• The Secret of Our Success

  • How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter
  • By: Joseph Henrich
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Yen
  • Length: 17 hrs and 15 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (293 ratings)

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The Secret of Our Success  By  cover art

The Secret of Our Success

By: Joseph Henrich
Narrated by: Jonathan Yen
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Publisher's summary

Humans are a puzzling species. On the one hand, we struggle to survive on our own in the wild, often failing to overcome even basic challenges, like obtaining food, building shelters, or avoiding predators. On the other hand, human groups have produced ingenious technologies, sophisticated languages, and complex institutions that have permitted us to successfully expand into a vast range of diverse environments.

What has enabled us to dominate the globe, more than any other species, while remaining virtually helpless as lone individuals? This book shows that the secret of our success lies not in our innate intelligence, but in our collective brains - on the ability of human groups to socially interconnect and learn from one another over generations.

Drawing insights from lost European explorers, clever chimpanzees, mobile hunter-gatherers, neuroscientific findings, ancient bones, and the human genome, Joseph Henrich demonstrates how our collective brains have propelled our species' genetic evolution and shaped our biology.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2015 Princeton University Press (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about The Secret of Our Success

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great subject, clumsy delivery

The narrator at times sounds almost like they’re imitating an old times radio announcer. The material is compelling enough that I sat through most of the book suffering through the narration. This is one I may buy in physical form so I can skip through all the foreshadowing of what’s to come in future chapters. Some of the earlier chapters seem to be nothing but talking about what the author will talk about later. It gets a little annoying.

However, the fundamental concepts of cultural evolution are very clearly laid out. It is made evident how foundational cultural evolution is to our species in almost every aspect of our human lives. I found the material fascinating, and has triggered many avenues of further research and study for me.

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1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed it, but narration was lacking

Combination of a very dry narrator and some sections of the book that were very detailed and pedantic had me snoozing a bit at times, but the bulk of it laid out his thesis very well and gave me a new perspective on human nature and how it evolved

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Culture and Human Evolution

The idea that culture has been one of the driving forces in human evolution is truly fascinating and the author has made some compelling arguments. For example, his argument that cultural learning created a change in human biology that lead to psychological adaptations for learning from other people makes sense to me and has opened my eyes to a new way of understanding the current behavior of the human species.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book

Excellent book on culture-gene coevolution. It’s a must read for everyone who works in the domain of culture or simply wants to better understand culture. The audio performance is great too

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

One teacher leads to degredation

Nice book. I loved it. Best idea I' ve got is - learn from many teachers not one, if You want to be the best in something.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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MUST READ - absolutely fundamental

I have a long list of nonfiction books that I love. this is now the book I'm going to recommend ahead of all the others.

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Brilliant

Clear and consistent narrative of who we are and how we got here. Eye opening!

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    3 out of 5 stars

insightful summary of culture/gene coevolution

A clear and insightful summary of culture/gene coevolution. Reminder of collective greatness and individual weakness/dependence

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Significant Insights

I gave this five stars because it had insights I had not come across anywhere else. That being said, it’s a bit pedantic, but it’s not bad.

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