51 books like Chimpanzee Politics

By Franz DeWaal,

Here are 51 books that Chimpanzee Politics fans have personally recommended if you like Chimpanzee Politics. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboons

Anthony Ham Author Of The Last Lions of Africa: Stories from the Frontline in the Battle to Save a Species

From my list on wild Africa.

Why am I passionate about this?

For more than two decades, I have been travelling to the wild places of this planet looking for stories. Africa in all its diversity has always been my first love. Whether I’m off the grid in the Kalahari, or scanning the far horizon of the Serengeti looking for lions, Africa feels like home to me, and I’m passionate about finding, and then telling the stories of the people I meet, and the wildlife I encounter, along the way. And driving me every step of the way is my great belief in the power of the written word and that of a good story to transform the way we think about, and interact with, the natural world. 

Anthony's book list on wild Africa

Anthony Ham Why did Anthony love this book?

Funny and wise in equal measure, A Primate’s Memoir is a window on baboon social dynamics with plenty of forays into the world of safari tourism that he observes from askance. Sapolsky has since gone on to become one of the science world’s keenest observers of human behaviour, and his portrayals of baboon and human interactions are priceless.

By Robert M. Sapolsky,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked A Primate's Memoir as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the tradition of Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, Robert Sapolsky, a foremost science writer and recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant, tells the mesmerizing story of his twenty-one years in remote Kenya with a troop of Savannah baboons.

“I had never planned to become a savanna baboon when I grew up; instead, I had always assumed I would become a mountain gorilla,” writes Robert Sapolsky in this witty and riveting chronicle of a scientist’s coming-of-age in remote Africa.

An exhilarating account of Sapolsky’s twenty-one-year study of a troop of rambunctious baboons in Kenya, A Primate’s Memoir interweaves serious scientific…


Book cover of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

Larry Cahoone Author Of The Emergence of Value: Human Norms in a Natural World

From my list on history and science books that tell us who we are now.

Why am I passionate about this?

A philosophy professor, my central interest has always been something historical: what is going on in this strange modern world we live in? Addressing this required forty years of background work in the natural sciences, history, social sciences, and the variety of contemporary philosophical theories that try to put them all together. In the process, I taught philosophy courses on philosophical topics, social theory, and the sciences, wrote books, and produced video courses, mostly focused on that central interest. The books listed are some of my favorites to read and to teach. They are crucial steps on the journey to understand who we are in this unprecedented modern world.

Larry's book list on history and science books that tell us who we are now

Larry Cahoone Why did Larry love this book?

Best recent book examining human morality from a scientific, psychological point of view.

Darwinians used to think humans had to be selfish and immoral. Contemporary evolution argues the opposite, that humans evolved moral limits on our selfishness in order to live together. Haidt’s is the best book presenting this new evolutionary psychology.

But it goes further to connect those scientific issues with contemporary politics, explaining why people from “red” and “blue” states cannot understand each other: they each embody a short list of human moral values, but different ones. This is a great book for thinking carefully about human morality and contemporary politics. Students love it, and so do I. 

By Jonathan Haidt,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked The Righteous Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A landmark contribution to humanity's understanding of itself' The New York Times

Why can it sometimes feel as though half the population is living in a different moral universe? Why do ideas such as 'fairness' and 'freedom' mean such different things to different people? Why is it so hard to see things from another viewpoint? Why do we come to blows over politics and religion?

Jonathan Haidt reveals that we often find it hard to get along because our minds are hardwired to be moralistic, judgemental and self-righteous. He explores how morality evolved to enable us to form communities, and…


Book cover of The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Ling Ling Huang Author Of Natural Beauty

From my list on the power of music.

Why am I passionate about this?

For most of my life, I've been a professional classical violinist. I had my first performance on stage at the age of 4, went to a music conservatory at the age of 15, and have gone on to play on some of the best concert stages in the world, from the Elbphilharmonie to Carnegie Hall. My violin playing and writing inform each other, and I think of myself as a translator between the two. I love to do both, and I’m certain I couldn’t do one without the other. It's always a pleasure to see music in the books I read. I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I have!

Ling's book list on the power of music

Ling Ling Huang Why did Ling love this book?

This was one of the first books I ever loved as a teenager and it has always stayed with me.

A professor recommended it to me, and I didn’t know that it would heavily reference Beethoven’s last string quartet, which I was working on at the time.

