The author's country, Norway, tops international lists as to happiness - yet half the population suffers at some point with serious mental problems. Other industrialized countries are no better. Present societies cater to our bodily requirements, but not our mental needs.
The zookeeper has realized that in order to allow animals to thrive, it is important to create conditions that fit with the innate propensities of each species. The "human zookeepers" have apparently failed to see that the same principles apply to our own species. The prevalence of mental issues, along with the other diseases of civilization, suggest that our way of life is not optimal.
Bjørn Grinde has travelled the globe to study and learn from people who live in alternative ways. His interest in how to create suitable conditions for humans to flourish has led him to ecovillages, monasteries, and tribal people on four continents. The book is a personal journey, but with the perspective of a scientist: How can we improve our human zoo in order to give all people a chance to find happiness.