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The Deep History of Ourselves

The Four-Billion-Year Story of How We Got Conscious Brains
Written by: Joseph LeDoux
Narrated by: Fred Sanders
Length: 11 hrs and 9 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A leading neuroscientist offers a history of the evolution of the brain from unicellular organisms to the complexity of animals and human beings today

Renowned neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux digs into the natural history of life on earth to provide a new perspective on the similarities between us and our ancestors in deep time. This pause-resisting survey of the whole of terrestrial evolution sheds new light on how nervous systems evolved in animals, how the brain developed, and what it means to be human. 

In The Deep History of Ourselves, LeDoux argues that the key to understanding human behavior lies in viewing evolution through the prism of the first living organisms. By tracking the chain of the evolutionary timeline he shows how even the earliest single-cell organisms had to solve the same problems we and our cells have to solve each day. Along the way, LeDoux explores our place in nature, how the evolution of nervous systems enhanced the ability of organisms to survive and thrive, and how the emergence of what we humans understand as consciousness made our greatest and most horrendous achievements as a species possible.

*Includes a PDF of original reference illustrations from the text

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

©2019 Joseph LeDoux (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"Readers have good reason to ponder LeDoux’s concluding challenge. [A] refreshingly lucid treatment of profound questions.” (Booklist, starred review)

“Plenty of popular authors describe the history of life, but LeDoux wants readers to remember as well as enjoy, so he divides his book into short, pithy chapters, each explaining a single evolutionary advance.... Like all good educators, the author begins simply.... [An] expert history of human behavior beginning at the beginning.” (Kirkus Reviews)

"Joseph LeDoux is the major scientist leading the current important effort to delineate the brain mechanisms of emotional states. In his most recent book, The Deep History of Ourselves, LeDoux attempts to connect the survival capacity of single-celled micro-organisms to the unique human capacity for survival. This capacity is importantly mediated by our ability to think, feel, and to contemplate not only our own past and future but the past and future of humankind. This is an extraordinary book. Indeed, as LeDoux points out, it is a deep history of ourselves." (Eric R. Kandel, Kavli Professor and University Professor, Columbia University; Senior Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; author of In Search of Memory and The Age of Insight; recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine)

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  • Trebla
  • 2019-09-30

Skip the first 40 chapters

Really disappointing after listening to folks LeDoux often cites in his piece like Frans de Waal, or Michael Gazzaniga- both of whom write so well using data to make a credible case and explaining the consequence. LeDoux again and again tells us his opinion, while naming many fellow scientist but so very little of actual findings. This the kind of presentation that turns off people to science.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • carlosuseche
  • 2019-10-04

Fantastic science book

Enjoyed and loved each chapter of this wonderful book. Very well written and pleasurable to read. The Deep History of Ourselves at its nutshell

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  • Luc
  • 2019-09-20

Will improve your understanding of the mind, evolution and consciousness

This is a solid book. Clean reasoning and unapologetically accurate. He doesn’t try to dum it down it might be challenging at points but I re-listened to a few of the chapters and in the end you understand. The begging and end are my fav parts

1 of 2 people found this review helpful