I love the way Kundera can weave so many disparate things together, including Beethoven’s fate motif and the fate of the character’s relationships. It’s something I find very inspiring and try to do in my own works.

By Milan Kundera,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Unbearable Lightness of Being as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A cult figure.' Guardian
'A dark and brilliant achievement.' Ian McEwan
'Shamelessly clever ... Exhilaratingly subversive and funny.' Independent
'A modern classic ... As relevant now as when it was first published. ' John Banville

A young woman is in love with a successful surgeon; a man torn between his love for her and his womanising. His mistress, a free-spirited artist, lives her life as a series of betrayals; while her other lover stands to lose everything because of his noble qualities. In a world where lives are shaped by choices and events, and everything occurs but once, existence seems…


Book cover of Macachiavellian Intelligence: How Rhesus Macaques and Humans Have Conquered the World

Loretta Graziano Breuning Author Of Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, & Endorphin Levels

From my list on the animal mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the founder of the Inner Mammal Institute and author of many books on the mammalian neurochemistry we’ve inherited. I started this research because the psychology I’d been taught wasn’t working for my students or my children. It wasn’t even working for the children of psychology professors! I knew we were missing something big. I started studying animals, and suddenly everything made sense. We have the same neurochemicals controlled by the same limbic system as other mammals, which is why the social behavior of animals is eerily familiar.  Here are five books that shaped my insight into the mammal brain in all of us. But I must mention the wildlife videos of David Attenborough as well. They made a huge contribution to my understanding of animal impulses, which is why my first book is dedicated to him. Attenborough was not just a talking head; he was the prime mover in the drive to record animal behavior in the wild.

Loretta's book list on the animal mind

Loretta Graziano Breuning Why did Loretta love this book?

Macaque monkeys are machiavellian, get it? This is a proper academic survery of macaque social behavior in the wild. I was amazed to learn that social climbing behaviors is not just a chimp thing, and not just a male thing. Female monkeys are shameless social climbers, and this promotes the survival of their genes just like biologists tell us. Monkeys cooperate as well as compete, but they calculate when to cooperate and with whom. In short, they cooperate when it promotes their genes. When the calculating behavior of humans gets you down, it’s helpful to know how monkeys do the same thing. A similar book on a different species is Baboon Metaphysics: The Evolution of a Social Mind, by Cheney and Seyfarth. Yet another is The Lemurs' Legacy: The Evolution of Power, Sex, and Love. I studied one primate after another and kept seeing the same basic patterns,…

By Dario Maestripieri,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Macachiavellian Intelligence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Judged by population size and distribution, Homo sapiens are clearly the most successful primates. A close second, however, would be rhesus macaques, who have adapted to - and thrived in - such diverse environments as mountain forests, dry grasslands, and urban sprawl. Scientists have spent countless hours studying these opportunistic monkeys, but rhesus macaques have long been overshadowed in the public eye by the great apes, who, because of their greater intelligence, are naturally assumed to have more to teach us about other primates and about humans as well. Dario Maestripieri thinks it is high time we shelve that misperception,…


Book cover of The Territorial Imperative

Loretta Graziano Breuning Author Of Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, & Endorphin Levels

From my list on the animal mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the founder of the Inner Mammal Institute and author of many books on the mammalian neurochemistry we’ve inherited. I started this research because the psychology I’d been taught wasn’t working for my students or my children. It wasn’t even working for the children of psychology professors! I knew we were missing something big. I started studying animals, and suddenly everything made sense. We have the same neurochemicals controlled by the same limbic system as other mammals, which is why the social behavior of animals is eerily familiar.  Here are five books that shaped my insight into the mammal brain in all of us. But I must mention the wildlife videos of David Attenborough as well. They made a huge contribution to my understanding of animal impulses, which is why my first book is dedicated to him. Attenborough was not just a talking head; he was the prime mover in the drive to record animal behavior in the wild.

Loretta's book list on the animal mind

Loretta Graziano Breuning Why did Loretta love this book?

Animals are picky about who they mate with. Biologists have explained a wide array of mating strategies, and this book is an “intimate” look at one of them: territoriality. This book gets down and dirty, as it were, to see how animals fight for turf and how it promotes their genes. It’s a great read - not a stuffy textbook - and it’s part of a series of 4 so you may want to keep going as I did.

Another older book that opened my eyes is The Human Side of Animals by Vance Packard. Together, these books showed me that it’s not just apes and monkeys that compete for status; it’s a staple feature of social animals. And if you want a real textbook on the subject, the best of them, after 50 years, is still E.O.Wilson.

