start, Sapolsky’s lectures have my highest recommendation.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    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 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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Charlene

    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 ama 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?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Morgan Blackledge

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

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cav

    This was an interesting, albeit a bit strange offering from The Great Courses. I have followed Professor Robert Sapolsky for many years now. I thoroughly enjoyed his Stanford University course Human Behavioural Biology . Robert Sapolsky : Professor Sapolsky is one of my favorite professors; he has a great teaching style that helps the student absorb the complex ideas and information he presents. This course was classic Sapolsky; he delivers the lectures here in an identical m This was an interesting, albeit a bit strange offering from The Great Courses. I have followed Professor Robert Sapolsky for many years now. I thoroughly enjoyed his Stanford University course Human Behavioural Biology . Robert Sapolsky : Professor Sapolsky is one of my favorite professors; he has a great teaching style that helps the student absorb the complex ideas and information he presents. This course was classic Sapolsky; he delivers the lectures here in an identical manner to his Stanford U talks, and his many other public appearances on talks and podcasts. The content presented here was interesting as well, although the course lacked a central thesis, and the lectures were not really cohesive to a common theme. Some of the subjects he covers here are a little strange for a university-style lecture. His lectures on "Why We Want the Bodies Back", and "This Is Your Brain on Metaphors" seemed particularly unusual additions to the material of this course... The formatting of this course is typical of other offerings by The Great Courses; this course has 12 lectures, each ~30mins long. The topics Dr. Sapolsky covers here are: 1: What's So Special about Being Human? Humans are, from an evolutionary perspective, certainly the most unique species on Earth. Start the course by learning how to approach the subject of human behavior. You may be surprised to discover that there are plenty of ways in which we have the same behavioral aspects as other animals-and also behaviors for which there is no precedent in the animal kingdom.... 2: Junk-Food Monkeys What happens when nonhuman primates get to eat like Westernized humans? And what does it say about the costs-and surprising benefits-of our diets? Find out the answers in this lecture, which focuses on a fascinating study of East African baboons who abandoned their natural diet to gorge on garbage from a local tourist lodge.... 3: The Burden of Being Burden-Free Investigate the latest anthropological and scientific understanding behind a pervasive part of our everyday lives: stress. You'll discover what makes psychological stress so damaging to health, where individual differences in stress come from, the nature of disorders including toxic hostility and clinical depression, and why it's impossible to be completely free of stress.... 4: Bugs in the Brain Professor Sapolsky introduces you to parasites that exploit their hosts by altering their behavior. After looking at studies, including mites that make ants find food for them and worms that drive crickets to suicide, focus on how rabies and toxoplasmosis can literally change the wiring of the brain in mammals-including humans.... 5: Poverty's Remains Turn to an intriguing historical case of doctors who, failing to appreciate the impact of poverty on our bodies, invented an imaginary disease whose preventive methods killed thousands of people. It's a peek into an odd corner of medical history that reveals startling lessons about the socioeconomics of medicine.... 6: Why Are Dreams Dreamlike? Why does your brain generate sensory imagery while you sleep? Here, examine the neurology of sleeping and dreaming. Also, discover how the key to strange dreams lies in your frontal cortex, which, when it goes completely offline, allows the rest of your brain to run wild.... 7: The Pleasures and Pains of "Maybe" For a long time, scientists thought that the neurotransmitter dopamine was directly related to pleasure. But it turns out that dopamine is more about the anticipation of reward than the reward itself. Here, plunge into the neuroscience behind why we're willing to deal with such long delays in gratification, and what it says about the potential of humans to experience both magnificent levels of mot... 8: How the Other Half Heals Learn about the intricate relationship between personal health and socioeconomic status. You'll learn how poverty is terrible for your health in unexpected ways, why some diseases (including polio) were more prevalent among the wealthy, and how shifting views of childcare in the 20th century showed that successful infant development relies not just on food, warmth, and the latest technology-but on... 9: Why We Want the Bodies Back Why do human bodies remain important after the life within them has gone? Is it a sign of affirmation, mourning, reverence? Or something else? Explore some of the world's diverse rituals and beliefs about the treatment of dead bodies, from Alaska to Israel to Sudan and beyond.... 10: Anatomy of a Bad Mood Learn what happens when you or others are in a bad mood by exploring some theories about emotion; explore the role of facial expressions in emotional feedback; and change the way you think about tense arguments.... 11: This Is Your Brain on Metaphors Dr. Sapolsky explains how metaphors work on the brain to actually change your opinions, assessments, and even action; investigates how we register disgust and pain in key regions of the brain; and shows metaphors' intriguing hold on our hearts and minds at work in politics and international events.... 12: Sushi and Middle Age Consider the brain science behind nostalgia. Why do we, as well as members of other species, tend to avoid novelty over time in favor of the familiar? Taking you through some rather eccentric research of his own, Professor Sapolsky uncovers some startling facts about the psychology, neurobiology, and evolution of this phenomenon.... Despite the somewhat rag-tag collection of lecture topics presented here, I still enjoyed this one. I would recommend it to others. 4 stars.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Troy Blackford

