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Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  6,829 ratings  ·  584 reviews
Renowned primatologist Robert Sapolsky offers a completely revised and updated edition of his most popular work, with nearly 90,000 copies in print

Now in a third edition, Robert M. Sapolsky's acclaimed and successful Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers features new chapters on how stress affects sleep and addiction, as well as new insights into anxiety and personality disorder an
Paperback, Third Edition, 560 pages
Published September 15th 2004 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 1993)
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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,829 ratings  ·  584 reviews

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Jun 10, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
Non-Fiction. Twelve chapters on how stress is going to kill you, followed by six chapters on why stress is stressful, when it's not, and what we can do about it.

If you're a worrier, this may not be the book for you. I won't lie, it upset me in the beginning. There are so many ways that stress can affect your health, your memory, the way you age, how you deal with stressors, and even how your children deal with stressors. The book can become a source of stress itself, one that far outweighs the f
Ammara Abid
Apr 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Review it later.
Sep 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: non-fiction
I encountered a link to a speech by Sapolsky on Pharyngula, I think, and was immediately engaged by his speaking style. His books, or this one at least, is similarly easy to get into, and manages to discuss topics of fair complexity in an incredibly approachable way. He's clearly aware that his book might be read by a wide range of audiences, and strives to provide something for everyone. I'll definitely be working my way through the rest of his catalog.

The book is fascinating, too, although as
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is hands down the best medical book I have ever read. In a series of memorable and highly amusing stories and anecdotes Sapolsky explains the complex biology behind why well known principles of psychology, religion, new age philosophy and even voodoo curses work.

The central story of the book is how the fight or flight response – the most powerful force that has shaped vertebrate evolution for hundreds of millions of years - is now being turned against modern humans through chronic stress a
Chung Chin
Feb 09, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a book packed full of information on how stress can cause our body to go haywire. You will find explanation for how stress affects your weight, sleep, and health in general.
Although there are still lots of jargon and terms in the book that you will find alien, the explanation is given in the most simple way possible, making it an accessible material in general.

However, after reading through all the chapters on how stress can wreak havoc to our body, you don't actually get a lot of materi
Atila Iamarino
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Gostei muito do primeiro livro do Robert Sapolsky, o Memórias de um Primata. E este não me desapontou. Muito bem embasado, com bastante pesquisa (e prática) sobre o que é o estresse, como funciona e como nós lidamos bem ou mal com isso. Com aquela discussão necessária de natureza vs. criação, bons exemplos e um bom humor que te mantém ligado ao texto. Do tipo de livro que recomendo para leigos também.
John Kaess
The author spends 22 chapters beating us to death with hundreds of studies about how and why stress is bad for us. He focuses strongly on the chemistry and physiology of stress in animals and humans. He then spends 1 chapter on things we can do about it. Basically: don't be born poor, don't have a bad marriage, exercise and be religious. There. Now you don't have to read the book.
A brilliant and incredibly well-written book.

Every time I read something by Sapolsky I get amazed with how prodigious he is. No matter what he's talking about, everything he says is interesting and engaging. That summarises my feelings with this book. I don't find the stress subject very interesting, just because I often suffer from it, therefore I prefer to act like it doesn't exist, but unexpectedly, this helped me realize that I've been doing the entirely wrong thing (want to know why? read t
Nick Weeks
Jan 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Well researched book. Sapolsky, who I am a big fan of, explains why certain types of stresses like long work days end up having more serious negative effects on your physiology than do other types of stress such as a lion chasing after you. Sure the lion stresses you out then and there but a week from now your bodily functions won't still be affected by it.

