Journal of Bioeconomics

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 331–334 | Cite as

Joseph Henrich’s: The secret of our success—how culture is driving human evolution, domesticating our species, and making us smarter

Princeton University Press, Princeton & Oxford, 2016, 464 pp, $ 19.95, Paperback
  • Joshua Henkel
Book Review

In his book “The Secret of our Success”, anthropologist Joseph Henrich, who is a professor in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard, shares his thoughts about how the human species–a physically weak, slow and (despite of an oversized brain) individually not too smart species–was able to conquer the globe. And he explains why the human species was able to do this from the “arid deserts of Australia to the cold steppe of Siberia.” He analyzes how the addiction to culture made humans a cultural species and he shows the role culture-gene-coevolution played in its history. Furthermore, he argues that cultural evolution initiated a process of self-domestication and that our success came not because of our individual minds, but through our collective brains. Books like this show how far the research in the field of cultural evolution has come by now and that it really can help to understand how culture defined human nature and society (other recommendations are Richerson...


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BremenBremenGermany

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