A HUNTER-GATHERER’S GUIDE TO THE 21ST CENTURY


In their new book, A HUNTER-GATHERER’S GUIDE TO THE 21ST CENTURY: Evolution and the Challenges of Modern Life (Portfolio; September 14, 2021), evolutionary biologists Heather Heying & Bret Weinstein argue that the problem is clear: our world has become so hypernovel that the

  • Called “razor sharp and fun to read” by Jonathan Haidt and praised by Robert Sapolsky, Sebastian Junger, and others
  • Authors are evolutionary biologists and co-hosts of the popular DarkHorse podcast
  • Authors have appeared in/on The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Joe Rogan, Armchair Expert, Real Time with Bill Maher, Fox News, and other major media outlets

pace of change has outstripped our ability to keep up. Humans are an evolutionary phenomenon, and while we are designed to adapt to change, it took hundreds of millions of years for humans to become who we are today. We may live in a modern world, but our brains, bodies and social systems are ancient. They are now perpetually out of sync with the modern world, and it’s making us sick—physically, psychologically, socially, and environmentally. If we don’t figure out how to grapple with the problem of accelerating novelty, humanity will perish, a victim of its own success.

As evolutionary biologists and professors, Heying and Weinstein have done empirical work on sexual selection and the evolution of sociality, and theoretical work on the evolution of trade-offs, senescence, and morality. In the book, they distill more than 20 years of research and first-hand accounts from the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth to offer a robust scientific framework for understanding ourselves – both as individuals, and in relationships with others – and why the novelty of the modern era is killing us. In the book, they explore:

• What evolutionary theory has gotten wrong – and how correcting the scientific record will help us understand ourselves and how to treat our troublesome modern condition.

• The survival of our individual bodies in the realms of health and medicine, food and sleep—in a world wherein it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do so.

• How an evolutionary lens can help us better understand politically fraught issues around sex and gender, parenthood, school and relationships.

• What it will take for humans to adapt our way out of this?

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Photo Credit: Amazon / Bret Weinstein


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