Cover image for The social leap : the new evolutionary science of who we are, where we come from, and what makes us happy / William von Hippel.
Title:
The social leap : the new evolutionary science of who we are, where we come from, and what makes us happy / William von Hippel.
ISBN:
9780062740397
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
[New York, NY] : Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2018]

©2018
Physical Description:
291 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents:
Part I. How we became who we are -- Expelled from Eden -- Out of Africa -- Crops, cities, and kings -- Sexual selection and social comparison -- Part II. Leveraging the past to understand the present -- Homo socialis -- Homo innovatio -- Elephants and baboons -- Tribes and tribulations -- Part III. Using knowledge of the past to build a better future -- Why evolution gave us happiness -- Finding happiness in evolutionary imperatives -- Epilogue.
Abstract:
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 rainforest 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.
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Summary

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 rainforest 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.


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Von Hippel, a University of Queensland psychology professor, explains the basics of evolutionary psychology over the course of an accessible, enjoyable, but less than revelatory primer. The titular social leap occurred when early humans moved from the rainforest to the savannah, largely due to climate change, and faced severe evolutionary pressure to find new survival methods in an unfamiliar habitat. The solution, von Hippel explains, centered on the species becoming more intelligent and more social, as "cooperation and division of labor expanded our capabilities, transitioning us from prey to top predator." He struggles between ensuring readers understand that genes are not all powerful ("evolutionary psychology is a story about how evolution shaped our genes, which in turn sculpt our minds, but it is not a genetically deterministic story at all") and driving home just how much control they can exert ("Young men feel millions of years of evolutionary pressure, emanating from their testicles, pushing them toward risk and competition"). Although he does a credible job of discussing many of the field's standards-the nature of sexual selection, possible origins of theory of mind-he largely covers topics well explored elsewhere without providing new insights. Agent: Lauren Sharp, Aevitas Creative. (Nov.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Table of Contents

Prologuep. 1
Part I How We Became Who We Are
1 Expelled from Edenp. 19
2 Out of Africap. 35
3 Crops, Cities, and Kingsp. 60
4 Sexual Selection and Social Comparisonp. 86
Part II Leveraging the Past to Understand the Present
5 Homo Socialisp. 105
6 Homo Innovatiop. 138
7 Elephants and Baboonsp. 164
8 Tribes and Tribulationsp. 186
Part III Using Knowledge of the Past to Build a Better Future
9 Why Evolution Gave Us Happinessp. 213
10 Finding Happiness in Evolutionary Imperativesp. 227
Epiloguep. 258
Acknowledgmentsp. 261
Referencesp. 263
Indexp. 279