10 books like The Soul of the Ape & My Friends the Baboons

By Eugene Marais,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Soul of the Ape & My Friends the Baboons. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Hero with a Thousand Faces

By Joseph Campbell,

Book cover of The Hero with a Thousand Faces

I have to include this book because, just as it was for the original Star Wars film, it was a direct inspiration for my first novel. To be a good writer, you have to be aware of the existing patterns and how it relates to the collective unconscious. And Joseph Campbell dedicated his life to understanding the impact of storytelling and mythology and how it relates to the growth of civilization. If you’ve never read this book, it may just blow your mind. It is a bit long though, so you may want to find an audiobook version.

The Hero with a Thousand Faces

By Joseph Campbell,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Hero with a Thousand Faces as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Joseph Campbell's classic cross-cultural study of the hero's journey has inspired millions and opened up new areas of research and exploration. Originally published in 1949, the book hit the New York Times best-seller list in 1988 when it became the subject of The Power of Myth, a PBS television special. The first popular work to combine the spiritual and psychological insights of modern psychoanalysis with the archetypes of world mythology, the book creates a roadmap for navigating the frustrating path of contemporary life. Examining heroic myths in the light of modern psychology, it considers not only the patterns and stages…


The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

By Julian Jaynes,

Book cover of The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

Despite the rather off-putting title, I found this book really interesting. Written by a specialist psychologist, it presented a new theory about the way human thinking has developed from the earliest beginnings. I was particularly interested in his concept that ancient man ‘heard the voice of god’ inside his mind, but as ‘primitive’ humans became more individualised, the gods were heard less often, until they could no longer be heard at all. This resonates with the myths that in a Golden Age humankind ‘walked with God’ but as aeons passed, the gods retreated. At this juncture, people started to construct images of their gods and divination appeared as a way to contact ‘the divine’. But that is a tiny part of this thought-provoking work.

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

By Julian Jaynes,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the heart of this classic, seminal book is Julian Jaynes's still-controversial thesis that human consciousness did not begin far back in animal evolution but instead is a learned process that came about only three thousand years ago and is still developing. The implications of this revolutionary scientific paradigm extend into virtually every aspect of our psychology, our history and culture, our religion -- and indeed our future.


Problems of the Future and Essays

By Samuel Laing,

Book cover of Problems of the Future and Essays

Published 1893, Laing considers all kinds of searching questions relating to astronomy, geology, spiritualism, poetry, taxation, finance, and much more. Clearly a possessor of a powerful intelligence, Laing endeavors to make sense of the universe and human life with the limited information he had at his disposal, compared to what we know today. How does the sun burn, he asks? Is it made from coal? A notion he dismisses with rational precision. Later, he considers the arms race from his nineteenth century viewpoint and uncannily predicts a “Great War” that will engulf most of Europe, with “Constantinople” being the likely catalyst of “the blood-rain deluges of the greatest war the world has ever seen”.

Problems of the Future and Essays

By Samuel Laing,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Problems of the Future and Essays as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.


Oxford Companion to World Mythology

By David Leeming,

Book cover of Oxford Companion to World Mythology

The Oxford Companion is an encyclopedia, not a narrative, but I love that it includes stories from the Bible, the Quran, and other sacred texts alongside fantastical legends that span the globe. The line between myth and religion is, after all, largely subjective. King David, the nymph Daphne, and the Dayak myths of Borneo all share the same page. For those of us seeking inspiration in myth, the Oxford Companion offers ideas from Abraham to Ziusudra.

Oxford Companion to World Mythology

By David Leeming,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Oxford Companion to World Mythology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cave paintings at Lascaux, France and Altamira, Spain, fraught with expression thousands of years later; point to an early human desire to form a cultural identity. In The Oxford Companion to World Mythology, David Leeming explores the role of mythology, or myth-logic, in history and determines that the dreams of specific cultures add up to a larger collective story of humanity. Stopping short of attempting to be all-inclusive, this fascinating volume will
nonetheless be comprehensive, opening with an introduction exploring the nature and dimensions of myth and proposing a definition as a universal language. Briefly dipping into the ways our…


A Primate's Memoir

By Robert M. Sapolsky,

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

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.

A Primate's Memoir

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…


Giraffes Can't Dance

By Giles Andreae, Guy Parker-Rees (illustrator),

Book cover of Giraffes Can't Dance

"Gerald was a tall giraffe
Whose neck was long and slim
But his knees were awfully bandy
And his legs were rather thin."

It is Gerald’s story but in fact, my favourite spread is the one which shows (brilliant artwork here) the other animal dancers

"The wart hogs started waltzing
And the rhinos rock ‘n’ rolled
The lions danced a tango
Which was elegant and bolded
The chimps all did a cha-cha
With a very Latin feel
And eight baboons then teamed up for a splendid Scottish reel."

And of course in the end Gerald astonishes them all having had some advice on rhythm from a friendly cricket.

I recommend this book not only for its rhythm and rhyme but for its implication that if you try hard you can do more than you think. Also for its lovely flowing illustrations.

Giraffes Can't Dance

By Giles Andreae, Guy Parker-Rees (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Giraffes Can't Dance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gerald was a tall giraffe whose neck was long and slim,
But his knees were awfully bandy and his legs were rather thin . . .

Gerald the giraffe longs to go to the great Jungle Dance, but how can he join in when he doesn't know how to tango or two-step? Everyone knows that giraffes can't dance . . . or can they?

