The Science of Life Without Free Will


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One of the world’s greatest scientists of human behaviour, the bestselling author of Behave, shows that free will does not exist - and sets out the disturbing yet liberating implications of accepting this fact.

What if free will is an illusion? As Robert Sapolsky shows in this masterful account of the science of human behaviour, everything we think and do is caused by the luck of our biology and the influence of our environment, and ultimately both are beyond our control. In a world without free will, we must completely rethink what we mean by choice, responsibility, morality and justice. Sapolsky’s extraordinary book does exactly this, guiding us toward a profoundly fairer, more humane way of living together.

‘A joy to read. It's impossible to recommend this book too highly. Reading it could change your life’ LAURENCE REES

‘Outstanding for its breadth of research, the liveliness of the writing and the depth of humanity it conveys’ Wall Street Journal

‘Moving, absorbing, compassionate' OLIVER BURKEMAN, Observer

©2023 Robert M Sapolsky (P)2023 Penguin Audio


  • A bravura performance, well worth reading for the pleasure of Sapolsky’s deeply informed company … he makes a moving case that [our lack of freedom is] a reason to live with profound forgiveness and understanding … absorbing and compassionate
    Oliver Burkeman, Observer

About the author

Robert M Sapolsky

Robert M. Sapolsky is a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation 'Genius Grant'. His previous books includes the international bestseller Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst, The Trouble with Testosterone, Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers and A Primate's Memoir.
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