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Evolution


Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Lowest new price: $17.99
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Author: Yuval Noah Harari
Brand: Harari Yuval Noah

New York Times Bestseller

A Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg

From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.”

One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?

Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.

Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?

Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.

An Amazon Best Book of the Month for February 2015: Yuval Noah Harari has some questions. Among the biggest: How did Homo sapiens (or Homo sapiens sapiens , if you’re feeling especially wise today) evolve from an unexceptional savannah-dwelling primate to become the dominant force on the planet, emerging as the lone survivor out of six distinct, competing hominid species? He also has some answers, and they’re not what you’d expect. Tackling evolutionary concepts from a historian’s perspective, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, describes human development through a framework of three not-necessarily-orthodox “Revolutions”: the Cognitive, the Agricultural, and the Scientific. His ideas are interesting and often amusing: Why have humans managed to build astonishingly large populations when other primate groups top out at 150 individuals? Because our talent for gossip allows us to build networks in societies too large for personal relationships between everyone, and our universally accepted “imagined realities”--such as money, religion, and Limited Liability Corporations—keep us in line. Who cultivated whom, humans or wheat?. Wheat. Though the concepts are unusual and sometimes heavy (as is the book, literally) Harari’s deft prose and wry, subversive humor make quick work of material prone to academic tedium. He’s written a book of popular nonfiction (it was a bestseller overseas, no doubt in part because his conclusions draw controversy) landing somewhere in the middle of a Venn diagram of genetics, sociology, and history. Throughout, Harari returns frequently to another question: Does all this progress make us happier, our lives easier? The answer might disappoint you. --Jon Foro

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Dr. Gundry's Diet Evolution: Turn Off the Genes That Are Killing You and Your Waistline

Dr. Gundry's Diet Evolution: Turn Off the Genes That Are Killing You and Your Waistline Lowest new price: $10.49
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Author: Steven R. Gundry
Brand: Three Rivers Press CA

"Dr. Gundry has crafted a wise program with a powerful track record.”
–Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Does losing weight and staying healthy feel like a battle? Well, it’s really a war. Your enemies are your own genes, backed by millions of years of evolution, and the only way to win is to outsmart them. Renowned surgeon and founder of Gundry MD, Dr. Steven Gundry’s revolutionary book shares the health secrets other doctors won’t tell you:

• Why plants are “good” for you because they’re “bad” for you, and meat is “bad” because it’s “good” for you
• Why plateauing on this diet is actually a sign that you’re on the right track
• Why artificial sweeteners have the same effects as sugar on your health and your waistline
• Why taking antacids, statins, and drugs for high blood pressure and arthritis masks health issues instead of addressing them

Along with the meal planner, 70 delicious recipes, and inspirational stories, Dr. Gundry’s easy-to-memorize tips will keep you healthy and on course.

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Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow Lowest new price: $21.46
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Author: Yuval Noah Harari
Brand: Yuval Noah Harari

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.

Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.

What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.

With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future.

An Amazon Best Book of February 2017: Those who read and loved Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens have been eagerly anticipating his new book Homo Deus. While Sapiens looked back at our evolutionary development, this new book examines where we might be headed (Homo Deus is subtitled “A Brief History of Tomorrow”). Predicting the future isn’t as easy as deconstructing the past, and Harari openly admits the challenge—but even if he’s completely wrong in his predictions, and most of us doubt he is, Homo Deus is the kind of provocative, food-for-thought read that drew so many of us to his work in the first place. According to Harari, our future could be very different from our present—dark, technocratic, and automated—but reading about our possible fates, presented in Harari’s clear-eyed and illuminating style, sure is fascinating. --Chris Schluep, The Amazon Book Review

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A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes Lowest new price: $17.64
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Author: Adam Rutherford

An effervescent work, brimming with tales and confounding ideas carried in the ‘epic poem in our cells.’”—Guardian

In our unique genomes, every one of us carries the story of our species—births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration, and a lot of sex.

But those stories have always been locked away—until now.

Who are our ancestors? Where did they come from? Geneticists have suddenly become historians, and the hard evidence in our DNA has blown the lid off what we thought we knew. Acclaimed science writer Adam Rutherford explains exactly how genomics is completely rewriting the human story—from 100,000 years ago to the present.

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived will upend your thinking on Neanderthals, evolution, royalty, race, and even redheads. (For example, we now know that at least four human species once roamed the earth.) Plus, here is the remarkable, controversial story of how our genes made their way to the Americas—one that’s still being written, as ever more of us have our DNA sequenced.

