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The Village Effect: Why Face-to-Face Contact Is Good for Our Health, Happiness, Learning, and Longevity

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  606 ratings  ·  113 reviews
In her surprising and persuasive new book, award-winning author and psychologist Susan Pinker explores the crucial, long-standing but forgotten value of face-to-face contact in an age of ever-expanding online connection.
From birth to death, human beings are hard-wired to connect to other human beings. Social networks matter: tight bonds of friendship and love heal us, hel
Hardcover, 285 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Spiegel & Grau (first published October 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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Aug 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I wish that everyone who is addicted to social media and the internet could read this book. There is nothing wrong with social media, but we all need face-to-face contact as well. The message this book delivers is critical to our happiness and well being. I have experienced this first-hand recently. I took myself away from the computer and visited a distant cousin one afternoon. After our visit, I felt so good. We reminisced about our childhoods and I experienced the warmth of her smile. We can ...more
Aug 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Pinker connects some fairly disparate seeming facts: people in Sardinian villages have some of the world's longest lifespans; people with serious illnesses are more likely to survive, the more people they socialize with regularly; computers, ipads, and tablets in classrooms do not increase student performance; children who are read to learn more and develop better social skills. The connection she finds and argues for, with a dizzying array of experts and studies in support, is that face-to-face ...more

Besides being a well-written social psychology book, this spoke to an increasingly deep yearning in my life: to do a better job connecting with real people, face to face, who are part of my broader circle of friends.

Has the Internet given me unprecedented reach to others and ways of connecting with old friends I had lost touch with? Of course. But as Susan Pinker demonstrates, study after study have shown that meaningful personal contact can lengthen lifespan, increase children's ability to read
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
Did not manage to finish this book. The information is interesting enough, but its presentation is scattered and not compelling. I often disliked the way the author presented statistics, implying or claiming causation when there was no basis for anything but correlation. Face to face contact is great, and I was looking to arm myself to take up its banner with lots of facts presented as part of an entertaining, cohesive argument. Instead, I was slammed over the head with something like this. "On ...more
Eustacia Tan
Apr 23, 2015 rated it liked it
This book and I got off to a bad start. In the introduction, it said "it's illegal to buy or sell organs for transplantation everywhere in the world except Iran and Singapore." That led to about half an hour of frantic Googling, and yes, you're going to read about it next.


First, the Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA) says
Buying or selling of organs or
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating book that has helped me unravel the mystery of why my time in Mexico is so healing for me. I don't have the same life responsibilities there, have no tv and little availability of phone, so I am freed up to enjoy the smorgasbord of face-to-face contact that studies have shown extend life by "fortifying your immune system, calibrating your hormones, and rejigging how the genes that govern your behavior and resilience are expressed." I have the time to talk daily with my tight but di ...more
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Really great book explaining how face-to-face contact is important and how it's better than what happens through social media and emails.

You need peers to become a centenarian.

And introverts. Please read this. Introverts need people too.
May 02, 2018 rated it liked it
I’m going to stop reading this type of pseudo-science /psychology/ extended articles put into a book packaged just slightly differently to someone else’s book / podcast / article.
Unfortunately not much new and nothing I’ve not heard / Read about elsewhere in the past year.
Mano Chil
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: social-sciences
Such a joy to have read this book.

Connection, connection and connection. It's what keeps us away from depression and balanced.

No wonder females live longer than men because they priorities bonding and connecting deeply with their friends, family and during social events.

Although Pinker goes into technical details which is more than my taste, I highly recommend this book for the sanity of humanity.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Susan Pinker in The Village Effects sets out with the question: Does face-to-face contact make us healthier, happier, and smarter? Then she draws upon extensive research to show why the answer to that question is yes, yes, and yes.

Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting book about how meaningful social ties affect our lives, health and wellbeing.
Julie Hudson
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very interesting book - made special effort to talk to my children rather than text them and have been persuading Scott he needs to marry me for his own health benefits as well as my own. Let's live in a commune - it's good for our health, I like that idea. I liked that this book was peer reviewed by Stephen Pinker, Susan's brother and Daniel Pink (author of Drive) - what a lot of pinkness. ...more
I read/skimmed this book for my thesis paper.

The basic argument of this book is that people need face-to-face interaction. Unfortunately, today there is less and less relationship and community; instead there are virtual communities and online interactions on social media. These, however, don't cut it. Studies have shown that we need actual person-to-person (in real life) contact with others. If we do this, we will be smarter, healthier, and happier.
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Stumbled across this book while doing research on loneliness. Lots of food for thought...
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Second time reading this book. Read it when it first came out but thought it important to revisit with everything that's been going on. Susan Pinker illustrates the monumental importance of social contacts, especially face to face interactions. Given we are at a severe challenge of doing exactly that, I think it's worth considering that there are repercussions to all decisions. Interacting with others socially is not a simple luxury but a need which people have and not having it can have a sever ...more
May 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book because, being a social media user, I was curious about what the author had to say on this subject. I have to admit that by the end of it my little introverted self is actually looking forward to getting out there to meet more people. It's something that has wavered throughout my life, and while I'm one of those who feels she has a strong online support system, there's just something about face-to-face interaction that just can't be beat.

