By Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, professor of business psychology at University College London in the UK, and CEO at Hogan Assessments. He is an international authority in psychological profiling, consumer analytics and talent management.
Most people consider biology and culture to be separate and distinct from one another. They are the bastions of nature and nurture, respectively, and discussions about whether leadership, talent, and creativity are “born” or “made” highlight this perspective.
In his insightful book Cultural DNA, author Gurnek Bains adopts a much “bigger picture” approach by exploring and explaining the connections between human biology and culture. In particular, the book illustrates the historical influence of our DNA in shaping cultures across the world. Authoritative and thoroughly-researched, Cultural DNA is a must-read book for anyone who is interested in, and asking deeper questions about, the origins of modern cultures.
All too often, conversations about this topic are superficial and confined to what is considered to be common sense, but Bains does an excellent job of digging deeper to explain the biological origins of the modern rules that govern everyday life in different parts of the world. He achieves this through the combination of his academic expertise, psychological insight (his background as a doctor in clinical psychology endows him with an unusual sensitivity when it comes to discussing human behaviour), and his underlying understanding of business and politicals.
Gurnek Bains comes across as being somewhere between a modern entrepreneur and an old-school intellectual, and Cultural DNA will provoke a timely and much needed debate about the evolution of social life.