is a Professor at
In the almost fifty years since the publication of Eric Berne's bestselling book Games People Play we have made
significant progress in our understanding of human relationships. In Games Primates Play, Dario Maestripieri
integrates theories and data from evolutionary biology and behavioral economics to explain the way people
behave toward their romantic or business partners, their friends or family members. And he shows that when
it comes to social relationships, human beings didn't invent anything new: other primates play exactly the same
Watch Dario Maestripieri talk about Games Primates
Play on WTTW Chicago Tonight
Praise for Games Primates Play
"At the end of the day, there is no social interaction of humans that does not bear the imprint of our being a
species of animal, of primate, of ape. In this smart and witty book, one of our finest primatologists,
Dario Maestripieri, gives a tour of human social behavior and its primate legacy. A fun, insightful read."
- Robert Sapolsky, author of Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, Monkeyluv, and A Primate's Memoir
"There's a new
maestro on the block, and he's written a great book.
When a chimp strays into a strange troop,
why is he at risk of getting his testicles ripped off? Whose eyeballs is a capuchin monkey most likely to poke?
How would a long-tail macaque take over Microsoft? Read Dario Maestripieri, and capisce..."
- Laura Betzig, author of Despotism and Differential Reproduction: A Darwinian View of History
"Generally, junior professors write long and
unsolicited emails to senior professors, who reply
with short ones
after a delay; the juniors then reply quickly and at length. This is not because the seniors are busier, for
they, too, write longer and more punctually when addressing their deans and funders, who reply more
briefly and tardily. The asymmetry in length and speed of reply correlates with dominance. When a
subordinate chimpanzee grooms a dominant one, it often does so for a long time and unsolicited.
When it requests to be groomed in turn, it receives only a brief grooming and usually after having to ask
a second time. This gorgeous little juxtaposition of tales comes from a new book by Dario Maestripieri
.... which is devoted to ramming home a lesson that we all seem very reluctant to learn: that much of our
behavior, however steeped in technology, is entirely predictable to primatologists. .. Dr. Maestripieri then
offers a fascinating analysis of the conundrum of peer review in science .... Dr. Maestripieri's most
intriguing chapter is entitled 'Cooperate in the spotlight, compete in the dark. He describes how people,
like monkeys, can be angels of generosity when all eyes are on them, but devils of spite in private."
Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist:
How Prosperity Evolves, Genome,
The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature, The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and
the Evolution of Cooperation, The Agile Gene: How Nature Turns on Nurture
"Engaging... Maestripieri offers solid grounding
in the basics of animal behavior while discussing
evolutionary roots of complex social patterns. The behaviors he focuses on are both critical and fascinating:
sexual choice, dominance relationships, the nature of altruism and selfishness, and coalition building,
"Maestripieri has analyzed human and primate
behavior patterns -- the "games" individuals play
other -- and shows us the similarities to other primates in this fascinating survey. Using wonderful comparative
studies and conversational language, Maestripieri brings us back to our primate roots so that we can better
understand why we do the things we do."
"Evolutionary biologist Dario Maestripieri uncovers
the roots of human social behaviour using
behavioural science and economics. Reasoning that social selective pressures are similar in humans and
other primates - and roping in 'rational' models such as game theory - he examines everyday situations from
multiple perspectives. Whether scoping out the 'elevator dilemma' of sharing a confined space with strangers,
the human tendency to nepotism, or the 'economics of love', Maestripieri argues his case compellingly."
"This informative and provocative work is a major
contribution to understanding and appreciating the
and behavior of humankind."
- Library Journal
"Just how our biology drives behaviour is the
subject of numerous books, but Maestripieri does a
job of bringing something fresh to his analysis... Games Primates Play is an interesting, funny and engaging
study of human nature."
- The New Scientist
"Behavioral biologist Dario Maestripieri launches
from this example into a spirited, insightful
explores the ways our interpersonal relationships resemble those of our primate cousins, suggesting
evolutionary roots for a range of social behaviors including nepotism, cultivating friends, and climbing the
- Discover Magazine
"Even decked in cultural finery, people make monkeys
of themselves. Maestripieri, a veteran monkey
investigator, builds a fascinating and occasionally disturbing case for fundamental similarities in the social
shenanigans of people, apes, and monkeys due to a shared evolutionary heritage."
- Science News
Praise for Dario Maestripieri's "Macachiavellian Intelligence:
How Rhesus Macaques and Humans Have Conquered the World."
“Macachiavellian Intelligence provides
deep insights into the fascinating psychology of both rhesus
macaques and humans. Written in an engaging style with gripping examples that highlight key principles, it
gives readers a profound understanding of the things we all care about—sex, status, dominance, aggression,
kin, cooperation, and conflict. Macachiavellian Intelligence is a must-read for anyone interested in the
strategies we primates use to navigate the complexities of social living.”
<David M. Buss, author of The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating and The Murderer
Next Door: Why the Mind is Designed to Kill>
"Dario Maestripieri has spent more than 20 years
studying rhesus macaques; he knows what he is talking
about. Maestripieri tells the story with incisive prose, sharp wit and admirable brevity. He also has perfect
timing. The idea that our human brains evolved largely to deal with the demands of society is very much in
<Alison Jolly, The Times - Higher Education Supplement>
"Primate books are good for us. They remind us that we're primates, too. And the
books are best. Macachiavellian Intelligence is an excellently embarassing primate book, and just
the thing to make us blush and shuffle our feet."
<Michael Bywater, The Telegraph>