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

By Eugene Marais,

Here are 24 books that The Soul of the Ape & My Friends the Baboons fans have personally recommended if you like The Soul of the Ape & My Friends the Baboons. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Robert B. Marks Author Of Re: Apotheosis

From my list on writing for new (and even established) fiction writers.

Who am I?

Writing is in my blood – my grandmother wrote poetry, my mother writes novels, and over the last twenty-plus years I’ve written just about everything (and now I teach writing at my local university). I’ve loved stories for as long as I can remember. While my fiction career may be newly revived, I spent over 20 years as a pop culture commentator, poking at the minutia of the stories I love. I think stories may be one of the most important things in our culture – they inspire us, they brighten our day, they bring us to tears, and sometimes when we are lost they show us the way.

Robert's book list on writing for new (and even established) fiction writers

Robert B. Marks Why did Robert love this book?

This will be one of my more controversial picks – there are plenty of people who disagree with Campbell as a folklorist, a mythographer, and with his depiction of the Hero’s Journey. But, what is important about Campbell is his exploration of why the elements that appear in stories have the impact they do on our psyche, and how they fit together. One may not agree with all of Campbell’s conclusions, but I don’t think there’s a writer out there who won’t benefit from his exploration of the subject. I know I did.

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…


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

Chad LeJeune Author Of "Pure O" OCD: Letting Go of Obsessive Thoughts with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

From my list on thoughts, and our relationship with them.

Who am I?

As a clinical psychologist, I listen to thoughts all the time. I’m also having my own, constantly. We rely on our thoughts to help us navigate the world. However, our thoughts can also be a source of suffering. At times, they're not such reliable guides or helpers. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a way of thinking about thinking. ACT captured my imagination early in my clinical career. I trained with ACT’s originator, Steven Hayes, in the early 1990’s. I’ve come to believe that being more aware of our own thoughts, and our relationship to them is key to creating positive change and living a life grounded in our values.

Chad's book list on thoughts, and our relationship with them

Chad LeJeune Why did Chad love this book?

Julian Jaynes was a researcher and teacher whose whole career focused on describing and understanding human consciousness. 

This strange, enchanting book looks at consciousness as an “operation” (like mathematics) rather than a thing. It examines how consciousness constructs an internal “space” in our heads that is an analog for the external world. In this space, we manipulate thoughts and ideas in much the same way we manipulate objects in the material world. 

This is a foundational text that calls into question our most basic assumptions about how we experience the realm of thought.

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.


Book cover of Problems of the Future and Essays

Simon Clark Author Of Vampyrrhic

From my list on the development of the human mind.

Who am I?

My father, a history teacher, often pointed out battlefields and scenes of historical importance when I was a child: so an ordinary-looking countryside became the place where knights in armor clashed, or where Viking longboats glided along a river. I grew up habitually overlying vivid scenes from the past on modern landscapes, all of which inspired me to write novels, including The Night of the Triffids, Blood Crazy, and Darkness Demands. Much of my fiction reflects my interest in the evolution of the human mind and how our minds are molded by the world we live in, hence my choice of the five books that I do wholeheartedly recommend for the eager adventurer in thought.

Simon's book list on the development of the human mind

Simon Clark Why did Simon love this book?

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”.

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.


Book cover of Oxford Companion to World Mythology

Jordanna Max Brodsky Author Of The Wolf in the Whale

From my list on mythology books beyond the Greeks.

Who am I?

Jordanna Max Brodsky is the author of the Olympus Bound trilogy, which follows the Greek goddess Artemis as she stalks the streets of modern Manhattan, and The Wolf in the Whale, a sweeping epic of the Norse and Inuit. Jordanna holds a degree in History and Literature from Harvard University, but she maintains that scholarship is no substitute for lived experience. Her research has taken her from the summit of Mount Olympus to the frozen tundra of Nunavut, and from the Viking ruins of Norway to Artemis’s temples in Turkey.

Jordanna's book list on mythology books beyond the Greeks

Jordanna Max Brodsky Why did Jordanna love this book?

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.

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…


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.

Who am I?

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 Dog Hunters Illustrated: The Adventures of Llewelyn & Gelert Book One

Gail Notestine Author Of The Seven Foot Long Dog

From my list on Irish Wolfhounds as the main character.

Who am I?

I am a Wolfhound parent and the author of books about this majestic breed. I have studied everything I could find about the Wolfhound since I first lost my heart to one many years ago, meeting breeders and owners alike to learn everything I could about their temperament and health. I have attended many dog shows and symposiums to further my knowledge of my breed. Having shared my life with this dog, unlike any other, I devour books written by other Wolfhound owners. 

