BEHAVE, The Biology of Humans At our Best & Worst | Robert Sapolsky, Penguin Books, 790p What drives or causes us to do what we do? Sapolsky works backward from this moment: seconds ago, the neurons that fired, the sleep we got, all the way back to childhood, gestation, DNA, and the external factors shaping our experience. It is a thorough deconstruction of what makes us tick. However, in the end, Sapolsky succumbs to strict determinism - that everything we do is predetermined by what went before and that which shaped us. It’s the position one expects from a toddler who cannot accept responsibility. If we are all at the mercy of our amygdala, there is little reason for battles of self-control, discipline, belief, or striving for better. Sapolsky does argue that our DNA is not inherently altruistic or selfish but instead programmed to respond or default to those poles in particular circumstances, but that experience shapes us equally. In his view, we are dynamically adjusting to our inputs based upon our code and reacting thus. He proposes ten ways to reduce violence among humans - all interesting - but none based upon scientific evidence. He blames agriculture for the rise of violence in our history. Aside from the quirky conclusions and tangential jots, this tome takes it; it is a riveting and provoking collection.