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The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Societyby Frans De Waal
Synopses & Reviews
"An important and timely message about the biological roots of human kindness."
—Desmond Morris, author of The Naked Ape
Are we our brothers' keepers? Do we have an instinct for compassion? Or are we, as is often assumed, only on earth to serve our own survival and interests? In this thought-provoking book, the acclaimed author of Our Inner Ape examines how empathy comes naturally to a great variety of animals, including humans.
By studying social behaviors in animals, such as bonding, the herd instinct, the forming of trusting alliances, expressions of consolation, and conflict resolution, Frans de Waal demonstrates that animals–and humans–are "preprogrammed to reach out." He has found that chimpanzees care for mates that are wounded by leopards, elephants offer "reassuring rumbles" to youngsters in distress, and dolphins support sick companions near the water's surface to prevent them from drowning. From day one humans have innate sensitivities to faces, bodies, and voices; we've been designed to feel for one another.
De Waal's theory runs counter to the assumption that humans are inherently selfish, which can be seen in the fields of politics, law, and finance, and whichseems to be evidenced by the current greed-driven stock market collapse. But he cites the public's outrage at the U.S. government's lack of empathy in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as a significant shift in perspective–one that helped Barack Obama become elected and ushered in what may well become an Age of Empathy. Through a better understanding of empathy's survival value in evolution, de Waal suggests, we can work together toward a more just society based on a more generous and accurate view of human nature.
Written in layman's prose with a wealth of anecdotes, wry humor, and incisive intelligence, The Age of Empathy is essential reading for our embattled times.
From the Hardcover edition.
Discover the Six Habits of Highly Empathic People
Popular speaker and co-founder of The School of Life, Roman Krznaric has traveled the world researching and lecturing on the subject of empathy. In this lively, engaging book, he argues that our brains are wired for social connection. Empathy, not apathy or self-centeredness, is at the heart of who we are. Despite a focus on introspection, its the opposite what he calls outrospection” that we must develop in order to thrive in the twenty-first century. By looking outward and attempting to identify with the experiences of others, Krznaric argues that we can become not only a more equal society, but also a happier and more creative one.
Through encounters with groundbreaking actors, activists, designers, nurses, bankers and neuroscientists, Krznaric defines a new breed of adventurer. He sets out the six life-enhancing habits of highly empathic people, whose skills enable them to connect with others in extraordinary ways making themselves, and the world, truly happier.
About the Author
FRANS DE WAAL is a Dutch-born biologist who lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. One of the world's best-known primatologists, de Waal is C. H. Candler professor of psychology and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. In 2007, Time selected him as one of the World's 100 Most Influential People.
From the Hardcover edition.
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