Tuesday, 9 March 2010


Finished March 8
The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society by Frans de Waal
The author is a biologist who uses his studies of social behaviours in animals as a basis for the study of empathy. He argues that empathy comes naturally to humans as well as many animals. Acknowledging that there is far more research that needs to be done, he nevertheless shows that there is a solid base for further research on a variety of animals.
While many have argued that humans are, by nature, selfish, looking out for themselves at the expense of others, de Waal argues against this, and makes a good case. Using examples from recent history and culture, he shows the human side of this story. The animal side is shown through his own research with chimpanzees and elephants as well as the research of many other biologists.
This is a compelling and hopeful book.

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