The Social Leap

The New Evolutionary Science of Who We Are, Where We Come from, and What Makes Us Happy
Narrated by: Michael David Axtell
Length: 8 hrs and 36 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (458 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the compelling popular science tradition of Sapiens and Guns, Germs, and Steel, a groundbreaking and eye-opening exploration that applies evolutionary science to provide a new perspective on human psychology, revealing how major challenges from our past have shaped some of the most fundamental aspects of our being.

The most fundamental aspects of our lives - from leadership and innovation to aggression and happiness - were permanently altered by the "social leap" our ancestors made from the rain forest to the Savannah. Their struggle to survive on the open grasslands required a shift from individualism to a new form of collectivism, which forever altered the way our mind works. It changed the way we fight and our proclivity to make peace, it changed the way we lead and the way we follow, it made us innovative but not inventive, it created a new kind of social intelligence, and it led to new sources of life satisfaction.

In The Social Leap, William von Hippel lays out this revolutionary hypothesis, tracing human development through three critical evolutionary inflection points to explain how events in our distant past shape our lives today. From the mundane, such as why we exaggerate, to the surprising, such as why we believe our own lies and why fame and fortune are as likely to bring misery as happiness, the implications are far-reaching and extraordinary.

Blending anthropology, biology, history, and psychology with evolutionary science, The Social Leap is a fresh and provocative look at our species that provides new clues about who we are, what makes us happy, and how to use this knowledge to improve our lives.

©2018 William von Hippel (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

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Amazing

I listened to you on Joe Rogans podcast and you blew my mind that I immediately download your book and I loved it

13 people found this helpful

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Best Book Of The Year

I've been waiting for this impatiently ever since I first added it to my Pre-Order list and my, it was worth it. This is a really well narrated scientific text which examines why people are the way they are and how our drive to be social drives nearly all our behavior. There are fascinating insights into corporate behaviour and animal behaviour too. I am 100% glad that I bought this and would strongly recommend it to anyone who thinks they might enjoy it.

5 people found this helpful

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This book deserves more than 5 stars. Excellent

Reading this book is a real pleasure. Highly recommended. I also recommend the Joe Rogan Experience interview # 1201 - William von Hippe about this book.

3 people found this helpful

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fascinating!!!

I found this book from watching a Joe Rogan podcast. I enjoyed the author on the show and very much enjoyed this book! Go check out JRE and if you like him there get this book!

2 people found this helpful

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Great science reading, but with some hesitations.

Great science, great telling. Obviously the focus of much of this book is on the benefits of being social as a human. I think the only drawback is perhaps a superficial treatment and unfortunate referrals to those who are introverts or perhaps suffer from depression as curmudgeons. He use that word which is unfortunate so I think there could be better treatment to the listener who simply is not an extrovert and without treating that introversion as some type of disorder. I am thinking of the book QUIET as an antidote to this type of thinking.

1 person found this helpful

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I Loved This Book

I saw William von Hippel on the Joe Rogan podcast and knew I had to read his book. This is an excellent book with a lot of interesting information that possibly explains the exact reasons that humans are the way that we are.

1 person found this helpful

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Insightful and Captivating!

Wonderful book that clearly and concisely describes various phenomena that become apparent once explained! Best use of the money I've spent this year!

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When did humans start acting like humans?

This book looks to answer that question and follows human behaviors back to their evolutionary first occurrence. then comes full circle to point out how our unique evolution has guided our species over the world. very much in the vein of sapiens

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Surprised by its relevance

The book was as entertaining as it was informative. lots of ah-ha moments. Great read.

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Should have read it humbled

Great book, ok audio read. A bit robotic, bland. But the material is fantastic. Bird up.

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  • john
  • 05-28-20

How to understand yourself and others

incredibley written
humerous moments
insanely insightful
increases your empathy with others
If you want to understand your own habbits and psychy, look no further

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  • Ras
  • 09-03-19

frustrating as nothing new

The book's contents are not original at all. It is just a compilation of ideas from other popular science books. For instance, there are many references to Pinker's and Acemoglu's books. Occasionally, there are some interesting factual research findings presented in the book, but that's all. Narration is good though. It is a very easy listen but it is only for very novice audience who knows almost nothing about evolutionary theories or some famous works on psychology. Otherwise, it is a rather boring book for someone who already read some evolutionary psychology and economics books...I am surprised at (and also frustrated by) the positive comments. I guess it all depends on the audience.

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  • mr simon m dallender
  • 03-22-19

Fascinating from start to finish.

This is a thought provoking, deep and insightful book. It remains accessible and engaging throughout and builds a very clear and well thought out position that is both immediately relevant to our society today and reflective of our evolutionary past. I will be buying a hard copy so I can dip in and out of this brilliant work again and again.

The delivery was perfect in so much as I have nothing to say about it. I would happily listen to this voice artist for hours without giving it any thought.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-08-19

next level!!!!

such an awesome book, would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the mind and society 👍👍👍

1 person found this helpful

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  • Zayin gadol
  • 01-16-19

amazing book and great narration

looking for an easy read and interesting?
look no more. lots of case studies brought in an easy going manner and enjoyable.
pretty much explaining how we are as a society developed and will hopefully develop more...

1 person found this helpful

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  • flexiblemirror
  • 01-04-19

Wow!! I learned more than in the last decade.

I’m taking keen interest in what makes humans the way we are including anthropology and neuroscience and am a fan of books such as Sapiens or Factfulness. The Social Leap is outstanding. Solid science and fantastic storytelling. Easy to follow and FULL of insights I’ve not come across before as well as well framed facts I’ve known about. This book prompts me to make a number of adjustments in my life which are perfect for the New Year resolutions and my goals for 2019 (it’s 4th January when I’m writing this). Highly recommended book for all curious people out there

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-20-18

amazing read

Brilliant book, explained in a easy to follow way, would highly recommend this for anyone interested in evolution

1 person found this helpful

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  • Georges Ajaka
  • 03-29-19

Excellent book

Very interesting and easy for someone with no prior knowledge. Lots of good examples and relates our ancestors lives to ours, making it very understandable.

1 person found this helpful