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The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness

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3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  112 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
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 o ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published January 4th 2010 by W. W. Norton Company
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Shel
Nov 25, 2011 Shel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of 35 scholarly essays from Greater Good Magazine, greatergoodmag.org, a product of the Greater Good Science Center, at the University of Berkeley a "...research center devoted to the scientific understanding of happy and compassionate individuals, strong social bonds, and altruistic behavior."

Part One: The Scientific Roots of Human Goodness
The good news:
• Science says it's in the nature of humans to be kind.
• We can learn to respond in more compassionate ways.
Notable: "Hope on the
...more
Volkan
May 14, 2013 Volkan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology, for-nada
I feel very lucky to be exposed to the ideas I found in this book. It's nothing less than a scientific examination of altruism, heroism and human virtue. None of the ideas are new –– if you've read The Lord of the Rings, you know them by heart already –– but what is new is the authors' exacting search for the scientific basis of these behaviors. In doing so, the authors form coherent arguments to contradict many of the cynical assumptions about the human nature, from the effectiveness of Machiav ...more
Kim
Apr 19, 2014 Kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As much as I learned and was inspired by some, there were others that bored me to tears or didn't have enough substance. I wish citations had been used to add more credibility to the essays.

Essays worth reading: Hope on the Battlefield; Pay It Forward; Love, Honor, and Thank; Are You a Jerk at Work? ; The Power Paradox

...all in all, made me reflect about gratitude and incorporate it into everyday ritual.
Sally
Feb 13, 2013 Sally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of articles reporting on scientific evidence for human beings having compassionate instincts, as a counterwight to the usual emphasis on inborn agression and hostility. Some are most concerned with the scientific findings, others with ways to cultivate human goodness individually and culturally. 3-1/2 stars.
Kevin McAllister
Dec 30, 2009 Kevin McAllister rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elvis Costello once posed the question what's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding. After reading The Compassionate Instinct I can't help but wonder why isn't there more peace love and understanding
Daniel
Jun 09, 2016 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book about the science of virtue. Actually kindness, empathy, compassion, and even heroism has its place in society. Also people who display these wonderful qualities do better in life. This is a great counterbalance to the image often portrayed in the media nowadays!
Marc
Jul 06, 2010 Marc rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had a tough time getting through this book. In the end, I did not buy the premise and felt it was shaping the narrative to fit its agenda.
Karen
Dec 21, 2016 Karen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
#UnderstandingOppression

The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness by Dacher Keltner #truth #hope
Caitlin
Feb 16, 2010 Caitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5-4 stars.
Briana
Jul 12, 2012 Briana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing read of short ideas that come together to give hope in the character & values of humans in ways maybe not considered before. Very fascinating ideas!
Lisa
Jun 28, 2013 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read. Just finished it!
Linda
Apr 17, 2010 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
some personal stories some research about what it means to be empathic, compassionate and ethical
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Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, director of the Greater Good Science Center, and coeditor of Greater Good magazine. His research focuses on pro-social emotions, power, and moral reasoning."
More about Dacher Keltner...

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