The Molecule of More
How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity – and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race
Why are we obsessed with the things we want and bored when we get them?
Why is addiction perfectly logical to an addict?
Why does love change so quickly from passion to indifference?
Why are some people diehard liberals and others hardcore conservatives, no matter the argument against them?
Why are we always hopeful for solutions even in the darkest times—and so good at figuring them out?
The answer is found in a single chemical in your brain: dopamine. Dopamine ensured the survival of early man. Thousands of years later, it is the source of our most basic behaviors and cultural ideas—and progress itself.
Dopamine is the chemical of desire that always asks for more—more stuff, more stimulation, and more surprises.
It is undeterred by emotion, fear, or morality.
It is why we seek and succeed; it is why we discover and prosper.
Yet it’s also why we gamble and squander.
From dopamine’s point of view, it’s not the having that matters. It’s getting something—anything—that’s new. From this, we can understand in a revolutionary new way why we behave as we do in love, business, addiction, politics, religion – and we can even predict those behaviors in ourselves and others.
The Molecule of More explains how dopamine impacts and drives different aspects of your life including:
Why is it so difficult to transition from a dating relationship to something permanent? Is there a way to make it easier? Explore the connection between dopamine and romantic love – and the chasm that must be crossed to making love stay.
Find out what makes dopaminergic people more ambitious than others, how to leverage that neurochemical ability, and what every busy person can do to make life beyond the office more satisfying.
Understanding how dopamine’s pursuit of more can become all-consuming helps us get inside the mind of those struggling with addiction to see why, to an addict, addiction seems “perfectly logical.”
Learn the dopamine-driven reason why some people are more creative than others, which is also why creative types are often a little more forgetful, even “scatter-brained” than others, too. If you’re creative or just want to be, learn how to better access your gift.
Dopamine makes us want more, but life is more than pursuit and ambition. Learn easy ways to balance the dopamine-driven life with the pleasures of what’s around us in the here and now.
Why is politics so vicious, and why now? The Molecule of More identifies the neurochemical difference between liberals and conservatives, how it orients both left and right toward certain kinds of beliefs, and why, whatever your politics, the “other side” never seems to “get it.”
Jim Watson, who deciphered the genetic code, famously said, ‘There are only molecules; the rest is sociology,’ adding fuel to C. P. Snow’s complaint that Science and the humanities are two fundamentally different “cultures” which will never meet. The authors argue provocatively, yet convincingly, that the molecule that allows us to bridge the chasm between them is dopamine. Though written for ordinary people, the narrative is sprinkled throughout with dazzling new insights that will appeal equally to specialists.
As a guy who creates musical stuff for a living and reads science books for kicks, I was doubly hooked by The Molecule of More. Lieberman and Long lay out the astoundingly wide-ranging effects of dopamine with nimble metaphors and fat-free sentences. And the research linking creativity and madness, with dopamine as the hidden culprit—let’s just say it hit home. Reading each chapter, I felt myself fitting a key smoothly into a locked door, opening onto a fresh-yet-familiar room.
Why do we crave what we don’t have rather than feel good about what we do—and why do fools fall in love? Haunting questions of human biology are answered by The Molecule of More, a must-read about the human condition.
Daniel Lieberman and Michael Long have pulled off an amazing feat. They have made a biography of a neurotransmitter a riveting read. Once you understand the power and peril of dopamine, you’ll better understand the human condition itself.
Meet a molecule whose fingerprint rests upon every aspect of human nature — from desire and drugs to politics and progress. Lieberman and Long tell the epic saga of dopamine as a page-turner that you simply can’t put down.
I’ve worked as an artist for forty years, and the question ‘Why am I like this?’ has been a puzzle, a mystery, a plea, and an occasional cry to the heavens. Lieberman and Long have created a road map for all those wrestling between insatiable longing and the here and now.