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The Compassionate Instinct : The Science of Human Goodness
Leading scientists and science writers reflect on the life-changing, perspective-changing, new science of human goodness.
In these pages you will hear from Steven Pinker, who asks, "Why is there peace?"; Robert Sapolsky, who examines violence among primates; Paul Ekman, who talks with the Dalai Lama about global compassion; Daniel Goleman, who proposes "constructive anger"; and many others. Led by renowned psychologist Dacher Keltner, the Greater Good Science Center, based at the University of California in Berkeley, has been at the forefront of the positive psychology movement, making discoveries about how and why people do good. Four times a year the center publishes its findings with essays on forgiveness, moral inspiration, and everyday ethics in Greater Good magazine. The best of these writings are collected here for the first time.
A collection of personal stories and empirical research, The Compassionate Instinct will make you think not only about what it means to be happy and fulfilled but also about what it means to lead an ethical and compassionate life.
Keltner (research director & cofounder, Greater Good Science Ctr., Univ. of California-Berkeley; Born To Be Good) and editors of Greater Good magazine Jason Marsh and Jeremy Adam Smith compile 35 short articles from the publication, beginning with scientific roots, taking up interpersonal relationships, and ending with society and politics. The short, accessible essays-with no references or bibliography-underscore empathy, forgiveness, gratitude, happiness, trust, and apology. Contributors include Jonathan Haidt, Alfie Kohn, Daniel Goleman, Meredith Maran, Steven Pinker, and Desmond Tutu. While encouraging, this collection is not Pollyannaish: experiments reveal the noxious effects of increased power, the ease with which people slip into bully and victim roles, and the difficulty of empathizing with strangers or with masses suffering as opposed to the grief of individuals. Dave Grossman's findings on soldiers' reluctance to kill, training methods used to bypass conscience, and the increase of post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans make a startling, important, optimistic statement about compassion. Verdict A readable digest of current work in positive psychology for a general audience.-E. James Lieberman, George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, DC Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
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W. W. Norton & Company
January 03, 2010
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