Listen free for 30 days

  • Determined

  • A Science of Life Without Free Will
  • Written by: Robert M. Sapolsky
  • Narrated by: Kaleo Griffith
  • Length: 14 hrs and 5 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

Pick 1 audiobook a month from our unmatched collection.
Listen all you want to thousands of included audiobooks, Originals, and podcasts.
Access exclusive sales and deals.
Premium Plus auto-renews for $14.95/mo + applicable taxes after 30 days. Cancel anytime.
Determined cover art

Determined

Written by: Robert M. Sapolsky
Narrated by: Kaleo Griffith
Try for $0.00

$14.95 a month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy Now for $28.51

Buy Now for $28.51

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Tax where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

The instant New York Times bestseller

“Excellent…Outstanding for its breadth of research, the liveliness of the writing, and the depth of humanity it conveys.”–Wall Street Journal

One of our great behavioral scientists, the bestselling author of Behave, plumbs the depths of the science and philosophy of decision-making to mount a devastating case against free will, an argument with profound consequences

Robert Sapolsky’s Behave, his now classic account of why humans do good and why they do bad, pointed toward an unsettling conclusion: We may not grasp the precise marriage of nature and nurture that creates the physics and chemistry at the base of human behavior, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Now, in Determined, Sapolsky takes his argument all the way, mounting a brilliant (and in his inimitable way, delightful) full-frontal assault on the pleasant fantasy that there is some separate self telling our biology what to do.

Determined offers a marvelous synthesis of what we know about how consciousness works—the tight weave between reason and emotion and between stimulus and response in the moment and over a life. One by one, Sapolsky tackles all the major arguments for free will and takes them out, cutting a path through the thickets of chaos and complexity science and quantum physics, as well as touching ground on some of the wilder shores of philosophy. He shows us that the history of medicine is in no small part the history of learning that fewer and fewer things are somebody’s “fault”; for example, for centuries we thought seizures were a sign of demonic possession. Yet, as he acknowledges, it’s very hard, and at times impossible, to uncouple from our zeal to judge others and to judge ourselves. Sapolsky applies the new understanding of life beyond free will to some of our most essential questions around punishment, morality, and living well together. By the end, Sapolsky argues that while living our daily lives recognizing that we have no free will is going to be monumentally difficult, doing so is not going to result in anarchy, pointlessness, and existential malaise. Instead, it will make for a much more humane world.

*This audiobook includes a downloadable PDF containing Tables, Charts, Diagrams, and Footnotes from the book.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2023 Robert M. Sapolsky (P)2023 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

“Sapolsky’s decades of experience studying the effects of the interplay of genes and the environment on behavior shine brightly . . . He provides compelling examples that bad luck compounds . . . convincingly argues against claims that chaos theory, emergent phenomena, or the indeterminism offered by quantum mechanics provide the gap required for free will to exist.”Science

“The behavioural scientist engagingly lays out the reasons why our every action is predetermined—and why we shouldn’t despair about it . . . Determined is a bravura performance, well worth reading for the pleasure of Sapolsky’s deeply informed company . . . Absorbing and compassionate.”The Guardian

“Few people understand the human brain as well as renowned neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky.”—Most Anticipated Fall Books, San Francisco Chronicle

What listeners say about Determined

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    10
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    10
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    9
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Perspective Changing Book

Listen to this book if you're in the mood for a good existential crisis. You might not agree entirely, but he sure does make you think deeply about how much free will actually have. As usual, Sapolsky does an awesome job at explaining complicated concepts in an understandable and compelling way. This book has earned a spot as an all time favorite. I highly recommend it!

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely wonderful as expected

Sapolsky is a genius! This books builds on his previous book Behave. It's pure science on steroids! Love it!

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

This book will not change the world but it should.

The world is full of lies and this book will explain why. You may not be smart enough to understand this book and that’s ok, you don’t have too.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Refreshingly to the point.

A healthy dose of common sense ! Great book, we are not so enlightened as we think.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!