My one beef with this book is that it doesn't give you much in the way of how to handle stress. I felt somewhat more stressed after reading
Troy Blackford
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Dr. Sapolsky is everything you could want from an author on a serious topic like stress: a world-class leader in the field of research, a clear and perceptive writer, and equal parts hilarious and profound. Learning about the physiology and psychology of stress would be interesting either way, but learning about it through his book is at least doubly so. Highly recommended.
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Should be compulsory reading for every high school biology student. A thorough dismantling of the reductionist cell biology mindset of the 20th century, Sapolsky shows you how very complex and intricate the interaction is between organism and environment, and how 'genes' may be overrated in a lot of ways.
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
this book is hi-la-ri-ous.

not only does sapolsky brilliantly explain the science in an easily digestible way, he does it with flair and humor. had to read this for a class about stress and coping, and i found myself looking forward to each assignment.
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This manifestation of stress is going to my 'books to give friends as a gift' list. The topic is morbid but written in a way that makes it a must read for anyone interested in managing their own well being and avoiding brain shrinkage.
Chris Herdt
May 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book is a good introduction to stress and its effects on physiology and psychology (Nicola's area of expertise). Although it is written for a lay audience, I often got the feeling it was written for a lay audience of primarily MDs.

By the end of the book, you will feel like you and epinephrine, norepinephrine, and glucocorticoids are all old friends--but in spite of the terminology, it is really an easy read and full of good humor and interesting anecdotes (e.g. hyenas are very peculiar).

Sep 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
First off, Sapolsky is a delightful writer. For a rather depressing book on all the scientifically understood harmful effects of stress, this book is often laugh out loud funny. But beyond that, Sapolsky is brilliant. He makes complex topics seem simple, but doesn't simplify to the point of losing the complexity. Quite a feat. If you are ever curious about examining what stress really is, and what effect it has on your body, this book is a must-read (especially useful I think for yoga teachers).
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a difficult one to rate because it was complicated AF and overwhelming at times, but I'll go with 4 stars because it was ultimately helpful and definitely educational, with just enough humor to keep my brain from exploding and oozing out of my ears. I do wish he had included more data on the benefits of exercise as stress management.
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is fantastic and I’ve been telling everyone who listens about it. It explains the mechanics of how stress works on a biological level, not holding back on naming names when it comes to hormones and glands and all that. The author managed to make the book accessible while simultaneously being in-depth, which I really appreciate. I recommend it for anyone who’s ever stressed (which is everyone) and wants to understand why this happens and what is going on in your body.
Marko Suomi
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction-2018
Kerrassaan oivallinen ja kattava kirja stressistä, siitä mitä se meille tekee ja mitä se ei tee. Ja mitä sille voi tehdä. Ei typeriä kikkakolmosia vaan laajaa tietämystä ja sujuvaa tekstiä.
Vitalijus Gafurovas
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ar yra geresnė knyga apie stresą ir jo poveikį mums? Galbūt, bet kol kas su tokia nesusidūriau, tad laurai atitenka Roberto Sapolskio knygai su itin šmaikščiu pavadinimu, kurio prasmė jau greit atsiskleidžia knygoje. Knyga parašyta labiau moksliniu stiliumi, tačiau jis labai gyvybingas, šmaikštus ir aiškiai suprantamas. Ilgametė Sapolskio patirtis dirbant su gyvūnais ir tyrinėjant stresą atsiskleidžia šioje knygoje. Knygą labai rekomenduoju, ji taip pat turi ne tik teorinių, bet ir praktinių įžv ...more
To summarize: Adrenaline is a DEATH drug. It's designed to keep you alive for the next 15 seconds, or to ease your death. As such, it's necessarily thriftless. If you can survive to the 16th second only by losing a limb, it's worthwhile to sacrifice the limb. Otherwise, it's wasteful and disabling.

Zebras don't get ulcers because they (mostly) only release stress hormones 'in the event of an actual emergency'. Humans deliberately evoke stress on an everyday basis, and the reckless decisions the b
I've been wanting to read this ever since I saw a documentary on stress that included Sapolsky's research.

