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De aap in ons

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  3,192 ratings  ·  236 reviews
From a scientist and writer E.O. Wilson has called "the world authority on primate social behavior" comes a fascinating look at the most provocative aspects of human nature through our two closest cousins in the ape family. From "one of the world's greatest experts on primate behavior" (Desmond Morris) comes a look at the most provocative aspects of human nature-power, ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published 2007 by Uitgeverij contact (first published 2005)
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Back in the 1980s, I took several anthropology courses at university. I emerged from them thinking that studying chimpanzees would help my understanding of humanity. In part, I was right--the missing piece to the puzzle was the bonobo (otherwise known as pygmy chimpanzee). They were not even mentioned in any class that I took at that time.

Frans de Waal is an excellent guide to the behaviour and psychology of both chimps and bonobos. He also seems to have a solid grounding in human philosophers
As one would expect from a book called "Our Inner Ape" written by a popular primatologist, this book was largely about similarities between humans and our closest primate relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos, and the evolutionary cause of these similarities. At the heart of De Waal's argument that biologists, primatologists, and most importantly evolutionary psychologists have emphasized the connections between chimp behavior and human behavior at the expense of the other side of human behavior, ...more
Mixed feelings about this one. I am interested in the subject but wasn't totally engaged by the writing. In particular, I felt the author adopted an unattractive condescending tone when criticising others, which is something he likes to do a lot. I had the impression some of his barbs were intended as humour, but instead he came over as rather arrogant and disdainful.

That said, there is plenty of interesting stuff in here about chimpanzees and bonobos. Dr. de Waal is clearly an expert in his
Great read for anyone wanting to learn more about lessons to be gained on human nature based on recent discoveries about our primate relatives, especially chimps and bonoboes. The model of chimps as Edenic creatures was darkened by discovery of their versions of warfare and murder, while the pansexual and female dominated society of bonoboes can't provide an ideal model of human society because of the contrast with our core dependence on the nuclear family. The major topics covered in the book ...more
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first of Franz de Waal's books I have read. He sets out to convince us that we share many social traits with other apes - both positive and negative. Specifically, he debunks the notion that civilized human society is just a thin veneer overlying a violent and aggressive foundation. He disputes Richard Dawkins' notion that "survival of the fittest" implies individual selection only and leaves no room for a social aspect of human/ape evolution.

Along the way, he asks the question,
May 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully written on our closest genetic relatives: chimpanzees and bonobos, this book delves into the behavior of patriarchal, aggressive chimpanzees and the matriarchal, peaceful and sexually free bonobos. I find it telling that behavior-wise humans are in the middle of the behavior of the aforementioned apes. Discussing a wide variety of topics such as power, sex, food competition, language, and scapegoats the author shows how humans differ and are similar to the other great apes. The book ...more
We are all apes, like it or not. We share a lot with our great evolutionary cousins, such things as empathy, compassion, kindness, power competition, consolation and violence. Humans are the most violent and the most kind creatures on earth, we are the most bipolar creatures that exist, we do the most terrible things and we do the most kind things, our hate is unmatched, our love is without border. In some ways we are unique in many others we aren't.

We should do better to protect great apes,
John Wiswell
I went into this book wanting to believe everything de Waal wrote, as his Good Natured shone such light on how much we have in common with other primates. He demonstrated that most of our ideas of goodness exist in our older genetic neighbors and that goodness is more natural than we often give it credit. Like in much of de Waal’s writing, here he compares beliefs of human behavior to observation of other primates, specifically chimpanzees and bonobos, which sport radically different social ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biology, psychology
Reading this book makes me extremely sad. May be that happens when you observe or read about the lives of animals busy in their struggle for survival and procreation. They go to extreme lengths to find food, shelter and mate. The salmon fish travel thousands of miles just to lay eggs in their birthplace. After laying eggs all die in order to be consumed by their offsprings few months later. The female octopus lays just one egg in her life and dies immediately after because of exhaustion. The ...more
Jun 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: literate apes
Better than Jared Diamond's The Third Chimpanzee. Diamond only mentioned bonobos in passing; while Frans de Waal discusses them as much as he discusses chimpanzees while only mentions gorillas, ourang-outang, baboons and various monkeys in passing. Frans de Waal's willingness to explore bonobo sexuality make Diamond's "The Third Chimpanzee" seem prudish.