By Robert Ardrey, Berdine Ardrey (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Territorial Imperative as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A territory is an area of space which an animal guards as its exclusive possession and which it will defend against all members of its kind. In this revolutionary book Robert Ardrey takes a concept familiar to every biologist, brings together for the first time a fair sampling of all scientific observations of this form of behavior, and demonstrates that man obeys the same laws as does many other animal species. With African Genesis Mr Ardrey stirred up enough storm to last an author, one would think, for a lifetime. In The Territorial Imperative, however, he explores more deeply and…


Book cover of Reaching the Animal Mind: Clicker Training and What It Teaches Us about All Animals

Emma Parsons Author Of Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog

From my list on for those who compete in canine sports.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m passionate about these topics is because I'm a world-renowned dog trainer and an elite agility competitor. In both of these activities, I need to know my learning theory as well as how to break behavior into tiny pieces. When counseling canine behavior clients, I teach them these skills as well. My hope is that if they learn how their dog's brains work, they might make more of an effort to teach their dogs more cooperative skills. There are so many activities that people and dogs can share, one such being agility! People love to teach it (form of play) and the dog's confidence grows, as many as the obstacles are introduced.

Emma's book list on for those who compete in canine sports

Emma Parsons Why did Emma love this book?

Another winner by Karen Pryor! In this book, Karen talks about the methodology of clicker training and why it is such an important teaching tool. With the sound of an audible signal (the click), we can teach the animal that what he/she did, at that moment in time, is the reason why they are receiving reinforcement. As Bob Bailey once said, “The clicker is used as a scalpel to carve out behavior.” 

Scattered throughout the text are video URLs to demonstrate some of the concepts. For example, a reader can go to the URL and watch a cat do agility!

Whatever canine sport you are in, the clicker can be a valuable tool in your toolbox.

I love this book because, as a dog trainer, I want to use tools that communicate effectively to the dog. This book talks about clicker training and why it can be used to pinpoint…

By Karen Pryor,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Reaching the Animal Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the founder of “clicker” training, the widely praised humane approach to shaping animal behavior, comes a fascinating book—part memoir, part insight into how animals and people think and behave.

A celebrated pioneer in the field of no-punishment animal training,Karen Pryor is responsible for developing clicker training—an all-positive, safe, effective way to modify and shape animal behavior—and she has changed the lives of millions of animals. Practical, engrossing, and full of fascinating stories about Pryor’s interactions with animals of all sorts, Reaching the Animal Mind presents the sum total of her life’s work. She explains the science behind clicker training,…


Book cover of Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious

Valerie Tiberius Author Of What Do You Want Out of Life? A Philosophical Guide to Figuring Out What Matters

From my list on understanding what's really important.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I entered my fifties, I was very surprised to discover that I didn’t have my life all figured out. This was especially surprising since the nature of a good human life has been my research topic for decades. What I have learned, from philosophy and from my collaborations with psychologists, is that it’s always going to be a process. We have to figure out what matters and how to get it, we have to navigate value conflicts, and we have to accept that the answers will change as our circumstances change. The books I’ve recommended aren’t guides to life, but I think they’re great for understanding the process. 

Valerie's book list on understanding what's really important

Valerie Tiberius Why did Valerie love this book?

To achieve the things that matter to us, we have to know what they are.

We tend to think we know ourselves really well – certainly better than anyone else knows us. But in this book, psychologist Timothy Wilson presents fascinating evidence that we don’t know ourselves as well as we think we do.

In particular, we tend to rationalize our choices after the fact in ways that don’t actually reflect our deeper, emotional state.

This book opened my mind to the idea that we need to “look under the hood” to figure out what matters to us most. 

By Timothy D. Wilson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Strangers to Ourselves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Know thyself," a precept as old as Socrates, is still good advice. But is introspection the best path to self-knowledge? What are we trying to discover, anyway? In an eye-opening tour of the unconscious, as contemporary psychological science has redefined it, Timothy D. Wilson introduces us to a hidden mental world of judgments, feelings, and motives that introspection may never show us.

