Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life

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W. W. Norton & Company, Oct 5, 2009 - Philosophy - 352 pages
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“A landmark book in the science of emotions and its implications for ethics and human universals.”—Library Journal, starred review

In this startling study of human emotion, Dacher Keltner investigates an unanswered question of human evolution: If humans are hardwired to lead lives that are “nasty, brutish, and short,” why have we evolved with positive emotions like gratitude, amusement, awe, and compassion that promote ethical action and cooperative societies? Illustrated with more than fifty photographs of human emotions, Born to Be Good takes us on a journey through scientific discovery, personal narrative, and Eastern philosophy. Positive emotions, Keltner finds, lie at the core of human nature and shape our everyday behavior—and they just may be the key to understanding how we can live our lives better. Some images in this ebook are not displayed owing to permissions issues.
 

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User Review  - keely_chace - LibraryThing

Keltner has some good things to say. He makes some points that tend to renew one's faith in humanity. But overall, the writing in Born to Be Good is sort of academic and dry, and the conclusions seem ... Read full review

Contents

3
35
Survival
52
Embarrassment
74
Smile
97
7
104
Laughter
123
Tease
146
9
173
Love
199
11
213
Compassion
225
12
250
Notes
271
Text Acknowledgments
315
Index
321
Copyright

10
185

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About the author (2009)

Dacher Keltner is Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. He has taught social psychology for the past 21 years and is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award for Letters and Sciences. His research focuses on the prosocial emotions (such as love, sympathy, and gratitude), morality, and power. Other awards include the Western Psychological Association’s award for outstanding contribution to research, the Positive Psychology Prize for excellence in research, and the Distinguished Mentoring Award at UC Berkeley. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. In 2008, the Utne Reader listed Dacher as one of the 50 visionaries changing the world.

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