BookBrowse Reviews Us and Them by David Berreby

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Us and Them

Understanding Your Tribal Mind

by David Berreby

Us and Them by David Berreby X
Us and Them by David Berreby
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2005, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2008, 396 pages

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What makes people willing to die, or to kill, for a religion, nation, race, or caste?
A provocative investigation of the tribal mindset.' Non-Fiction.

From the book jacket: There are so many ways to sort people. We all do it, all the time. From everyday decisions (whom to invite to dinner?) to life choices (whom to marry?) to the great turning points of history (whom to war against?), we're guided by an ever-present sense, in any situation, of who belongs with whom, and what that belonging means. Everyone is part of many groups at once, of course - you might be a woman, a parent, a Republican, an American, and a Hindu. So, how do we decide which identities matter? Why do they matter so much? What makes people willing to die, or to kill, for a religion, nation, race, or caste?

We can't live without our tribal sense. It tells us who we are and how we should behave. It frees us from the narrow confines of the self, linking us to others and the past and the future. Some condemn this instinct, as if it were only a source of evil. Others celebrate it, as if loyalty and faith were never misused. David Berreby brilliantly describes a third alternative: how we can accept and understand our inescapable tribal mind.

Comment: Even if you don't think that Us And Them sounds like a book for you, I encourage you to browse a few pages of the extensive excerpt at BookBrowse.  Best case you'll find yourself hooked, just as I did; worst case, you'll store away interesting nuggets of information to throw into the conversation the next time the topic turns to what makes people act the way they do - which, when you get down to it, is at the root of most conversations!

"A provocative investigation of the tribal mindset.'' - Kirkus Reviews.

This review is from the November 9, 2005 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

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