Studying the behavior of our closest species relatives provide a lot of insight into human social behavior.

Politically, Frans de Waal is a
Todd Martin

Being both more systematically brutal than chimps and more empathic than bonobos, we are by far the most bipolar ape. Our societies are never completely peaceful, never completely competitive, never ruled by sheer selfishness, and never perfectly moral.
— Frans de Waal

Here’s a true fact … there’s a species of great ape that exhibits the following behaviors:
- They are xenophobic and can be ruthless toward individuals who are not part of their group
- They frequently use violence to settle disputes
Mahesh Karthik
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A 5 star read indeed! This is my first book by Frans de Waal, who is known to a prolific writer in this field. I found my attention strongly grabbed by the narrative technique of the author. There was not a single moment when I found that my attention was dipping and that is why I could read this book so fast despite my busy schedule.

He makes the comparison of human behaviour to that of the apes, especially to those of bonobos and chimpanzees and arrives at an understanding of their origins. I
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If there is one thing I love it is comparing apes. God this book was fabulous. Other apes have so much to teach us humans. I had been thinking that they could only teach us about sex and violence and I was very satisfied with that. But thanks to Frans, I now know they can also teach us about reciprocity and reconciliation and empathy and stuff and more stuff. This book swings even higher into the tree tops because it is engagingly written, which I don't expect from scientists. Frans throws in a ...more
Mar 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed listening to this book but, admittedly, it was a little dull in places. At the same time, it was extremely interesting and worth listening to. The comparison between humans and different ancestors, other than the usual comparison of chimps, was thought provoking. The small, very human stories about specific apes really helped paint a good, natural picture of how alike we are to our cousins.
Abigail McAlister
incredibly informative and entertaining. I have so much respect for Frans De Waal as a researcher and a writer. the way he picks apart and supports aspects we see in chimpanzees and bonobos and THEN applies it seamlessly to the human experience is fascinating and written in a way that's fun to read.

I also just really really love bonobos.
David Gale
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful and insightful!
Cory Eaton
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting take on a in-depth comparison between human and ape behaviors. Definitely a great read.
May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though this occasionally strays into pop psychology, I enjoyed this book all and all. It is refreshing to read from someone who sees looks at natural man and sees the positives, as well as the negatives.

Here’s a passage that I would say makes a good thesis of what Frans de Waal is arguing:

“We hear that we have selfish genes, that human goodness is a sham, that we act morally only to impress others. But if all that people care about is their own good, why does a day-old baby cry when it hears
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A bit of a misleading title; is more about the behavioral traits of bonobos and chimpanzees, which while interesting, doesn't really directly address the topic. I think the author assumes that since other humans are reading about primate behavior, they can draw parallels on their own. Ultimately, this just reinforces what the reader already thinks, and doesn't introduce much in new insight.

Towards the very end of the book, he mentions, almost in passing, that there are bonobo/chimpanzee
Dave Gaston
Light behavioral science served up in the form of classic field study reporting. Our Inner Ape is a guy book and a nerd science book all rolled up in one. What’s not to love? OK, the title is a little too obvious. But let’s admit it, we all have a fascination with the “other branch” just to the left (6MM yrs/ago) of our own humanity. The similarities between the two specie's societies are not earth shattering but they are somehow life affirming. Seeing ourselves through a primal reflection ...more
Dr. Waal compares human behavior to the apes he has studied. The book is totally varied. In many parts, he has the most fascinating information that includes lots of scientific data, his careful observations and his insightful ruminations.

