The subtitle is The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst. Sapolsky is tenured in biology and neuroscience at Stanford, and winner of a MacArthur genius grant. This book is a very impressive compendium of what we know about the social sciences, as might be rooted in behavioral biology and related fields. The topics include violence, altruism, cooperation, gene-environment interactions, and many more topics along the usual lines. It’s not a “here is my big idea” book, but rather “here is how we think about social phenomena.” In the conclusion, Sapolsky writes: “If you had to boil this book down to a single phrase, it would be “It’s complicated.” Nothing seems to cause anything, instead everything just modulates everything else.” Those are two very good sentences.
This is likely to be one of this year’s major social science books, and many of you should buy it, but it’s flaw is that there’s no particular claim you are forced to come to terms with.