Robert M. Sapolsky biography

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Robert M. Sapolsky
Photo: Robert M. Sapolsky

Robert M. Sapolsky

Robert M. Sapolsky Biography

Robert M. Sapolsky is a professor of biology, neuroscience, and neurosurgery at Stanford University, researcher and author. He has authored several works of nonfiction, including A Primate's Memoir, The Trouble with Testosterone, and Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers. He is a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation genius grant. In addition, he is a Research Associate at the National Museums of Kenya. He lives in San Francisco.



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Interview

Robert Sapolsky discusses A Primate's Memoir, Africa, and the primates he observed and studied.

In the book you touch on some of the cultural and societal changes you have witnessed in your over twenty years of summers in Africa. What aspect of bush life has changed the most during the years you've spent there? What the least?
I am taking "bush life" to mean Masai life, rather than that of the more westernized, agricultural tribes. Probably most broadly, there has been one big shift; when I got there, ambition, hope for one's kids, goals were built around being a more successful Masai -- figuring out a way to have more cows, more wives, more children. And what has shifted is that ambition now takes the form of wanting outside things: a watch, a pair of pants, a cassette player or even of wanting to be someone else (without having much of a sense of what anyone else's life is like). The Masai have realized that they are not the center of the universe, and thus not even of the Masai universe. In terms of what has changed the least, I keep thinking of the phrase, "Despite the new goals, the Masai still go about trying to achieve them with the same Masai rules and values." But I'm having trouble sorting out what exactly I mean by that.

The stories you relate reach back to your very first ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Robert M. Sapolsky at BookBrowse
Behave jacket Monkeyluv jacket A Primate's Memoir jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Robert M. Sapolsky but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Russell Banks

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    Mr. Banks (who was the first in his... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    A Primate's Memoir

    Try:
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  • Marla Cone

    Marla Cone

    Marla Cone is one of the nation's premier environmental journalists. She has nineteen years of experience covering environmental issues, including fifteen years at the Los Angeles Times. She is the author of Silent ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    A Primate's Memoir

    Try:
    Silent Snow
    by Marla Cone

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Book Discussion
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