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published September 14, 2021

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The Book

cover of book

Chapter Titles

  1. The Human Niche
  2. A Brief History of the Human Lineage
  3. Ancient Bodies, Modern World
  4. Medicine
  5. Food
  6. Sleep
  7. Sex and Gender
  8. Parenthood and Relationship
  9. Childhood
  10. School
  11. Becoming Adults
  12. Culture and Consciousness
  13. The Fourth Frontier


A bold, provocative history of our species finds the roots of civilization's success and failure in our evolutionary biology.

We are living through the most prosperous age in all of human history, yet people are more listless, divided and miserable than ever. Wealth and comfort are unparalleled, and yet our political landscape grows ever more toxic, and rates of suicide, loneliness, and chronic illness continue to skyrocket. How do we explain the gap between these two truths? What's more, what can we do to close it?

For evolutionary biologists Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein, the cause of our woes is clear: the modern world is out of sync with our ancient brains and bodies. We evolved to live in clans, but today most people don't even know their neighbors' names. Survival in our earliest societies depended on leveraging the advantages of our sex differences, but today even the concept of biological sex is increasingly dismissed as offensive. The cognitive dissonance spawned by trying to live in a society we're not built for is killing us.

In this book, Heying and Weinstein cut through the politically fraught discourse surrounding issues like sex, gender, diet, parenting, sleep, education, and more to outline a science-based worldview that will empower you to live a better, wiser life. They distill more than 20 years of research and first-hand accounts from the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth into straightforward principles and guidance for confronting our culture of hyper-novelty.

The Authors

Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein

Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein are evolutionary biologists who have been invited to address the US Congress, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Education, and have spoken before audiences across the globe. They both earned PhDs in Biology from the University of Michigan, where their research on evolution and adaptation earned awards for its quality and innovation. They have been visiting fellows at Princeton University, and before that were professors at the Evergreen State College for fifteen years. They resigned from Evergreen in the wake of 2017 campus riots that focused in part on their opposition to a day of racial segregation and other college “equity” proposals. They cohost weekly livestreams of the DarkHorse podcast.

  • "This is a book of wisdom written by two broad minded biologists. It is the human story retold in beautiful language and moving metaphors. Heying and Weinstein are professorial in the best possible sense: they exemplify the intellectual humility, nuanced thinking, and love of learning that a great liberal arts education should nurture. Everyone who is raising or educating kids, or who wants to change social systems, should first read this book to understand how complex humans and human systems work."
    Jonathan Haidt
    Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership, New York University—Stern School of Business, author of The Righteous Mind, Co-author of The Coddling of the American Mind
  • "Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein are the brilliant, irresistible professors every student dreams of having. In their hands, complex technical ideas become accessible--and exhilarating. A Hunter-Gatherer's Guide To The 21st Century is based on serious science, but it reads like an adventure story."
    Christina Hoff Sommers
    philosopher, Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and host of "The Factual Feminist"
  • "Every once in a while, you come across an academic who gives you a few ideas that become central to your way of viewing the world. In A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century, Bret and Heather have given me at least five working concepts from their deep dive into evolutionary biology that have permanently shifted the way I see human evolution and culture. I am forever grateful for their work and keen insights."
    Jamie Wheal
    Executive Director of The Flow Genome Project and coauthor of Stealing Fire
  • "I have never read such a bold, well-researched, and succinct exploration of the puzzling predicament we find ourselves in. Anyone who wonders why the most comfortable society in history—our own—has such astronomical rates of depression, anxiety and poor health will find abundant answers in A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century."
    Sebastian Junger
    author of War, Tribe, and Freedom
  • "Husband and wife team Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying bring their vast knowledge of evolutionary biology to bear on the problems that beset us. Wide-ranging and illuminating, A Hunter Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century posits an intriguing, surprising, and profound view of human nature."
    Jordan B. Peterson
    author of Beyond Order, 12 Rules for Life and Maps of Meaning
  • "Bret and Heather are highly regarded evolutionary biologists, very clear thinkers and communicators, and as attested to by their notoriety from the madness that their school put them through, they value scientific truth over political correctness."
    Robert Sapolsky
    author of Behave and A Primate's Memoir