Other times he is annoying as shit and goes off on these tangents about politics and things he pulls out of his ass that are totally not scientific. He just seems to have a feeling and know.

And I felt like he favored the bonobos big-time. I mean the chimps
I selected this book based on De Waal's reputation in primatology, interested in his thoughts on the root traits that define our human societies. Instead, he stumbled into politics often enough I finally set the book aside, unwilling to mix an objective study of science with a subjective analysis of world political problems. He could have cited a variety of international examples, but chose to concentrate on the USA and a few others, leaving me uncomfortable about his motives. I suggest he stick ...more
Daniel Gonçalves
Sometimes, the best answers to the human condition rely upon observation not of ourselves, but of our ape cousins.

Frans de Waal, expert is primatology, explains to the reader why mankind should shift its egocentric, chauvinistic views to focus on a more fair, compared analysis of Homo Sapiens. He does it extremely well and with incredibly convincing arguments, a result of a deep research and extensive field work. A must read for everyone who wants to discover more about their own nature and who
Murali Behara
Jan 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scientist
First of all let me acknowledge that this is among best of Science writing. When a book adds to my knowledge and propels me forward it deserves 5 stars. "Evolutionary psychologists are making Beethoven error.... in claiming.... product resembles process". In the last chapter Frans De Wall did have something to say about economists who use statistics to trivialize social capital, empathy and altruism!
May 05, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book had many interesting facts and insights. I have found myself referencing it a few times. However, thers is no over all big insight. I enjoyed it, but guess I just seemed like a bunch of ideas I already believed.
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have learned a little bit about other primates but nothing about humans so I feel cheated by the title. I suspect the title was designed to do that.
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I assigned this book to my introductory-level biological anthropology class because it was recommended by a colleague. It is not a textbook-- it reads like an ethnographic account of non-human primates, which I really like (and I hoped the students enjoyed as well). De Waal's stories about his chimp and bonobo subjects are vivid and engaging. You get the sense that he knows and cares about these creatures as individuals.

I'm a cultural anthropologist, and I cringe at some of the comments de Waal
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not only did I learn a lot about our ape cousins -- especially chimps and bonobos, with both of whom we share 99% of DNA --, I also got a fresh perspective on human behavior. By observing apes, we can find plenty of evidence of how different types of behavior are rooted in our evolution as social animals. We share both "good" and "bad" behaviors with our ape cousin, and de Waal does a good job of showing how both sides are sometimes needed to strike a balance. For instance, reconciliation is ...more
Juliet Wilson
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature
Subtitled The Best and Worst of Human Nature this is a modern classic not only of human psychology and behaviour but of natural history. De Waal, one of the world's leading primatologists explores what our two closest relatives - the chimpanzee and the bonobo - can tell us abut human nature.

Chapters headed Power, Sex, Violence and Kindness look at the behaviour of these two species, the chimpanzee traditionally considered to be a violent and competitive animal and the bonobo, a much more
Sean Fishlock
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another brilliant work by Frans de Waal, particularly the study of gender differences comparing humans, chimpanzees and bonobos.
There are some amazing insights into the evolution of human behaviour. The origins of human gestures and body language, emotional differences between men and women just to name a few. There are some very fearless and frank discussion on sexual behaviour. A lot of the analysis strongly challenges modern socio-political theory including the social construct of gender as
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Frans de Waal has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. The author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, among many other works, he is the C. H. Candler Professor in Emory University’s Psychology Department and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
“I sometimes try to imagine what would have happened if we’d known the bonobo first and the chimpanzee only later—or not at all. The discussion about human evolution might not revolve as much around violence, warfare and male dominance, but rather around sexuality, empathy, caring and cooperation. What a different intellectual landscape we would occupy!” 16 likes
“We would much rather blame nature for what we don’t like in ourselves than credit it for what we do like.” 15 likes
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