There were some sections of this bo
Oct 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sociology
The main idea in this book is that people need face-to-face contact with real people in order to be mentally healthy and happy. She gives a lot of research findings to back up her argument and there are plenty of references.

She says: “We know that the connection between social involvement and robust physical and mental health is no fluke and that the benefits of regular social contact are at least as powerful as regular exercise and healthy diet.… Though they prove that these factors are connect
Peter Herrmann
4-stars for research and presentation. 1-star for novelty of the info. 1-star for personal usefulness (to me). So, on average 2 stars. Most thinking people already know that humans are social animals, ergo socialization is good for many outcomes, and lack of it bad. For me (and no doubt some others), her message is akin to how-to-succeed in stocks: "buy low, sell high." Not practically useful. Being a life-long loner (eg, me) is a consequence of many factors (personality, genetics, nurture, reje ...more
Robert Chapman
Jan 10, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: society
Goodreads really should have a zero rating or an "avoid at all costs" rating. In absence of those ratings I had to give this book a one star as that is the lowest permitted. I am not a medical doctor, nor have I reviewed the numerous studies referenced by the authors in this book. That being said, my common sense BS alarm was screaming as I read this book.

The authors claims that studies shows that face to face contact can increase life span by up to 15 years and lead to illnesses recovering more
May 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Susan Pinker wrote a tremendously fascinating book. She investigates the link between an active social circle and its effect on health and longevity. She punches several sacred cows that deal with internet contact and how it fails to live up to it's grand claims. In the book a study was commissioned to explore the effect a parent's reassurances had to a child about an upcoming test. The most effect came from face-to-face interaction. The second from a phone call. Turns out a text message made pr ...more
Pam Mooney
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very insightful with research to back up topics presented. The conversational tone presents topics in a way all experience levels can comprehend. Whether you are researching the topic or a curious amateur this book delivers.
Leesa Charlotte
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-the-bookshelf
So many great insights! A must-read for anyone who works in community run organisations or management, but really for everyone!
Sep 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
So...I guess you get lucky in your home town, your family, and your personality, or you are out of luck?
Jun 09, 2019 rated it did not like it
I was so excited for this book, the wife of Steven Pinker writing about social science. Please. But no, this book is just bad science. Inconclusive and assumptive. Susan jumps to conclusions based on nothing but the idea that socialization is good, therefore the conclusion of any experiment must prove so. Certainly there must be some experiments that prove socialization can be detrimental for you health. Else the experiments are meaningless. If the result of every single experiment is positive, ...more
3.5 stars. This book is a compilation of the social neuroscience research on the benefits of in-person contact. Real connection is needed to thrive, and is associated with fighting infection, physiological resilience, living longer, learning, and happiness. Digital connection/social networking does not have the same benefits, but instead are associated with loneliness, depression, and less social engagement. The Village Effect encourages creating your own personal village of connection, includin ...more
Rodolfo de la Torre
Aug 12, 2017 rated it liked it
The perfect technophobe antidote to the tech craze right now. Basically a bunch of studies after studies after studies of face-to-face interaction being seen as our natural state (Of course) which people don't get enough of in our alienating modern world. She (the author) repeats herself about 1000 times regarding the same type of stuff she writes about and it made my head spin and have some trouble getting through the whole text without getting bored to bits. Though there are several very inter ...more
Leanne Hunt
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
This is a well-researched and wide-ranging book. At times, the studies quoted seem not to really speak to the topic, but then the author draws the threads together and shows why they matter. She also frames the studies within stories about people she knows, making it more reader-friendly and digestible. Overall, the content is clearly presented, making a strong case for face-to-face connection in a digital age.
To illustrate the life-changing power of the book, it made me not only think about how
Viktor Nilsson
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being a life-time computer nerd, not to say addict at times, I found this a refreshing read. Face-to-face contact obviously is very important for our well-being, and this book gave me a lot of aha-moments. Reading this book, I even decided to take steps to change parts of my life. That being said, I still can't give this book five stars: The introduction is way too slow and repetitive, and the narration of the audiobook version is not smooth, kind of robot-like. Also, while Pinker is careful to ...more
tonia peckover
Jul 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Exactly what I needed at this stage of my life: solid evidence that face to face relationships matter and are worth the effort. There is a lot of data here but it's tucked in along compelling anecdotes. A worthwhile read!

"Daily face-to-face contact with a tight group of friends and family helps you live longer - by fortifying your immune system, calibrating your hormones, and rejigging how the genes that govern your behavior and resilience are expressed. But not just any social contact will do.
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Susan Pinker is a developmental psychologist who writes about social science.

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“Few see looking after others as therapeutic for the person who does the caretaking, or consider community involvement as therapeutic as drugs. Yet there is mounting evidence that a rich network of face-to-face relationships creates a biological force field against disease.” 7 likes
“Yet research shows that skill in reading, writing, and arithmetic, academic standing in high school, scores on college entrance tests and much more besides, are linked to sitting down to family dinner. The more meals you eat with your child, the larger the child’s vocabulary and the higher his or her grades, an effect that is exaggerated in girls. From” 3 likes
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