Book: Four-Fifths a Grizzly

Four-Fifths a Grizzly (Patagonia, $28) by Douglas Chadwick changed my perspective on the behavior of grizzly bears. Chadwick, a renowned writer for National Geographic, has studied grizzlies for years. Watching them out in the wild, he saw that their habits of playing games, contemplating tasks, and caring for their young are not all that different from human conduct. Perhaps more interesting is the genetic similarity between humans and grizzlies, which is where Chadwick’s title comes in—our DNA is 80% the same as a grizzly bear’s. Throughout the book, Chadwick lays out scientific evidence while simultaneously telling personal stories—a technique that makes absorbing the nitty-gritty information both easy and entertaining. Four-Fifths a Grizzly challenges the reader to think more about our closeness with other species and to nature itself, an intimacy that seems to be lost on far too many people.