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The Human Swarm

The Human Swarm

How Our Societies Arise, Thrive, and Fall

The epic story of how humans evolved from intimate chimp communities into 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. In the vein of 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.
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Genre: Nonfiction / Science / Life Sciences / Evolution

On Sale: April 16th 2019

Price: $32 / $42 (CAD)

Page Count: 480

ISBN-13: 9780465055685

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews


"[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, starred review
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"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
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"The Human Swarm is a book by a biologist that should fascinate any thoughtful reader and deserves to be taken seriously by psychologists and social scientists alike."—Roy Baumeister, Francis Eppes Eminent Scholar at Florida State University and author of Willpower
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"Homo sapiens is a small-group social animal that physically seems to be limited to personal relationships with a few individuals. Nonetheless humanity is struggling to deal with societies of billions as human technologies now pose existential threats tied to those numbers. In The Human Swarm, Mark Moffett presents an intriguing overview of the biological roots and cultural evolution of this now-critical situation."—Paul R. Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies at Stanford and author of Human Natures
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"This is a book of amazing ideas, many of them counter-intuitive. 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
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