Born to be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2009 - Psychology - 336 pages
3 Reviews
In Born to Be Good, Dacher Keltner demonstrates that humans are not hardwired to lead lives that are "nasty, brutish, and short"—we are in fact born to be good. He investigates an old mystery of human evolution: why have we evolved positive emotions like gratitude, amusement, awe, and compassion that promote ethical action and are the fabric of cooperative societies?

By combining stories of scientific discovery, personal narrative, and Eastern philosophy, Keltner illustrates his discussions with more than fifty photographs of human emotions. Born to Be Good is a profound study of how emotion is the key to living the good life and how the path to happiness goes through human emotions that connect people to one another.

 

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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

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Good stuff in this book. Although some chapter did drag. I particularly like the chapters on Embarrassment, Smiles, Tease & Touch. I found myself talking about the subjects a lot and sharing the stuff I learned. Other chapter were a little dull and I found them hard to push through. All in all an interesting read if you like sociology & evolutionary psychology.  

Selected pages

Contents

Jen Science
3
Darwins Joys
16
Rational Irrationality
35
Survival of the Kindest
52
Embarrassment
74
Smile
97
Laughter
123
Tease
146
Love
199
Compassion
225
Awe
250
Notes
271
Text Acknowledgments
315
Illustration Acknowledgments
317
Index
321
Copyright

Touch
173

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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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