Reviews

  • A phenomenally important book. The story of why we humans evolved to become such a wonderfully cooperative, social species, and what that means for the world today. Nichola Raihani will change the way we think about ourselves.

    Lewis Dartnell, author of Origins: How the Earth Shaped Human History
  • Vibrant science about a topic that could not be more important: How did our superpower of cooperation evolve against the odds? This engaging book wears its strong scientific credentials lightly. I could not put it down.

    Uta Frith, Professor Emeritus of Cognitive Development, University College London
  • Cooperation is at the heart of our bodies, our societies and our ecosystem. Nichola Raihani's stunning book flips the selfish gene on its head, showing us not only how to better understand the world, but also how to change it.

    Matthew Cobb, author of The Idea of the Brain
  • In this captivating book, Nichola Raihani ... provides a compelling argument that cooperation is the secret of human success and yet has never been as crucial as it is now, during a global pandemic and with the threat of the climate crisis. I found this intriguing and beautifully written book hard to put down.

    Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, author of Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain
  • The Social Instinct is surprising, thoughtful and, best of all, endlessly entertaining, examining the puzzle and power of co-operation from the decks of the HMS Bounty to the babbling birds of the Kalahari. Absolutely loved it.

    Will Storr, author of The Science of Storytelling
  • This is a glorious book, with an insight on every page. Above all it taught me that while our individual bodies and brains might reward comparison with our primate relatives, in understanding our social relations we would be much better off comparing the meerkat. And the naked mole-rat. And the bower bird. And the cleaner-fish.

    Rory Sutherland, author of Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas that Don’t Make Sense
  • If you've ever wondered why people aren't as cooperative as they ought to be, you'll find the answer right here - mapped out in detail that is full of surprises at every page-turn.

    Robin Dunbar, Emeritus Professor of Evolutionary Psychology, University of Oxford
  • A fascinating exploration of the ties that bind us from our smallest cell to our grandest society. Raihani reveals the deep evolutionary roots of cooperation, drawing on her own extensive scholarship in an entertaining and insightful new look at the risks and rewards of collaborating.

    Gaia Vince, author of Transcendence and Adventures in the Anthropocene
  • A well informed, pithy, provocative overview of the evidence that cooperation is the key to success - for microbes and animals as well as for humans.

    Tim Clutton-Brock, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Cambridge
  • Raihani weaves a captivating tale through the tree of life, to show how our own societies are shaped by the same evolutionary games as other animals. A beautiful, compelling and unstoppable read... This book will change the way you view your own behaviour.

    Seirian Sumner, Professor of Behavioural Ecology, University College London

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