“A landmark book in the science of emotions and its implications for ethics and human universals.”—Library Journal, starred review
People like to think of themselves in terms of lines: individuals progressing from birth to death; evolution (and social history) starting at point A and moving continuously forward. While constructs like these may serve our need to situate ourselves in understandable narratives, science keeps confounding the impulse. New research into who we are, and why we do what we do, would seem bent on proving that we are better represented by concentric loops and mind-blowingly intricate feedbacks of brain chemistry, biology, linguistics, elements from the primate past, and more. In just the past decade, a growing list of popular science books has made it possible for the general reader to peer inside the stupendously overdetermined organism that is the human -- and to feel a woozy thrill on learning that such vertiginous complexity lives in each one of us.