The Trouble with Testosterone by Robert Sapolsky (book review)

Well, I’m a Sapolsky fan now after reading “The Trouble with Testosterone.” His style of writing reminds me of Natalie Angiers (The Beauty of the Beastly & Woman, an Intimate Geography)

It’s funny that I read it just after ‘The Songlines” which has some of man’s innate wanderlust as the heart of the story.

As a mother with a young son my heart just ached for male 273 (a baboon)

He was badly mauled and, in a poignant act, crawled for miles to return to his former home troop to die near his mother.

In the chapter ‘Circling the Blanket for God’ I just had to stop reading periodically to wipe the tears of laughter out of my eyes. He presents the (not new) argument that religion, schizophrenia and OCD are all related.

Put succinctly, it is not usually considered to be a sign of robust mental health to hear voices in burning bushes. Or to report that you’ve spent the night wrestling with an angel, or that someone who had died has risen and conversed with you.

He has a diagram of Rice Krispy treats and shows how it is innate human nature to want to always leave a straight line on the treats left in the pan. This really tickled me. I’ve always known it as ‘cake straightening’. No one can leave a jagged line of cake in a sheet cake pan. YOU JUST HAVE TO EAT cake until there is a straight line left.

For schizophrenics, it’s not a matter of trees and forests. Instead it’s habitually seeing only the bark.

This guy sure makes science accessible.


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