Most Important Books to Study in 2019

For me, the resolution for the year is to study

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For me, the resolution for the year is to study the following two books...

Here is the video of Sapolsky's Introduction to his first-year Human Behavioural Biology course as presented at Stanford University.

Book Recommendations by Sapolsky - One is his book; Behave, the other is Chaos by James Gleick

This page documents my learning journey.

Behave has 17 chapters, excluding the introduction,

The Behavior

One Second Before

Seconds to Minutes Before

Hours to Days Before

Days to Months Before

Adolescence; Or, Dude, Where's My Frontal Cortex?

Back to the Crib, Back to the Womb

Back to When You Were Just a Fertilized Egg

Centuries to Millennia Before

The Evolution of Behavior

Us Versus Them

Hierarchy, Obedience and Resistance

Morality and Doing the Right Thing, Once You've Figured Out What That Is

Feeling Someone's Pain, Understanding Someone's Pain, Alleviating Someone's Pain

Metaphors We Kill By

Biology, the Criminal Justice System, and (oh, why not?) Free Will

War and Peace

Chaos, on the other hand, has XX chapters...

The P.A.S.F. planksip filter was used with the following people.  

The Butterfly Effect

Edward Lorenz and his toy weather. The computer misbehaves. Long-range forecasting is doomed. Order masquerading as randomness. A world of nonlinearity. "We completely missed the point."


A revolution in seeing. Pendulum clocks, space balls, and playground swings. The invention of the horseshoe. A mystery solved: Jupiter's Great Red Spot.

Life's Ups and Downs

Modeling wildlife populations. Nonlinear science, "the study of non-elephant animals." Pitchfork bifurcations and a ride on the Spree. A movie of chaos and a messianic appeal.

A Geometry of Nature

A discovery about cotton prices. A refugee from Bourbaki. Transmission errors and jagged shores. New dimensions. The monster of fractal geometry. Quakes in the schizosphere. From clouds to blood vessels. The trash cans of science. "To see the world in a grain of sand."

Strange Attractors

A problem for God. Transitions in the laboratory. Rotating cylinders and a turning point. David Ruelle's idea for turbulence. Loops in phase space. Mille-feuilles and sausage. An Astronomer's mapping. "Fireworks or galaxies."


A new start at Los Alamos. The renormalization group. Decoding color. The rise of numerical experimentation. Mitchell Feigenbaum's breakthrough. A universal theory. The rejection letters. Meeting in Como. Clouds and paintings.

The Experimenter

Helium in a Small Box. "Insolid billowing of the solid." Flow and form in nature. Albert Libehaber's delicate triumph. Experiment joins theory. From on dimension to many.

Images of Chaos

The complex plane. Surprise in Newton's method. The Mandelbrot set: sprouts and tendrils. Art and commerce meet science. Fractal basin boundaries. The chaos game.

The Dynamical Systems Collective

Santa Cruz and the sixties. The analog computer. What is science? "A long-range vision." Measuring unpredictability. Information theory. The dripping faucet. Audiovisual aids. An era ends.

Inner Rhythms

A misunderstanding about models. The complex body. The dynamical heart. Resetting the biological clock. Fatal arrhythmia. Chick embryos and abnormal beats. Chaos as health.

Chaos and Beyond

New beliefs, new definitions. The Second Law, the snowflake puzzle, and loaded dice. Opportunity and necessity.