• The Human Swarm

  • How Our Societies Arise, Thrive, and Fall
  • By: Mark W. Moffett
  • Narrated by: Sean Patrick Hopkins
  • Length: 15 hrs and 26 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (189 ratings)

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The Human Swarm  By  cover art

The Human Swarm

By: Mark W. Moffett
Narrated by: Sean Patrick Hopkins
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Publisher's summary

The epic story and ultimate big history of how human society evolved from intimate chimp communities into the sprawling civilizations of a world-dominating species

If a chimpanzee ventures into the territory of a different group, it will almost certainly be killed. But a New Yorker can fly to Los Angeles - or Borneo - with very little fear. Psychologists have done little to explain this: for years, they have held that our biology puts a hard upper limit - about 150 people - on the size of our social groups. But human societies are in fact vastly larger. How do we manage - by and large - to get along with each other?

In this paradigm-shattering book, biologist Mark W. Moffett draws on findings in psychology, sociology, and anthropology to explain the social adaptations that bind societies. He explores how the tension between identity and anonymity defines how societies develop, function, and fail. Surpassing Guns, Germs, and Steel and Sapiens, The Human Swarm reveals how mankind created sprawling civilizations of unrivaled complexity - and what it will take to sustain them.

©2019 Mark W. Moffett (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"Fascinating...a delightfully accessible and ingenious series of lessons on humans and our societies." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

"In the past quarter century, there has emerged a genre of Big History that includes such epic books as Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel, Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature, and Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens. Mark Moffett's The Human Swarm is destined to be included in future lists of such books that not only add to our understanding of who we are, how we got here, and where we're going, but change our perspective of how we fit in the larger picture of life on Earth. A magisterial work of monumental importance." (Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine and author of The Moral Arc)

"This is a book of amazing ideas, many of them counterintuitive. Mark Moffett's astounding stories of animal societies persuaded me that the future of human cities have been foretold by the ants. Read this manifesto if you like to have your mind changed." (Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired Magazine and author of The Inevitable)

"[Moffett] intrigues by setting human societies in the context of those of the animal kingdom. This fine work should have broad appeal to anyone curious about human societies, which is basically everyone." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about The Human Swarm

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