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Cover for The Compassionate Instinct

The Compassionate Instinct

The Science of Human Goodness

Dacher Keltner (Editor), Jason Marsh (Editor), Jeremy Adam Smith (Editor)


List Price: 17.95*
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Leading scientists and science writers reflect on the life-changing, perspective-changing, new science of human goodness.

Where once science painted humans as self-seeking and warlike, today scientists of many disciplines are uncovering the deep roots of human goodness. At the forefront of this revolution in scientific understanding is the Greater Good Science Center, based at the University of California, Berkeley. The center fuses its cutting-edge research with inspiring stories of compassion in action in Greater Good magazine. The best of these writings are collected here, and contributions from Steven Pinker, Robert Sapolsky, Paul Ekman, Michael Pollan, and the Dalai Lama, among others, will make you think not only about what it means to be happy and fulfilled but also what it means to lead an ethical and compassionate life.

Praise For The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness

The short, accessible essays…underscore empathy, forgiveness, gratitude, happiness, trust, and apology…A readable digest of current work in positive psychology for a general audience.
— Library Journal

[T]his collection stimulates serious reflection.
— Booklist

W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393337280, 336pp.

Publication Date: January 4, 2010

About the Author

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.

Jason Marsh is an editor of Greater Good magazine. He lives in Berkeley, CA.

Jeremy Adam Smith is the senior editor of Greater Good magazine and the author of The Daddy Shift. He lives in San Francisco.