‘Entertaining and original… Gregg is a brilliant communicator of complex ideas, with a writing style that is rich in both humour and detail.’ Guardian
‘A fascinating work of popular science… Accessible and insightful, it’s a thought-provoking read.’ Observer
‘By melding science, history and philosophy, the book becomes a highly readable, and on occasion quite surprising, tour of the limits of consciousness.’ The Times
‘No one who reads Gregg’s witty and instructive book will come away without having learnt some humbling truths about themselves and their animal kin.’ New Statesman
‘His understanding of human and animal cognition provides real insight into how we think.’ Financial Times
‘Nothing less than brilliant’ Wall Street Journal
What if human intelligence is actually more of a liability than a gift? After all, the animal kingdom, in all its diversity, gets by just fine without it. At first glance, human history is full of remarkable feats of intelligence, yet human exceptionalism can be a double-edged sword. With our unique cognitive prowess comes severe consequences, including existential angst, violence, discrimination, and the creation of a world teetering towards climate catastrophe. What if human exceptionalism is more of a curse than a blessing?
As Justin Gregg puts it, there’s an evolutionary reason why human intelligence isn’t more prevalent in the animal kingdom. Simply put, non-human animals don’t need it to be successful. And, miraculously, their success arrives without the added baggage of destroying themselves and the planet in the process.
In seven mind-bending and hilarious chapters, Gregg highlights features seemingly unique to humans – our use of language, our rationality, our moral systems, our so-called sophisticated consciousness – and compares them to our animal brethren. What emerges is both demystifying and remarkable, and will change how you look at animals, humans, and the meaning of life itself.