In this thought-provoking book, the acclaimed author of Our Inner Ape examines how empathy comes naturally to a great variety of animals, including humans. Frans de Waal, director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta, believes that it’s just as natural to. The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society is the last in a long line of books and papers Frans de Waal (, ,

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Kant praised compassion as “beautiful” yet considered it irrelevant to a virtuous life. This is a compelling and hopeful book. The invisible hand, however, did nothing to prevent the appalling survival-of-the-fittest scenes in New Orleans. He is also pleasingly opinionated; he seems to have columnist aspirations of his own, and his frequent — usually thoughtful and balanced, occasionally facile — digressions on morality and U. But then, it often takes a look in the rear view mirror twenty years later to see what was happening as we lived through it.

The e-word even slipped into the infamous “greed speech” of Gordon Gekko, the ruthless corporate raider played by Michael Douglas in the movie Wall Street: Cross cultural studies claim female brains are more hardwired for empathy but men can be just as empathetic as women.

To one of my clients who exemplifies “unconscious synchrony” I recommended chapter three. Many of the tested chimps spontaneously came to help the person by picking up the item and handing it to them.

This book was enlightening to me, especially because of some of the recent events that have engulfed modern empqthy. It will refuse to do its job in the face of such inequity.

Frans de Waal’s The Age of Empathy.

Frans de Waal really opens our eyes to the true meaning of evolution and he does so in a noncondescending yet completely brilliant manner. No other book has attempted to cover this ground. Come to think of it, this also reflects a distrust of government, not so much big government but rather the short-sightedness of most politicians.


When someone smiles, we smile; when they yawn, we yawn; emotion is contagious. Few topics are as timely to the understanding of the human mind and behavior. It is also a, perhaps unintentionally, negative assertion. Food possessors are often approached by others with an outstretched hand a gesture that is also the universal way humans ask for a handout.

The reality of empathy. And he makes huge leaps between observation “I once saw a monkey give another monkey a hug” and lessons for mankind “the election of Barack Obama is ushering in a new era of cooperation and mankind is on the brink of a new evolutionary step of civilization! He writes clearly and plays fair; he takes on the strongest arguments against him and is quick to acknowledge complexity.

Through a better understanding of empathy’s survival value in evolution, de Waal suggests, we can work together toward a more just society based on a more generous and accurate view of human nature.

The Age of Empathy by Frans de Waal | : Books

Even worse is baboon parenting. Listen to your inner ape. Refresh and try again. Wilson was showered with cold water after e,pathy lecture on the connection between animal and human behavior.

Empathy is the process by which we gather information about someone else. When the whale finally realized she was free, she swam in a large circle and nuzzled each diver in succession, evidently thanking them for their help.

The next layer is feeling for others, our sympathetic response when we see another’s predicament. Professor de Waal is fair and even handed. If a chimpanzee has lost its child, other chimpanzees will spend a lot more time grooming it.

Every once in a while, when your heart is heavy with all the fighting and hatred and envy and competition and the nastiness of your fellow humans, it is good to read about the kindness of other animals besides man.

De Waal describes a band of baboons that crossed a flooded patch of the Okavango Delta in Botswana, only to look back and see that their offspring had been marooned on the patch of land they left behind.

The author outlines examples from the animal world that show these characteristics to be anything but unique. They couldn’t see their own capacity to change the situation. The notion of “pure reason” is pure fiction.


De Waal thus concludes that feelings, emotions and even altruism occur on a continuum stretching at a minimum from monkeys to apes to humans, becoming more nuanced and complex going from monkey to humans. Throughout the book, de Waal illustrates how behaving more like our wild mammalian cousins may just save humanity.

Most notably, this book concludes that there are two hands guiding human society: It’s and I’m still waiting to see the signs. Two main threads of thought emerge from this correspondence: His writing style encouraged that, with his 1,2,3 listing of important points, a delightfully clarifying approach.

Jun 13, Arash Kamangir rated it it was amazing. That said, the idea that the majority of our most exalted virtues have parallels throughout the animal kingdoms and is an essential part of the evolutionary mechanism bodes very well indeed.

We are experiencing technical difficulties. The results held even when the experimenters increased the cost of helping, by requiring the chimps to climb a platform to retrieve the stick. They eventually empsthy they had to treat villages as a whole as the social unit, facilitating their taking care of each other, rather than helping individuals.

Rfans middle of the book I read like a novel, loving the stories of the animals he and his colleagues have known. Marxism is founded on an illusion of culturally engineered human.

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. De Waal, whose office sits perched atop the perimeter of a chimpanzee compound, has written extensively about the mutable hierarchies, loyal alliances, and intensely complicated politics of chimpanzee life.

Sep 01, Laura rated it really liked it Shelves: Similarly in the east, surrounded by native primates in India and China, religions don’t draw a sharp line between humans and other animals.