|The Well-Dressed Ape: A Natural History of Myself|
The idea that humans have a lot in common with animals isn’t a shocking conclusion, but Holmes approaches the subject with endearing honesty.
Hannah Holmes’ The Well-Dressed Ape is the type of book only one person in every household needs to read. Not because it isn’t interesting but because it’s so full of fascinating factoids that the reader will end up spouting them out. “Huh, apparently Joseph Stalin tried to breed a half-human, half-chimp army,” you might say to whomever’s listening. Not a book to read by yourself on the subway.
The idea that humans have a lot in common with animals isn’t a shocking conclusion. More interesting, and what Holmes ends her book with, are the differences. The capacity for abstract thinking led humans to tools, and though a few other creatures use tools as well, Holmes shows how we have used ours to kill off our predators and produce enough food, allowing our species to grow to unsustainable numbers. But unique as well is the human capacity to analyze our actions and hopefully change our behavior.
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