Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sociobiology: The New Synthesis” as Want to Read:
Sociobiology: The New Synthesis
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Sociobiology: The New Synthesis


4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,339 ratings  ·  28 reviews
View a collection of videos on Professor Wilson entitled "On the Relation of Science and the Humanities"

Harvard University Press is proud to announce the re-release of the complete original version of Sociobiology: The New Synthesis--now available in paperback for the first time. When this classic work was first published in 1975, it created a new discipline and started a
Paperback, Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition, 720 pages
Published March 24th 2000 by Belknap Press (first published 1975)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sociobiology, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Sociobiology

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,339 ratings  ·  28 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Ahmad Sharabiani
Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, Edward O. Wilson
Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975; 25th anniversary edition 2000) is a book by the biologist E. O. Wilson. Edward O. Wilson popularized the term "Sociobiology" as an attempt to explain the evolutionary mechanics behind social behavior such as altruism, aggression, and the nurturing of the young.
Part I. Social Evolution: 1. The Morality of the Gene; 2. Elementary Concepts of Sociobiology; 3. The Prime Movers of Social Evolution; 4. T
Robert Nelson
Jul 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Read the original in college...will always be relevant. Humans are animals, get over it. Humans are special, so is every living thing.
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Camus said that the only serious philosophical question is suicide. That is wrong even in the strict sense intended. The biologist, who is concerned with questions of physiology and evolutionary history, realizes that self-knowledge is constrained and shaped by the emotional control centers in the hypothalamus and limbic system of the brain. These centers flood our consciousness with all the emotions–hate, love, guilt, fear, and others–that are consulted by the ethical philosophers who wish to ...more
Aug 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Wow. WAAAAAAAAAAAAY over my head on this one, but when I could parse out meaning, it was pretty cool stuff. I mean, cool in the sense that it validated all of my thinking with regards to why animals, people in particular, act like they do.

I imagine that this book is to modern animal behavior science what the Pythagorean theorem is to geometry: a very simple representation of some very basic principles that, when expounded upon, lead to some real revelatory shit.

That being said, I picked at this
J.W.D. Nicolello
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Incredible text; a book to double check through one's library before purchasing a copy. There is nothing I can add here or elsewhere, and so this is more of a digital note to self than a review. You'll never have to do anything save suppress a philosophical roll of the eyes the next time one hears, "It doesn't make sense why so many ______ people do ________!" Well, it actually makes perfect sense if one is willing to skip the futile political protest and give E.O. Wilson some serious time.

Jan 12, 2008 rated it it was ok
I'm a sociologist and Wilson is kind of the boogey man to us. I was pleasantly surprised though when finally reading this. Not because I think he explains much human social stuff, but because he's much more modest than reductionists like Dawkins, and he at least nominally recognizes the issue of multiple levels of reality and analysis that probably can't be simply collapsed into each other. So; not a major threat to socials science, but ants are definitely cool.
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing that so many nuts object to this book. Basically humans are just another animal, behave like animals and have instincts like animals, below the veneer of civilisation and intelligence. Only egotistical people (such as creationists) would believe otherwise. Get over yourselves!
Wilson has been assaulted and vilified for daring to articulate this simple fact! A science hero!
Peter Reczek
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A classic. Long and requires a significant commitment, this book is a text that serves better as a reference. Reading the chapters on primates for a full appreciation of its significance and controversy
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This tome was very informative and very thorough. It was also way too dense for most lay people. If it was intended as a textbook, it serves the purpose well. Not so much as a little light reading.
Rodney Jenson
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Makes so much sense....
Apr 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: biology
As a nature writer, I deeply enjoy E.O. Wilson's work. In Sociobiology (and the new edition with lots of lovely photos, etc.), I am less thrilled.

