A bold, provocative history of our species finds the deep origins of society's success and failure in our evolutionary history.
We are living through the most prosperous age in all of human history, yet people are more listless, divided and miserable than ever. Wealth and comfort are unparalleled, and yet our political landscape grows ever more toxic, and rates of suicide, loneliness, and chronic illness continue to skyrocket. How do we explain the gap between these two truths? What's more, what can we do to close it?
For evolutionary biologists Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein, the cause of our woes is clear: the modern world is out of sync with our ancient brains and bodies. We evolved to live in clans, but today most people don't even know their neighbours' names. Survival in our earliest societies depended on living in harmony with nature, but today the food we eat, the work we do-even the light we absorb-is radically different from what our minds and bodies evolved to expect. The cognitive dissonance created by trying to live in a society we're not built for is killing us.
In A Hunter-Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century, Heying and Weinstein cut through the noise surrounding issues like sex, gender, diet, parenting, sleep, education, and much else besides to outline a science-based worldview that will empower you to live a better, wiser life. They distill more than 20 years of research and first-hand accounts from the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth into straightforward principles and guidance for confronting our culture of hyper-novelty.
Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein are James Madison Program Visiting Fellows at Princeton University. They have PhDs in Biology from the University of Michigan and taught evolutionary biology for 15 years at Evergreen State College, Washington. Together they co-host the Dark Horse podcast, which has over a quarter of a million subscribers and is ranked in the top ten most popular science podcasts on YouTube.
"This book guides readers through the most pressing puzzles of our time, developing their conceptual toolkit without being didactic. Razor sharp and fun to read, A Hunter Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century secures Weinstein and Heying's reputation as heroes who stand up not only for academic freedom, but also moral principles"
– Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind
"I have never read such a bold, well-researched, and succinct exploration of the puzzling predicament we find ourselves in. Anyone who wonders why the most comfortable society in history – our own – has such astronomical rates of depression, anxiety and poor health will find abundant answers in A Hunter-Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century"
– Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm and Tribe
"A Hunter-Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century has given me at least five evolutionary concepts that have become central to my way of viewing the world"
– Jamie Wheal, executive director of the Flow Genome Project and co-author of Stealing Fire
"Bret and Heather are highly regarded evolutionary biologists, very clear thinkers and communicators"
– Robert Sapolsky, author of Behave