The Deep History of Ourselves

The Four-Billion-Year Story of How We Got Conscious Brains
Narrated by: Fred Sanders
Length: 11 hrs and 9 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (123 ratings)

Audible Premium Plus

$14.95 a month

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $28.00

Buy for $28.00

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

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)

More from the same

What listeners say about The Deep History of Ourselves

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    88
  • 4 Stars
    21
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    3
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    84
  • 4 Stars
    18
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    74
  • 4 Stars
    18
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    4

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

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.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Oversold

The author takes a long long time to make a rather simple point: emotions reflect, rather than cause the su!rvival instincts associated with them (such as freezing, increased heartbeat and flight). Interesting, I guess, but hardly worth the time he requires listeners to wait to get to it. Had he stated his thesis upfront I would have saved a tremendous amount of time spent wading through uninteresting material.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This is one of the most important books I've read

This book is great. Now, I love books on the history of life as well as books on the brain and mind. This book melds the two in such enlightening ways that just about every single chapter I read is filled with insights into the synthesis of evolution and the nervous system. I can't rate this book's content any higher. I know it's a very niche subject and its not for everyone, but if your interesting in the subject matter at all, I recommend you give a try. I mean hell, if you don't like you can always return I suppose.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

3 people found this helpful