    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.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Aryeh

    It's Robert Fucking Sapolsky. That's the review. Five Stars It's Robert Fucking Sapolsky. That's the review. Five Stars

  8. 5 out of 5

    Teo 2050

    2015.11.05–2015.11.10 Contents Sapolsky RM (2012) (12 x 00:29) Being Human - Life Lessons from the Frontiers of Science 01. What's So Special about Being Human? 02. Junk-Food Monkeys 03. The Burden of Being Burden-Free 04. Bugs in the Brain 05. Poverty's Remains 06. Why Are Dreams Dreamlike? 07. The Pleasures and Pains of "Maybe" 08. How the Other Half Heals 09. Why We Want the Bodies Back 10. Anatomy of a Bad Mood 11. This Is Your Brain on Metaphors 12. Sushi and Middle Age 2015.11.05–2015.11.10 Contents Sapolsky RM (2012) (12 x 00:29) Being Human - Life Lessons from the Frontiers of Science 01. What's So Special about Being Human? 02. Junk-Food Monkeys 03. The Burden of Being Burden-Free 04. Bugs in the Brain 05. Poverty's Remains 06. Why Are Dreams Dreamlike? 07. The Pleasures and Pains of "Maybe" 08. How the Other Half Heals 09. Why We Want the Bodies Back 10. Anatomy of a Bad Mood 11. This Is Your Brain on Metaphors 12. Sushi and Middle Age

  9. 4 out of 5

    Irena

    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.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joseph L.

    Watch a detailed review along with my favorite ideas and takeaways at: https://youtu.be/YAuUeyKa5iY Watch a detailed review along with my favorite ideas and takeaways at: https://youtu.be/YAuUeyKa5iY

  11. 5 out of 5

    Santhosh Guru

    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.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    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 j 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 engaging...so 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.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Scott Ableman

    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 theorie 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.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gary Beauregard Bottomley

    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 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).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Aguilar

    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 wellne 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.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lex

    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 recommende 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.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    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. 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.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mohamad Sani

    Some intriguing and inspiring things, but more unnecessary stuffs

  19. 4 out of 5

    Yaaresse

    My understanding from GR is that they are going to strip all of these Great Courses from the site as being "not books." I really don't see the difference between these and an audio book, but resistance -- or, in this case, argumentation -- is futile. I just hope they don't get around to it until the end of the year so they still count for my annual reading challenge. Meanwhile, I'll be keeping track of my "non-conforming" formats over at LibraryThing so I don't lose my notes. Anyhoo...I've enjoy My understanding from GR is that they are going to strip all of these Great Courses from the site as being "not books." I really don't see the difference between these and an audio book, but resistance -- or, in this case, argumentation -- is futile. I just hope they don't get around to it until the end of the year so they still count for my annual reading challenge. Meanwhile, I'll be keeping track of my "non-conforming" formats over at LibraryThing so I don't lose my notes. Anyhoo...I've enjoyed many of The Great Course programs, but this may be my favorite one so far. Given that it was filmed in 2012 and how fast science information can become dates, it is surprisingly fresh and relevant still. The lecturer sets a fast pace and does not waste time endlessly summarizing everything he previously said, for which I'm grateful. While his manner of speaking -- a kind of sing-songy cadence -- took some getting used to, the information he's lecturing on is so interesting that was able to accept the speech pattern after a couple of lectures. I also appreciate his very dry sense of humor. I'll definitely look for other Great Courses by this presenter. Since my local library doesn't list the lecture titles in these series, I list them here: The twelve lectures in Being Human: Life Lessons from the Frontier of Science 1. What’s so Special about Being Human? 2. Junk-food Monkeys 3. The Burden of being Burden-free 4. Bugs in the Brain 5. Poverty’s Remains 6. Why Are Dreams Dreamlike? 7. The Pleasures and Pains of “Maybe” 8. How the Other Half Heals 9. Why We Want the Bodies Back 10. Anatomy of a Bad Mood 11. This is Your Brain on Metaphors 12. Sushi and Middle Age

