You Need to Know Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers

I strongly recommend two one-hour audios.  Neither is directly about planning, start-ups, or business stories, but both are fun, extremely interesting, and really important.  This is stuff you need to know.

If you’re running a business, or you’re starting a business, or you’re teaching business, then you need to know about stress, dealing with stress, and stress-related diseases.  And there’s no better way than these two lectures by Dr. Robert Sapolsky, who teaches at Stanford University.  Ideally, get out of the office, take a walk, and plug into this. Each is a few minutes short of an hour:

  • Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers
  • Stress and Coping: What Baboons Can Teach Us

As a tidbit, so you believe me and listen to the two lectures, Dr. Sapolsky at one point describes a series of studies subjecting rats to stressful events.  Rats suffered less stress when they had a block of wood to chew on (a hobby).  Rats suffered less stress when they had a smaller rat to be mean to (gulp).  At another point, he talks about how studies in monkeys show that putting a monkey in a new cage is stressful, but it’s less stressful if there’s another monkey that the first monkey recognizes, and more stressful if there’s a new strange monkey in the new cage.  Monkeys apparently suffer stress when subjected to strange groups of monkeys, but the worst stress is when they have no contact with other monkeys at all.

Both of these are available for free at the Stanford on iTunes section of the iTunes store. If you haven’t installed the free iTunes software, I’m sorry, but this is worth it.  You don’t need a Macintosh or even an iPod, but it does take iTunes.  I hope that doesn’t generate stress.  So please go to the Apple iTunes store and search for Stanford, and the health series, and find these two recorded lectures.

And okay, for anybody who really doesn’t want to install iTunes, here they are downloadable by right-clicking the mouse and saving target as a file on your computer. You should go to iTunes, they are free there too, but just in case:

— Tim


  • Inna says:

    Thanks a lot. I just got it! I already enjoining listening…
    As soon as finish with ulcers I’ll start working on business planning. I promise.
    Have a happy holidays and thank you for your site.

    By the way, nice background is on your picture.

  • Inna says:

    Hi Tim,
    I was browsing web for that info regarding “zebras with no ulcers” (our biochem prof @ YorkU, Toronto recommended us to read) and I was really glad to see your links to the R.Sapolsky’s lectures. However I didn’t manage to open them on iTunes. Do you know what I might did wrong?
    Sorry for bothering you with such a trivial matter but I would greatly appreciate your help.
    Thank you.

    • Tim Berry says:

      I’m sorry Inna, the file locations have changed since July of 2007 when those file names were first posted. I’ve corrected that, so you can click on them to download now. You can also find them on the Apple iTunes store by searching for Sapolsky. For that, you have to have the iTunes application (it’s free, and easy to find at installed. Open it on your computer and go to the iTunes store, then use the search facility there.

  • dScribe says:

    I was just looking at your information on Business Plans and I am very grateful for your work. Way to go!!!

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