Suzana Herculano-Houzel's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Suzana Herculano-Houzel recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Suzana Herculano-Houzel's favorite book recommendations of all time.

Humans are a puzzling species. On the one hand, we struggle to survive on our own in the wild, often unable to solve basic problems, like obtaining food, building shelters, or avoiding predators. On the other hand, human groups have produced innovative technologies, sophisticated languages, and complex institutions that have permitted us to successfully expand into environments across the globe. What has enabled us to dominate such a vast range of environments, more than any other species? As this book shows, the secret of our success lies not in our innate intelligence, but in our collective... more
Recommended by Suzana Herculano-Houzel, and 1 others.

Suzana Herculano-HouzelWe’ve come well past the point where a single person could hold all the cultural knowledge of the species. (Source)

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The Story of the Human Body

Evolution, Health, and Disease

A landmark book of popular science—a lucid, engaging account of how the human body evolved over millions of years and of how the increasing disparity between the jumble of adaptations in our Stone Age bodies and the modern world is fueling the paradox of greater longevity but more chronic disease. 
In a book that illuminates, as never before, the evolutionary story of the human body, Daniel Lieberman deftly examines the major transformations that contributed key adaptations to the body: the advent of bipedalism; the shift to a non-fruit-based diet; the rise of...
Recommended by Suzana Herculano-Houzel, and 1 others.

Suzana Herculano-HouzelDan Lieberman puts the brain into the context of the body as a whole. (Source)

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Neste livro, o antropólogo biológico americano, Richard Wrangham, redesenha completamente nossa compreensão sobre nós mesmos. Para ele, ao contrário do que se pensa desde Darwin, passamos a cozinhar antes de nos tornarmos humanos, e nos tornamos homens justamente porque passamos a cozinhar os alimentos.

Essa "hipótese do cozimento" afirma que um antepassado imediato do Homo sapiens, o Homo erectus, dominou o fogo e o cozimento há cerca de 1,8 milhões de anos, permitindo que tivéssemos acesso tanto a nutrientes quanto a hábitos que nos mudariam para sempre.

Este não é...

Suzana Herculano-HouzelEssentially what Richard proposes is that the turning point in human evolutionary history was the invention of cooking. (Source)

Steven RaichlenPeople have deep emotions about grilling. The act of lighting a fire and creating a barbecue seems to bring a sense of comfort, satisfaction and community that you just don’t get with other cooking methods. Why? There is the pleasure of sitting around a fire, the incredible aromas and flavours you get with cooking over fire and then there’s the long human history of open-fire cooking. (Source)

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The publication of this book is an event in the making. All over the world scientists, psychologists, and philosophers are waiting to read Antonio Damasio's new theory of the nature of consciousness and the construction of the self. A renowned and revered scientist and clinician, Damasio has spent decades following amnesiacs down hospital corridors, waiting for comatose patients to awaken, and devising ingenious research using PET scans to piece together the great puzzle of consciousness. In his bestselling Descartes' Error, Damasio revealed the critical importance of emotion in the making of... more

Carol GilliganDamasio distinguishes between a core sense of self, grounded in the body and in emotions, and the autobiographical self. (Source)

Suzana Herculano-HouzelThis book was really ground breaking and a real turning point for neuroscience. (Source)

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We know that each of us is unique, but science has struggled to pinpoint where, precisely, our uniqueness resides. Is it in our genes? The structure of our brains? Our genome may determine our eye color and even aspects of our personality. But our friendships, failures, and passions also shape who we are. The question is: how?Sebastian Seung, a dynamic professor at MIT, is on a quest to discover the biological basis of identity. He believes it lies in the pattern of connections between the brain’s neurons, which change slowly over time as we learn and grow. The connectome, as it’s called, is... more
Recommended by Suzana Herculano-Houzel, and 1 others.

Suzana Herculano-HouzelThis self-organisation of the brain defines its own connectivity pattern and actually defines the system. (Source)

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