In the meantime, I've also become fairly interested in the human microbiome. So, this kinda played right into all of that... so as far as books, this was pretty much my introduction to the field of stress research, as well as how human digestion works and where hormones and neurotransmitters come from and what they can do, etc... that said, I did this one as an audiobook, which might not hav
Abdullah Al-Abri
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
الكتاب يتناول موضوع القلق وتاثيره على الجسم والانسان بشكل عام منذ قبل ولاده وحتى طفولته وحتى موته وهل يؤثر قلقه وقلق امه ومجتمعه ومن حوله عليه بطريقة مباشرة او غير مباشرة

وفي الختام يعطي نصائح على كيفية التخلص من القلق والتقليل منه

قرأة ممتعة للجميع
Doris Jean
This is an excellent book, I don't know why I had such a hard time beginning it, I kept starting and stopping it for several years. Maybe this was because the writer has a somewhat rambling and loose style. Finally, I forced myself to get through the first few pages and the book got better and better once I relaxed into the writer's way of thinking.

It's an unusual book because it explains deep medical concepts for everyone, and it is a relaxed read considering the subject matter. It's a good rev
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fascinating info! Not only is Sapolsky a renowned scholar, he's a wonderful story teller. Even his explanations of complicated physiological cascades are easy to follow. The book is about the stress response, in animals and in humans, and the basic take-home lesson is that stress is a double edged sword. This is not a self-help book (do this and feel better), but a book to clarify something that we all experience (stress) and discuss how it affects us, and what the science says might help or har ...more
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I finished it at last!
I did like it but the journey was such a pain. It was the first science-y book I read and the beginning was tough. But I do think I’ve learnt a lot, and hopefully it will stick for my exam haha.
Ciolacu Giuliano
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
De recitit.
O carte esențială oricărui novice deoarece Robert Sapolsky are harul de a sintetiza informația la un nivel atât de simplist încât ar fi o insultă să nu încerci a-l citi.
Urmează - "Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst".
Apr 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work, for-clients

Although this reads more like a textbook than a self-help or pop-science book, the author does pepper it with some humor to keep you going. For example: “This is how gratification postponement works—the core of goal-directed behavior is expectation. Soon we’re forgoing immediate pleasure in order to get good grades in order to get into a good college in order to get a good job in order to get into the nursing home of our choice.”

Big Ideas:

+ Acute and chronic stress are different, as are physiolo
Sujit Nair
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Going forward, I'm not going to stress myself over anything.

While, I'm aware of how cortisol wreaks havoc, this book provides sheer evidence why our lifestyles are leading to shorter life spans.

More letting go, sleep and meditation for me. For the ones who are fascinated by jargons in the biology and neuroscience field, grab this book already!
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fascinating and funny! This book took me WEEKS to finish, as there is a ton of scientific information. But it was so interesting and entertaining and easy for a non-science person to understand. There were some incredible stories and studies.
May 01, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book but think for most people this book will not be more than a 3.5* hence the rating. My bias is simply that I and am a big fan of Dr Sapolsky after attending his course on Human Behavioral Biology. He covers the driest of things with humor and charm. I would recommend the first four lectures to everyone.

Our body is designed to respond to stressful situations. We are, just like the zebra, wired to temporarily alter our physiology when a lion shows up during our leisurely aftern
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Robert Maurice Sapolsky is the John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Professor of Biological Sciences, and Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, and by courtesy, Neurosurgery, at Stanford University. In addition, he is a research associate at the National Museums of Kenya.

Sapolsky has received numerous honors and awards for his work, including the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship genius grant i
“If I had to define a major depression in a single sentence, I would describe it as a "genetic/neurochemical disorder requiring a strong environmental trigger whose characteristic manifestation is an inability to appreciate sunsets.” 95 likes
“On an incredibly simplistic level, you can think of depression as occurring when your cortex thinks an abstract thought and manages to convince the rest of the brain that this is as real as a physical stressor.” 26 likes
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