Gail's book list on Irish Wolfhounds as the main character

Gail Notestine Why did Gail love this book?

A wonderful retelling of the legend of Gelert the Wolfhound.

This story of bravery and loyalty, starring the world's largest dog breed, takes the reader on an adventure of tremendous magnitude. I fell in love with the illustrations, I laughed at the jokes. I adored the book. This is one you will keep in your library for rereading.

By David Bell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Pustulent, filth and fart filled adventure told on an epic, dog infested scale. The epic retelling of the legend of Gelert the Wolfhound, now fully illustrated by the author with over 230 wrist manglingly detailed drawings. While Welshmen die fighting English invaders, Prince Llewelyn is forced to study Plato. But then a mighty Chinese war fleet arrives, offering to annihilate Wales’s hated enemy. Their price? Llewelyn’s oldest friend, the mighty wolfhound, Gelert. Boy and dog are stolen in the night and dragged across storm tossed oceans and scorpion-infested deserts in a nightmare journey involving flying dogs, berserk baboons, and thousand-year-old…


Book cover of Giraffes Can't Dance

Simon Mills Author Of The Secret of Scrufflewood Wood

From my list on children’s stories written in rhyme.

Who am I?

I have written poetry since I was a little boy. Rhyme came naturally to me, and I found it to be a world to escape to. This led me to songwriting and touring in bands, and it grew into my vocation as a jingle writer in Australia. Eventually, I wrote the jingle that won the World’s Best Jingle award in Hollywood, and this, in part, inspired me to move to New York City from Australia. The other driving force was getting my first book, How To Steal From Banks—an autobiography—published in America. Writing and rhyming are deeply embedded in my soul and cells. 

Simon's book list on children’s stories written in rhyme

Simon Mills Why did Simon love this book?

I found this wonderful book later in life. Actually, I literally found it lying on the street—probably dropped from a stroller.

The rhyming is so beautifully supported by the illustrations of dancing animals that it overwhelmingly makes it a compelling page-turner. Giraffes Can’t Dance immediately connects me to my inner child, and he can dance like a monkey.

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

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Giraffes Can't Dance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 2, 3, 4, and 5.

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…


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

Richard Heinberg Author Of Power: Limits and Prospects for Human Survival

From my list on understanding power.

Who am I?

I’m a systems thinker (Senior Fellow at an environmental think tank, author of 14 books and hundreds of essays) who’s addicted to trying to understand the world. After a few decades, the following is my state of understanding. Power is everywhere and determines everything in our lives. Whether due to the physical power of energy channeled through technology, or the social power of organizations and money, we’re enabled or disabled daily. During the last century, fossil-fueled humanity has overpowered planetary systems, as evidenced by climate change, species extinctions, and resource depletion. Few think critically about power. Unless we start doing so, we may be inviting the ultimate disempowerment—extinction.

Richard's book list on understanding power

Richard Heinberg Why did Richard love this book?

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.

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.…


Book cover of The Third Reel

Michiel Heyns Author Of A Poor Season for Whales

From my list on by Africans that don’t have much to say about Africa.

Who am I?

As an African author, I find that my books end up on the ‘African fiction’ shelf in the bookstore, which can be a disadvantage if my novel is, say, about Henry James or the Trojan War, both of which I've written novels about. As a lecturer in English literature, I've become acquainted with a vast and varied array of literature. So, whereas of course there are many wonderful African novels that deal with specifically African themes, I think the label African novel can be constricting and commercially disadvantageous. Many African novelists see themselves as part of a larger community, and their novels reflect that perspective, even though they are nominally set in Africa.

Michiel's book list on by Africans that don’t have much to say about Africa

Michiel Heyns Why did Michiel love this book?

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…

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…


Book cover of Recipes for Love and Murder

Carmen Amato Author Of Cliff Diver

From my list on thrillers set in exotic locations.

Who am I?

I’ve turned lessons from a 30-year career with the Central Intelligence Agency into crime fiction loaded with intrigue and deception. My Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series pits the first female police detective in Acapulco against Mexico's drug cartels, government corruption, and social inequality. Readers will love Detective Cruz’s complex plots, fast action, and exotic location. I’m originally from upstate New York, the setting for the upcoming Galliano Club thriller series. My family tree includes a mayor, a Mensa genius, and the first homicide in the state of Connecticut with an automatic weapon. After killing two people, including his wife, my great-grandfather eluded a state-wide manhunt. He was never brought to justice.

Carmen's book list on thrillers set in exotic locations

Carmen Amato Why did Carmen love this book?

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…

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…


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