Born to Choose: A Biological and Cultural Story
Despite the centrality to life of choice-making, to date no single comprehensive model exists that adequately explains how and why people make the myriad choices they do, every second of every day of their lives. In Born to Choose: A Biological and Cultural Story, John H. Falk builds such a model by synthesizing relevant research from the biological and social sciences. Falk shows how the complexities of human choice-making arose over long stretches of evolutionary time, in fact the full 3.7 billion years of life on Earth, as a means to maximize well-being, i.e., fitness. He argues that choice-making is an ancient, biological, and cultural mechanism, one that has undergone continuous refinement and retooling over the ages to accommodate the needs of ever more complex life forms living ever more complex lives. Although people often perceive choice-making as an almost linear, consciousness-driven process, it is actually an integrated, multi-step, largely unconscious system mediated by a person’s ever-changing self-perceptions. Born to Choose covers topics as diverse as thermoregulation, the immune system, social relationships, addiction, human evolution, leisure decision-making, and spirituality. What connects all of these topics in this readable and authoritative book is that each is a product of a human choice-self-well-being system.