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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Humans now live longer and better than ever before, and we are the most populous big animal on earth. Meanwhile, our closest living relatives, the now-endangered chimpanzees, continue to live as they have for millions of years. We are not like the other animals, yet we evolved through the same process. What are we, then? And now we have remade the world, what are we becoming?

Setting out to answer this question, Gaia Vince tells a remarkable evolution story about us. Unlike any other species on earth, we determine the course of our own destiny, a fact that Vince argues rests on a special relationship between our genes, environment and culture. Exploring cutting-edge advances in population genetics, archaeology, palaeontology, psychology and more that fundamentally change our understanding of how we developed as a species, Transcendence compels us to reimagine our ancestors. To think of us as a sort of smarter chimp with cool tools is to miss what is truly extraordinary about us and the way we operate on this planet. Look around you: we are the intelligent designers of all you see - including ourselves.

©2019 Gaia Vince (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Vital is [Gaia Vince's] narration: enthusiastic and lucid." (The Times)

  

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    5 out of 5 stars

As Good as Sapiens

loved it! Delivers the same story of human origin as Harari's wonderful sapiens, but told from a different perspective.

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  • J
  • 13-08-2020

Solid division of human evolution.

A good listen with a good format, progression and division of human evolution. Well read and delivered. Definitely a few opinions I disagreed with and a couple of things that, if independently researched, are shown to not be strictly true but then that’s what makes it a good book and the inspired nuanced debate is what we all need.

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  • Keith
  • 31-07-2020

Wonderful

Gaia has written a beautiful book that in my view takes the next step from Dawkins in The Selfish Gene and Harari in Sapiens. She explores what she calls our cultural levers, units of cultural evolution that has moved humans forward. For example, tools in the Stone Age or the capability to teach a person maths in the modern age.

Loved it. She reads it very well too, hugely, infectiously interested in the story.

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  • Jimi B
  • 04-03-2020

An interesting listen read wonderfully

The content of this book is fascinating, but what really makes the experience with which the author reads her work. Her joy and excitement is palpable and truly makes it feel like you're experiencing a passion project laid bare. I can't recommend this book enough.

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  • Homohereticalis
  • 13-02-2020

A refreshing take on human evolution

I came across Gaia Vince on a podcast and found her to be a particularly compelling academic. However, I have read so many books on human evolution and worried that i might be bored with this one but I couldn't have been more wrong! This really is a refreshing and new perspective on human evolution and I was gripped. Well worth a listen for any history geeks out there!

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  • Cyberbilge
  • 03-03-2021

interesting points, uninteresting delivery

Felt like there was conflicts in some of the arguements presented that were never acknowledged. Not the best narration. It wasn't grating, just not very engaging.

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  • Kieran Rons
  • 10-01-2021

excellent book. real brain food!

a fantastic look at so many subjects pertinent to human development and society. Fascinating, relevant and useful!

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  • The Coypu
  • 10-01-2020

Wonderful

I’ve read about anthropology, sociology and ethnology before but realised it had always been authored by men. This feels like a completely fresh approach - the world seen through the eyes of a mother. Gaia Vince’s tone is deeply moving and inspiring. As well as really the thorough research and the brilliant, memorable anecdotes, her tone really haunted me. Her kindness and optimism is touching. I felt like this would make for a great book at bedtime... and I think it should be a compulsory read for teenagers. I would highly recommend this book and the audio version is great - Gaia Vince has such a beautiful voice!

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