• The Deep History of Ourselves

  • The Four-Billion-Year Story of How We Got Conscious Brains
  • By: Joseph LeDoux
  • Narrated by: Fred Sanders
  • Length: 11 hrs and 9 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (199 ratings)

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The Deep History of Ourselves

By: Joseph LeDoux
Narrated by: Fred Sanders
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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

Critic reviews

"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)