  20. 4 out of 5

    Christian

    Unfocused and Fascinating AT A GLANCE: An eminent psychologist shares his views and a selection of experiments on a variety of topics. CONTENT: What is this course? Neither a survey nor a focused set of lectures, it is disjointed and structurally unsound. The fascinating content and ideas make it difficult to grade down, but be aware that this is shallow and anecdotal compared to his other work with the Great Courses. NARRATOR: Dr. Sapolsky is highly articulate and best listened to at 1x speed. The au Unfocused and Fascinating AT A GLANCE: An eminent psychologist shares his views and a selection of experiments on a variety of topics. CONTENT: What is this course? Neither a survey nor a focused set of lectures, it is disjointed and structurally unsound. The fascinating content and ideas make it difficult to grade down, but be aware that this is shallow and anecdotal compared to his other work with the Great Courses. NARRATOR: Dr. Sapolsky is highly articulate and best listened to at 1x speed. The audio-only versions miss his comforting presence, as his voice alone, while at first seemingly soft-spoken, is surprisingly intense. OVERALL: I would recommend this to someone who is vaguely aware of neuroscience but has no prior knowledge of specific experiments or implications.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Juan Rivera

    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 Sapolsky They 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 othe 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 Sapolsky They 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.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Really excellent series of lectures that dips into and blends many science disciplines Neurobiology, Zoology, Psychology and Anthropology. Explores some of the biggest phenomena of human life (stress, over-eating, rigidity of ideas and experience as we get older etc...) and compares how these phenomena are different, or more often the same, in the other members of the animal kingdom. Dr. Sapolsky is an engaging speaker with personality and a way of presenting some of the complex scientific ideas Really excellent series of lectures that dips into and blends many science disciplines Neurobiology, Zoology, Psychology and Anthropology. Explores some of the biggest phenomena of human life (stress, over-eating, rigidity of ideas and experience as we get older etc...) and compares how these phenomena are different, or more often the same, in the other members of the animal kingdom. Dr. Sapolsky is an engaging speaker with personality and a way of presenting some of the complex scientific ideas that make them easy to understand.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    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

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bob Collins

    Using some of the latest scientific research, Professor Sapolsky shares with us what it means to be human. An engaging presentation, with slight undertones of humor, we learn how the reward system in our brains respond to gambling, the nature of dreaming, the importance (and ubiquity) of metaphors and other interesting topics. Recommend

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    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). 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).

  26. 5 out of 5

    Andre

    Wonderful, intriguing, surprising, and inspiring talks about the mysteries of what it means to be human. This is a fantastic intro for anyone into biology and psychology, and a great primer into understanding that we're really more alike than we're different. [Caveat: completed as an audiobook] Wonderful, intriguing, surprising, and inspiring talks about the mysteries of what it means to be human. This is a fantastic intro for anyone into biology and psychology, and a great primer into understanding that we're really more alike than we're different. [Caveat: completed as an audiobook]

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Love Sapolsky's stuff. He always has fascinating insights into what makes us human, or, in other words, what doesn't make us all that different from other life forms that share our rock. His voice can get a bit tonally repetitive though. Love Sapolsky's stuff. He always has fascinating insights into what makes us human, or, in other words, what doesn't make us all that different from other life forms that share our rock. His voice can get a bit tonally repetitive though.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Richard

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

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ali

    Absolutely amazing. Diverse and simultaneously Deep. Sapolsky is simply a genius

  30. 4 out of 5

    Victor

    A bit of overlap with stress and the body, but super interesting recollection of studies and information about how we, humans, operate as

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