Set Yourself Free: Twelve Books to Read on Human Nature

If you’ve a mind to understand human nature? non-fiction may not be the best way to understand it. Or, for that matter, human behavior in general. Fiction might be more accurate. However, there is some value in science and history – and reading.

However, be prepared to endure cancellation from your tribe.

Non-fiction books

just might be (in some cases) more fiction, fantasy, or delusion than fiction. Especially now in the current “Postmodern” age wherein everything is relative, subjective, and presented as “my truth”.

What’s a person to do? Read! Outside of your comfort zone. In other words, beyond your required reading. Outside of your tribe’s recommended list.

Educate yourself.

Evolutionary Psychology

is a much maligned Field of academic study. From its onset (from Darwin to Freud to Wilson to Buss) it has been labeled: Racist, Sexist, Xenophobic, and generally anti-progressive. Therefore it is not taught in any undergraduate curriculum. Because it threatens politically correct (progressive) thought – which dominates Western Civilization’s, and higher education’s self-concept.


Evo-psych (EP) also challenges the Protestant work ethic, and Christianity in general. Thus, it has no friends. Not Liberals or Conservatives. Certainly not almost all mental health providers.

[Yet, here I am – in a professional therapeutic relationship. Notwithstanding, a sometimes contentious one.]


Because, for some of us (humans), that’s our nature – to be curious.

The List:

  1. The Territorial Imperative: A personal inquiry into the animal origins of property and nations (1966) Robert Ardrey
  2. On Human Nature (1978) E.O. Wilson
  3. The Whisperings Within: Evolution and the origin of human nature (1979) David Barash
  4. The Blind Watchmaker: Why the evidence of evolution reveals a universe without design (1987) Richard Dawkins
  5. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1992) Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan
  6. The Third Chimpanzee: The evolution and future of the human animal (1992) Jared Diamond
  7. The Moral Animal: Evolutionary psychology and everyday life (1994) Robert Wright
  8. Survival of the Prettiest: The science of beauty (1999) Nancy Etcoff
  9. Evolutionary Psychology: The new psychology of the mind (1999) David M. Buss
  10. Why Sex Matters: A Darwinian look at human behavior (2000) Bobbi S. Low
  11. The Dangerous Passion: Why jealousy is as necessary as love and sex (2000) David M. Buss
  12. Election 2016: The great divide, the great debate (2018) Mark Jabbour
Some of my favorite books on human nature and behavior.
Ten from my bookshelf


of course, has costs. It’s not free. Today, as always, if you strike out on your own your survival chances diminish. One of my favorite lines from Game of Thrones is, “When Winter comes, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.”

So if you choose to read “on your own” these branded books:

[as racist, sexist, xenophobic]

be prepared to endure “cancellation” from your tribe, be it Left or Right. Recall, at the end of GoT, Jon Snow was banished to The  Wall, even though he was the legitimate heir to the throne.



6 thoughts on “Set Yourself Free: Twelve Books to Read on Human Nature

  1. Dear Mark Edward Jabbour,

    Hello! Thank you very much for the dozen book recommendations, the last of which is your own.

    Of those writers in the list, my favourite is Edward O Wilson. His 1992 seminal book “The Diversity of Life” has given us the terms “biodiversity” and “biophilia”.

    I have owned a copy of the book for 20 odd years. Would you agree and/or recommend that we could learn a great deal about ourselves and Nature via the notion of “Biophilia” as first proposed by Edward O Wilson?

    I would like to recommend an excellent book to you. It is Edward O Wilson’s “Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge”, which is a national bestseller. Wilson has received many fellowships, awards and honours, including two Pulitzer prizes.

    I recently quoted the following tricolon by Edward O Wilson in my post entitled “Misquotation Pandemic and Disinformation Polemic: Mind Pollution by Viral Falsity“, which you can easily locate at the Home page of my blog:

    The real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology.

    You are very welcome to read the four long paragraphs that I have written to unpack this thought-provoking quotation.

    Wishing you a very Happy August!

    Yours sincerely,

    1. I just now saw your comment, SoundEagle. Why? Obviously, I don’t fully understand how all this (God-like technology”) works. I did read your post at the time you wrote it. In fact, I used that quote of Wilson in response to a R. Wright’s post about human nature. Thank you!
      And I’ve read Consilience. I’ve been a reader of Wilson for 30 some years. I mention him in my book Election 2016. What all this uproar happening now demonstrates is – Yep, Wilson was right. But sadly, we (humans) just don’t seem to be able to rise above our “paleolithic emotions”. cheers.

  2. Update, November 11, 2023.
    “Things” have gotten worse. Election 2024 is upon us, two wars have erupted, inflation is raging out of control, and the general mood of most people is trending toward despair.
    On the positive side: Elon Musk bought and privatized Twitter, now X. This has manifested in a counter balance to the progressive bias of news, journalism, higher education, and subsequent cancellation culture. He’s brought back free speech, and thus free thinking.
    Will it work? I don’t know. We humans may have raced passed our evolutionary “designed” disposition and nature with the internet and social media.
    Hang in there. And take care of yourself.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.