This is not your psychoanalyst's unconscious. The adaptive unconscious that empirical psychology has revealed, and that Wilson describes, is much more than a repository of primitive drives and conflict-ridden memories. It is a set of pervasive, sophisticated mental…


Book cover of Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals

Friederike Otto Author Of Angry Weather: Heat Waves, Floods, Storms, and the New Science of Climate Change

From my list on starting to think about the much abused idea of freedom.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a physicist who ended up doing their PhD in philosophy, because the “so what” question for me always was more interesting to answer than finding out how the physical world is changing. Working as a climate scientist I see how climate change and extreme weather devastate livelihoods on a daily basis. It makes me very aware I know nothing, but also that the philosophical and humanist ideas we build our societies upon are much more important to solve the climate crisis than physics and technology. One of the most important ones is to reclaim freedom and actually allow people to live good lives.

Friederike's book list on starting to think about the much abused idea of freedom

Friederike Otto Why did Friederike love this book?

Reading Straw Dogs made me not only appreciate my dog (& the cat) even more but realize a lot of the ideas of what I thought made me human are not that uniquely human.

I don’t think I agree with everything in the book, but exactly because of that it’s a great read and humbling in the face of how much we take freedom from the non-humans and other humans away.  

By John Gray,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Straw Dogs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A radical work of philosophy, which sets out to challenge our most cherished assumptions about what it means to be human. From Plato to Christianity, from the Enlightenment to Nietzsche and Marx, the Western tradition has been based on arrogant and erroneous beliefs about human beings and their place in the world. Philosophies such as liberalism and Marxism think of humankind as a species whose destiny is to transcend natural limits and conquer the Earth. Even in the present day, despite Darwin's discoveries, nearly all schools of thought take as their starting point the belief that humans are radically different…


Book cover of The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge

Mark Rowlands Author Of Philosopher and the Wolf: Lessons from the Wild on Love, Death, and Happiness

From my list on humans and other animals.

Why am I passionate about this?

The most important formative experiences of my life were contained in the years I spent living and traveling with Brenin, a wolfdog. I can safely say that just about every worthwhile idea I have had – I am a professor of philosophy and ideas are supposed to be my thing – stemmed from those years. I have written many books since Brenin died, all of them, in one way or another, concerned with the question of what it is to be human. I am convinced that we can only understand this if we begin with the idea that we are animals and work from there.

Mark's book list on humans and other animals

Mark Rowlands Why did Mark love this book?

Commonly thought to be about death, and our fear thereof, what I find most striking about this book is its piercing and utterly haunting analysis of the role of memories in making us who we are. The most important memories are the ones that are lost, and then return in a new form, deeply woven into our bodies, emotions, and feelings – as blood, as glance and gesture, as Rilke puts it. Rilke was a poet; this was his only excursion into the art form of the novel. So, the book falls apart after a while. But if anyone has written anything better than the first fifty pages or so, I am unacquainted with it.

By Rainer Maria Rilke, Burton Pike (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 1910, Rilke's "Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge" is one the first great modernist novels, the account of poet-aspirant Brigge in his exploration of poetic individuality and his reflections on the experience of time as death approaches. This new translation by Burton Pike is a reaction to overly stylized previous translations, and aims to capture not only the beauty but also the strangeness, the spirit, of Rilke's German.


Book cover of Being and Nothingness

Mark Rowlands Author Of Philosopher and the Wolf: Lessons from the Wild on Love, Death, and Happiness

From my list on humans and other animals.

Why am I passionate about this?

The most important formative experiences of my life were contained in the years I spent living and traveling with Brenin, a wolfdog. I can safely say that just about every worthwhile idea I have had – I am a professor of philosophy and ideas are supposed to be my thing – stemmed from those years. I have written many books since Brenin died, all of them, in one way or another, concerned with the question of what it is to be human. I am convinced that we can only understand this if we begin with the idea that we are animals and work from there.

Mark's book list on humans and other animals

Mark Rowlands Why did Mark love this book?

Sartre was not a good philosopher in the classical sense. He wasn’t great at constructing arguments. But what he was unquestionably great at was intuitions. He had them, and they were usually spot on, and as a result he was right about most things. In this large book, we find a sustained development of a single brilliant, intuition: anything you are aware of is not you. You are the awareness rather than anything you are aware of. You are nothingness. One implication of this helped me get through the second half of my first marathon. Experiential unpleasantness is a motive to stop, but not part of me, and it is up to me how I interpret it. My motives can never compel me. I am in this sense free.

By Jean-Paul Sartre,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Being and Nothingness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sartre explains the theory of existential psychoanalysis in this treatise on human reality


5 book lists we think you will like!

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