Sociobiology tends to assume (and not necessarily demonstrate) that all behaviors are genetically determined. This may be a tempting assumption to make when speaking about, say, insects, but the assumption is held throughout the animal kingdom. It is quite easy to fall into the adaptationism viewpoint; easy, but not necessarily scientifically accurate
Michael Belcher
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What can you say about an author who establishes his own scientific discipline with a single book? Spectacular! A must have for the bookshelf of anyone -- amateur or professional -- with an interest in the nexus between sociology and biology; between individual survival and social reciprocity.
Jul 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Quite amazing how social structures span so many different species, from communication, hierarchies, leaders, learning, groups, love, emotions and altruism. We as a species are advanced but not so unique. Fascinating how certain species naturally adapt in a few generations (or perish) in response to resource constraints and overpopulation. How little we know of life, intertwined nature and our past.
May 12, 2016 marked it as to-keep-reference
Si no entiendo mal, este libro es la base de la sociobiología, defendida por Pinker y que fue acusada de eugenesica al darle relevancia a la participación biológica en la toma de decisiones, con lo que echa por tierra la teoría de La tabla rasa.
Peter Brooks
May 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It is a long time since this has come out and the subject has moved an enormous distance since then, as well as, being renamed 'evolutionary psychology' along the way. This is, though, a brilliant and entertaining book and is, one can say aptly, seminal.
Nov 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature
Contains full text of the hardcover first published in the 1970's. I read and studied the hardcover during the early 1980's. An impressive work whether or not you have the same or different perspectives, assumptions, analogies as the author.
Frank Ashe
Oct 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book blew me away. The attacks on it seemed to be based on straw men.
Bill Johnson
Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Part of who I am. read in grad school in 1976, the year it came out. Established Wilson as one of my biology heros.
Aug 10, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: biology students
It is a bedrock in modern biology, as well as modern sociology. A muct-read for multidisciplinary science believers.
Jun 26, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: readers
Fascinating and surprisingly easy to read for such a dense and esoteric subject.
Aug 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Originally published in the '70s, this book is about as controversial as they come. E.O. Wilson specializes in the social networks of ants. Really interesting stuff. Still relevant.
May 21, 2008 marked it as to-read
Shelves: nature
The very controversial presentation of Dr. Wilson's ideas concerning the behavior of all living beings as discussed on the 5/20/08 Lord of the Ants program on NOVA.
Mar 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
As a Lewontin-esq person myself, I was suprized I still enjoyed this book so much.
Jim Dyer
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
among the smartest folks of the last hundred years
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Groundbreaking at the time, still worth a pickup from the lay reader.
Bob Wrathall
Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The text book on sociobiology. You should read this book.
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
It is a textbook so please don't expect a 'page turner' but it is filled to the brim with amazingly helpful information.
Brian Beard
rated it it was amazing
Jul 01, 2013
Shafi Safat
rated it it was amazing
Jan 13, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Mar 02, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Evolution
  • On Growth and Form
  • Evolutionary Dynamics: Exploring the Equations of Life
  • The Theory of Evolution
  • The Ants
  • The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance
  • Ontogeny and Phylogeny
  • What Is Life?
  • An Introduction to Behavioural Ecology
  • The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture
  • The Variety of Life: A Survey and a Celebration of All the Creatures that Have Ever Lived
  • Chance and Necessity
  • Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People
  • On Aggression
  • In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion
  • The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution
  • The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation
  • Emergence: From Chaos To Order
See similar books…
Edward Osborne Wilson is an American biologist, researcher, theorist, and author. His biological specialty is myrmecology, a branch of entomology. A two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction, Wilson is known for his career as a scientist, his advocacy for environmentalism, and his secular-humanist ideas pertaining to religious and ethical matters. He is Pellegrino University Re ...more

Other books in the series

Sociobiology (4 books)
  • 社會生物學:新綜合理論, vol. 1 社會演化的原動力 / Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, Vol. 1
  • 社會生物學:新綜合理論, vol. 2 動物的通訊系統 / Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, Vol. 2
  • 社會生物學:新綜合理論, vol. 3 統御制度、角色、階級 / Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, Vol. 3
  • 社會生物學:新綜合理論, vol. 4 從冷血動物到人類 / Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, Vol. 4