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Penguin: Adult Hardcover & Trade Paperback Summer 2019

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The Deep History of Ourselves
The Four-Billion-Year Story of How We Got Conscious Brains
By (author): Joseph LeDoux
9780735223837 Hardcover English General Trade SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Neuroscience Aug 27, 2019
$40.00 CAD
Active 6.2 x 9.2 x 1.4 in 432 pages 112 IMAGES + 13 DIAGRAMS THROUGHOUT Viking
Longlisted for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award

A leading neuroscientist offers a history of the evolution of the brain from unicellular organisms to the complexity of animals and human beings today

Renowned neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux digs into the natural history of life on earth to provide a new perspective on the similarities between us and our ancestors in deep time. This page-turning survey of the whole of terrestrial evolution sheds new light on how nervous systems evolved in animals, how the brain developed, and what it means to be human.

In The Deep History of Ourselves, LeDoux argues that the key to understanding human behavior lies in viewing evolution through the prism of the first living organisms. By tracking the chain of the evolutionary timeline he shows how even the earliest single-cell organisms had to solve the same problems we and our cells have to solve each day. Along the way, LeDoux explores our place in nature, how the evolution of nervous systems enhanced the ability of organisms to survive and thrive, and how the emergence of what we humans understand as consciousness made our greatest and most horrendous achievements as a species possible.

AWARD WINNING AUTHOR: LeDoux’s previous book Anxious was named winner of the William James Award, an annual book prize given by the American Psychological Association.

SUCCESS OF THIS GENRE: Books like Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens and E.O. Wilson’s The Meaning of Human Existence show that there is an eager readership for smart nonfiction that looks at the science between human intelligence and other animals as well as between human intelligence and prehistoric humans.

SCIENTIFIC AUTHORITY: LeDoux is one of the most respected neurobiologists in the field and his previous books, Anxious, Synaptic Self and The Emotional Brain, are considered classics.

Joseph LeDoux is the Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Science, and Professor of Neural Science, Psychology, Psychiatry, and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at New York University. He directs the Emotional Brain Institute at NYU and at The Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, and is Deputy Director of the Max Planck-NYU Center for Language, Music, and Emotion, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. LeDoux’s books include Anxious, Synaptic Self, and The Emotional Brain, and he is a singer and songwriter in the folkrock band the Amygdaloids, and in the acoustic duo So We Are. He lives with his wife Nancy Princenthal in Brooklyn, New York.

Author Residence: Brooklyn, NY

Author Hometown: Eunice, LA

Marketing: Social media and online promotion

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Publicity: Print and online reviews and features

Radio interviews

Author Website:

Author Social Media: Twitter: @TheAmygdaloid

Praise for Anxious:

“Every age believes itself to be the age of anxiety, as Auden’s famous poem first put it. But in his new book, Anxious, the neuroscientist and writer Joseph LeDoux suggests that that has never been a stronger claim to make than it is now…. If this is the age of anxiety, LeDoux is our Lewis and our Clark: It was LeDoux who laid down the first map of what is called the brain’s ’fear circuit,’ the regions—centered on the amygdala and its adjacent structures—that together give rise to our ability to respond to threats and danger. But with his new book, he wants to redraw that map.”—Casey Schwartz, New York Magazine

“Mr. LeDoux offers a careful tour through the current neuroscience of fear and anxiety…. [Anxious] will reward the informed reader.”—Leonore Tiefer, The Wall Street Journal

“[Anxious] helps to explain and prevent the kinds of debilitating anxieties all of us face in this increasingly stressful world.”—Daniel J. Levitin, author of The Organized Mind and This Is Your Brain On Music

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