A funny, touching and triumphant story about being yourself and finding your own tune, with joyful illustrations from Guy Parker Rees. This chunky board book edition is perfect for little hands.

"All toddlers should grow up…


Ultrasociety

By Peter Turchin,

Book cover of Ultrasociety: How 10,000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators on Earth

Turchin’s book is one of the best sources I found for understanding the development of human social power during the past 11,000 years. As he succinctly puts it, “competition within groups destroys cooperation; cooperation between groups creates cooperation.” Societies grew bigger to compete more successfully for resources, but doing so required that they become more internally cooperative. Necessity was the mother of social innovation, and the result was kingdoms, then empires. Turchin is one of the foremost proponents of group (or multi-level) selection, still a controversial idea in biology, but, in my view, an essential frame for understanding human evolution.

Ultrasociety

By Peter Turchin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Cooperation is powerful. There aren’t many highly cooperative species—but they nearly cover the planet. Ants alone account for a quarter of all animal matter. Yet the human capacity to work together leaves every other species standing. We organize ourselves into communities of hundreds of millions of individuals, inhabit every continent, and send people into space. Human beings are nature’s greatest team players. And the truly astounding thing is, we only started our steep climb to the top of the rankings—overtaking wasps, bees, termites and ants—in the last 10,000 years. Genetic evolution can’t explain this anomaly. Something else is going on.…


The Third Reel

By S. J. Naudé,

Book cover of The Third Reel

The ex-pat novel has become something of a South African genre, what with many young people searching for new opportunities overseas, in flight from the old repressive racist regime or, latterly, the corrupt, inefficient new regime. In his debut collection of short stories, The Alphabet of Birds, Naudé referred to "the diaspora of fearful, grim, white children from South Africa," and this novel is another variation on that theme. It’s easy to fall into stereotype and cliché, and part of Naudé’s achievement is to remake the familiar scenario into something wholly original, in an account of his main character’s search for the missing reel of a film made by a Jewish filmmaker in Hitler’s Germany.

The novel contains vivid accounts of life in a ‘squat’ in London, as well as the grim atmosphere of an East German film school under Russian occupation – contrasting with the hedonistic excess of…

The Third Reel

By S. J. Naudé,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Scott Pack: Books of the Year 2018

Shortlisted for The Sunday Times Literary Awards (South Africa)

Twenty-two-year-old Etienne is studying film in London, having fled conscription in his native South Africa. It is 1986, the time of Thatcher, anti-apartheid campaigns and Aids, but also of postmodern art, post-punk rock, and the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. Adrift in a city cast in shadow, he falls in love with a German artist while living in derelict artists' communes.

When Etienne finds the first of three reels of a German film from the 1930s, he begins searching for the missing reels, a project that…


Recipes for Love and Murder

By Sally Andrew,

Book cover of Recipes for Love and Murder

Having travelled in Africa, I’m always keen to find books set on the continent. It’s a bonus if suspense is involved and a double bonus if the story hinges on the setting. This book gets high marks in both departments. It was a better immersive experience than if I’d rented an Airbnb and watched the action unfold from the front porch.

Rural South Africa is home to advice columnist and cooking authority Tannie Maria (Tannie meaning Auntie, the respectful Afrikaans address for a woman older than you) in the first book in this unique and extraordinary series. A middle-aged widow, she offers advice and recipes to the lovelorn and others who write the local newspaper.

One letter-writer is a woman desperate to escape her abusive husband: an echo of Tannie Maria’s own fraught past. When the woman is murdered, Tannie Maria becomes dangerously entwined in the investigation, despite the best…

Recipes for Love and Murder

By Sally Andrew,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Recipes for Love and Murder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Vivid, amusing and immensely enjoyable . . . A triumph' Alexander McCall Smith

Meet Tannie Maria: the loveable writer of recipes in her local paper, the Klein Karoo Gazette.

One Sunday morning, as Maria stirs apricot jam, she hears her editor Harriet on the stoep. What Maria doesn't realise is that Harriet is about to deliver a whole basketful of challenges and the first ingredient in two new recipes - recipes for love and murder.

A delicious blend of intrigue, milk tart and friendship, join Tannie Maria in her first investigation. Consider your appetite whetted for a whole new series…


Synchrodestiny

By Deepak Chopra,

Book cover of Synchrodestiny : Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence to Create Miracles

Deepak Chopra gives us a lovingly personal and spiritual perspective of synchronicity. On the practical side, it offers a variety of exercises to help the reader discover the power of synchronicity in his or her own life. In essence, however, it is simply about noticing the organizing intelligence seen through synchronistic events and inviting it into your life. In Chopra’s own words, “You don’t have to assign a specific meaning or interpretation to the coincidences, just … gently appreciate the cosmic coordination of your life with everything else.” This is a book that has changed the lives of its readers.

Synchrodestiny

By Deepak Chopra,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Dr Deepak Chopra, the bestselling pioneer in mind/body medicine, shows how coincidences are messages about the miraculous potential of each moment. He reveals how, through understanding the forces that shape coincidences, you can learn to live at a deeper level and access the flow of synchronicity that lies at the heart of existence. You can start to transform your life through full-contact living, in which all things will be within your reach.

Discover:
- That there's no such thing as a meaningless coincidence
- The seven principles of synchrodestiny
- Practical techniques for applying those principles

The seeds of a…


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