Rutherford closes with “A Short Introduction to the Future of Humankind,” filled with provocative questions that we’re on the cusp of answering: Are we still in the grasp of natural selection? Are we evolving for better or worse? And . . . where do we go from here?

An Amazon Best Book of October 2017: Our obsession with where we come from has recently leapfrogged past the genealogy efforts of retired relatives to mail-in DNA tests that can provide the broad strokes of our genetic makeup for less than $100. But, as Rutherford points out in his intriguing exploration of humankind, DNA tests offer only a sensationalized peek at our roots, and the tangled, still-evolving truth is far more fascinating. Armed with his disarming British wit, Rutherford delves into the migration, interbreeding and isolation, and extinction of hominid branches that has shaped the modern human. Holes in our fossil record and the lack of DNA in fossils we’ve actually found still make genome research a challenge, yet the more we learn, the more we have to change our perception of who Homo sapiens are and what we’re made of. Challenging the simplistic thinking bolstered by the media, Rutherford adds both nuance and the thrill of excitement to viewing our species through a wider, stronger lens that can now see deep into our past. —Adrian Liang, The Amazon Book Review

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Human by Design: From Evolution by Chance to Transformation by Choice

Human by Design: From Evolution by Chance to Transformation by Choice Lowest new price: $17.21
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Author: Gregg Braden

Human by Design invites you on a journey beyond Darwin’s theory of evolution, beginning with the fact that we exist as we do, even more empowered, and more connected with ourselves and the world, than scientists have believed possible.

* * *

In one of the great ironies of the modern world, the science that was expected to solve life’s mysteries has done just the opposite. New discoveries have led to more unanswered questions, created deeper mysteries, and brought us to the brink of forbidden territory when it comes to explaining our origin and existence. These discoveries reveal the following facts: 

·         Fact 1. Our origin—Modern humans appeared suddenly on earth approximately 200,000 years ago, with the advanced brain, nervous system, and capabilities that set them apart from all other known forms of life already developed, rather than having developed slowly and gradually over a long periods of time.

·         Fact 2. Missing physical evidence—The relationships shown on the conventional tree of human evolution are speculative connections only. While they are believed to exist, a 150-year search has failed to produce the physical evidence that confirms the relationships shown on the evolutionary family tree.

·         Fact 3. New DNA evidence—The comparison of DNA between ancient Neanderthals, previously thought to be our ancestors, and early humans tells us that we did not descend from the Neanderthals.

·         Fact 4. A rare DNA fusion—Advanced genome analysis reveals that the DNA that sets us apart from other primates, including in our advanced brain and nervous system, is the result of an ancient and precise fusion of genes occurring in a way that suggests something beyond evolution made our humanness possible.

·         Fact 5. Our extraordinary abilities—We are born with the capacity to self-heal, to self-regulate longevity, to activate an enhanced immune response, and to experience deep intuition, sympathy, empathy, and, ultimately, compassion—and to do each of these on demand.

In this book, New York Times best-selling author and 2017 Templeton Award nominee Gregg Braden crosses the traditional boundaries of science and spirituality to answer the timeless question at the core of our existence—Who are we?—and to reveal science-based techniques that awaken our uniquely human experiences of deep intuition, precognition, advanced states of self-healing, and much more! Beyond any reasonable doubt, Human by Design reveals that we’re not what we’ve been told, and much more than we’ve ever imagined.

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Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States

Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States Lowest new price: $18.36
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Author: James C. Scott

An account of all the new and surprising evidence now available for the beginnings of the earliest civilizations that contradict the standard narrative

Why did humans abandon hunting and gathering for sedentary communities dependent on livestock and cereal grains, and governed by precursors of today’s states? Most people believe that plant and animal domestication allowed humans, finally, to settle down and form agricultural villages, towns, and states, which made possible civilization, law, public order, and a presumably secure way of living. But archaeological and historical evidence challenges this narrative. The first agrarian states, says James C. Scott, were born of accumulations of domestications: first fire, then plants, livestock, subjects of the state, captives, and finally women in the patriarchal family—all of which can be viewed as a way of gaining control over reproduction.

Scott explores why we avoided sedentism and plow agriculture, the advantages of mobile subsistence, the unforeseeable disease epidemics arising from crowding plants, animals, and grain, and why all early states are based on millets and cereal grains and unfree labor. He also discusses the “barbarians” who long evaded state control, as a way of understanding continuing tension between states and nonsubject peoples.

