Behave by Robert Sapolsky tells you why learning about the biology of the human brain is as important as anything else. Robert tells you stories from his experience and briefly explains why you get angry or happy in the first place.
This was a fascinating read for me because it isn’t just another self-help book; rather, it’s a practical book with lots of stories that will teach you a lot about the human brain.
Once you know how your brain works, you will be able to understand yourself and other people better.
Let me first say thank you for reading this. This will be a weekly newsletter, hope you enjoy it. Now I will see you every Sunday at 9:00 AM (IST).
Robert Sapolsky says Amygdala and Frontal Cortex play an important part in our lives. When we get angry, we don’t just get angry, our thoughts and our past experience about certain things give us that feeling.
The author also tells you the story of a person who kills his mother, wife, and tons of other people because of the Amygdala, I will tell you this story in movement.
Behave is for sure a wonderful book that will teach you a lot about the human brain in a simple way, it’s not a complex book at all but it’s also not easy to read either.
You have to process all the information to get a clear idea.
That being said, let’s explore some of the learning from the book and my experience. So you can get a clear idea of whether you need to read this book or not.
Sometimes, when you buy the book and read a few chapters and you feel “I know what the author is talking about, why I’m reading this”. So this summary will give you some clear answers.
I’m keeping my promise, this is the mini-ebook of Behave by Robert Sapolsky. So download right now and read wherever you want for free. Happy Reading.
Biology Of the Human Brain
The human brain is more complex than what Robert has shared in his book.
So just keep in mind, this is just a brief explanation of the human brain. For more, you have to read some boring book that gives you all the data.
Robert talks about two things which are;
- Frontal Cortex
First, let’s talk about the Amygdala.
Let me share with you the story of Charles Whitman who killed his Wife and Mother with knives, then went to the University of Texas at Austin and began indiscriminately shooting at people.
Charles wasn’t a criminal, he was a normal person like us but he used to get angry very quickly, he even shared this with his wife and mother.
This went on for months and one day, he got too angry and killed his wife and mother in their house with kitchen knives.
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He didn’t stop there, after that he took multiple firearms and killed more people.
No one knew what happened there because Charles was a good person.
So when he died a few doctors checked his brain and turned out that there was big pressure on his Amygdala because of this, he was getting too angry without any reason.
If he went to see a doctor earlier then things could have been different.
This means the Amygdala is very important. If you’re angry right now then it’s because of the Amygdala, it’s also because of the memory you have about certain things.
The amygdala is also accountable for fear, anger, stress, and even Emotional Responses.
You can search more on the Amygdala and you will come to know why this is a key component in the human brain.
Now, talking about the Frontal Cortex.
Have you ever heard of a person who hit his head somewhere and lost his memory? This happens because of the Frontal Cortex.
The frontal Cortex is responsible for our past memories, all the movies we have watched, our childhood memories, the first time we had sex, the first time we showed p*rn, and everything else.
So if the frontal Cortex gets damaged then you will also lose all of your memory.
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The frontal Cortex is also responsible for Attention, Concentration, Language Processing, Memory, Self-Awareness, Impulse, Problem-Solving, and Creativity.
That’s it, this is what Robert Sapolsky shared in his book and now, let’s talk about the self-help stuff in a simple way as Robert did in the book.
Difference of Culture
Culture plays a huge part in our lives, if you’re from India then your feelings and experiences will differ compared to the United States.
Your ability to make decisions and your relationship with your wife or even your parents will be different.
This is what Robert trying to say in his book,
He simply says, even everyone on the earth has the same brain design but the core is different because of the culture they live in. The genetics, experiences, and environment will be different for each person.
So don’t blame yourself for everything, you can’t control every aspect of your life because things around you will affect the way you live and the way you’re thinking at this moment.
Core of Stress
Stress is a big problem in today’s world and the fact is, this can be fixed very easily if you identify the core problem behind it.
Stress hormones will give you lots of things in return like increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and redirecting blood flow to the muscles, preparing the body to confront or escape from a perceived threat.
These are just a few things, stress is bigger than you think.
The authors give you simple exercises that will help you to overcome your stress.
- Time Management,
- Limit Screen Time,
- Positive Self-Talk,
- Outdoor Activities,
- Spend time with your loved ones, and
- Get Good Sleep
These are too basic but it works big time if you do it every day. So don’t say like, this is too basic and it won’t work.
Just try for a few days and see whether it helps or not.
This is out of the box but you can read my Dopamine Detox article. I tried that for 7 days and it worked out well for me.
Read that and I’m sure you will get some motivation for sure.
- There is nothing more powerful than your brain and from now, start learning about it and see how it works.
- Stress is a huge problem and you should never ignore it, so face it and solve it because you can.
- Our Culture plays a huge part in our lives, so don’t blame yourself for everything because sometimes, you can’t control everything.
- Habits can make or break your life, so choose what you see and hear.
- Understand your emotions better and question everything because this is what makes us human.
“Pain makes aggressive people more aggressive while doing the opposite to unaggressive individuals.”
“Words have power. They can save, cure, uplift, devastate, deflate, and kill. And unconscious priming with words influences pro- and antisocial behaviors.”
“The childhood capacity for empathy progresses from feeling someone’s pain because you are them, to feeling for the other person, to feeling as them.”
“A chicken is an egg’s way of making another egg”
“If people around you smell scared, your brain tilts toward concluding that you are too.”
“What was an unexpected pleasure yesterday is what we feel entitled to today, and what won’t be enough tomorrow.”
“If you pay lots of attention to where boundaries are, you pay less attention to complete pictures.”
Behave by Robert Sapolsky is a fantastic read, it will teach you a lot about your brain along with why you behave the way you behave in day-to-day life. By the end of the book, you will for sure understand your brain and body better than before.
Go read, Robert did change the way I see myself and my problems and I’m sure he will do the same for you.
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