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The Gene: An Intimate History

The Gene: An Intimate History Lowest new price: $7.78
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Author: Siddhartha Mukherjee
Brand: SCRIBNER

THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A New York Times Notable Book
A Washington Post and Seattle Times Best Book of the Year


From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies—a fascinating history of the gene and “a magisterial account of how human minds have laboriously, ingeniously picked apart what makes us tick” (Elle).

“Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee dazzled readers with his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Emperor of All Maladies in 2010. That achievement was evidently just a warm-up for his virtuoso performance in The Gene: An Intimate History, in which he braids science, history, and memoir into an epic with all the range and biblical thunder of Paradise Lost” (The New York Times). In this biography Mukherjee brings to life the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices.

“Mukherjee expresses abstract intellectual ideas through emotional stories…[and] swaddles his medical rigor with rhapsodic tenderness, surprising vulnerability, and occasional flashes of pure poetry” (The Washington Post). Throughout, the story of Mukherjee’s own family—with its tragic and bewildering history of mental illness—reminds us of the questions that hang over our ability to translate the science of genetics from the laboratory to the real world. In riveting and dramatic prose, he describes the centuries of research and experimentation—from Aristotle and Pythagoras to Mendel and Darwin, from Boveri and Morgan to Crick, Watson and Franklin, all the way through the revolutionary twenty-first century innovators who mapped the human genome.

“A fascinating and often sobering history of how humans came to understand the roles of genes in making us who we are—and what our manipulation of those genes might mean for our future” (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel), The Gene is the revelatory and magisterial history of a scientific idea coming to life, the most crucial science of our time, intimately explained by a master. “The Gene is a book we all should read” (USA TODAY).

An Amazon Best Book of May 2016: In 2010, Siddhartha Mukherjee was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his book The Emperor of All Maladies, a “biography” of cancer. Here, he follows up with a biography of the gene—and The Gene is just as informative, wise, and well-written as that first book. Mukherjee opens with a survey of how the gene first came to be conceptualized and understood, taking us through the thoughts of Aristotle, Darwin, Mendel, Thomas Morgan, and others; he finishes the section with a look at the case of Carrie Buck (to whom the book is dedicated), who eventually was sterilized in 1927 in a famous American eugenics case. Carrie Buck’s sterilization comes as a warning that informs the rest of the book. This is what can happen when we start tinkering with this most personal science and misunderstand the ethical implications of those tinkerings. Through the rest of The Gene, Mukherjee clearly and skillfully illustrates how the science has grown so much more advanced and complicated since the 1920s—we are developing the capacity to directly manipulate the human genome—and how the ethical questions have also grown much more complicated. We could ask for no wiser, more fascinating and talented writer to guide us into the future of our human heredity than Siddhartha Mukherjee. --Chris Schluep

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Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Lowest new price: $12.28
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Author: Jared Diamond Ph.D.
Brand: Diamond Jared

"Fascinating.... Lays a foundation for understanding human history."―Bill Gates

In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion --as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war --and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California's Gold Medal.

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The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History Lowest new price: $7.37
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Author: Elizabeth Kolbert
Brand: Kolbert Elizabeth

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST

A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes

Over the last half-billion years, there have been Five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In prose that is at once frank, entertaining, and deeply informed, New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert tells us why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no species has before. Interweaving research in half a dozen disciplines, descriptions of the fascinating species that have already been lost, and the history of extinction as a concept, Kolbert provides a moving and comprehensive account of the disappearances occurring before our very eyes. She shows that the sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy, compelling us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

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River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (Science Masters Series)

River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (Science Masters Series) Lowest new price: $9.13
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Author: Richard Dawkins

How did the replication bomb we call ”life” begin and where in the world, or rather, in the universe, is it heading? Writing with characteristic wit and an ability to clarify complex phenomena (the New York Times described his style as ”the sort of science writing that makes the reader feel like a genius”), Richard Dawkins confronts this ancient mystery.

Nearly a century and a half after Charles Darwin formulated it, the theory of evolution is still the subject of considerable debate. Oxford scientist Richard Dawkins is among Darwin's chief defenders, and an able one indeed-- witty, literate, capable of turning a beautiful phrase. In River Out of Eden he introduces general readers to some fairly abstract problems in evolutionary biology, gently guiding us through the tangles of mitochondrial DNA and the survival-of-the- fittest ethos. (Superheroes need not apply: Dawkins writes, "The genes that survive . . . will be the ones that are good at surviving in the average environment of the species.") Dawkins argues for the essential unity of humanity, noting that "we are much closer cousins of one another than we normally realize, and we have many fewer ancestors than simple calculations suggest."

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