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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If a chimpanzee has lost its child, other chimpanzees will spend a lot more time grooming it.

In this superb book, he shows how we are not the only species with elements of those cognitive capacities, empathy is as much about affect as cognition, and our empathic humanity has roots far deeper than our human-ness. I did not have a kindle back when I read these 3 books Yet in some ways we seem to be moving ever closer to a society with no solidarity whatsoever, one in which a lot of people can expect the short end of the stick.

They prefer an every-man-for-himself logic. Includes sketches that complement the excellent narrative. Sep 19, Francisco rated it it was amazing. 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. All of this makes perfect sense, given that chimpanzees live in groups for a reason, the same way wolves and humans are group animals for a reason.

Humanity’s deepest wish is to spread the wealth. For instance, how can we mesh capitalism, based on the idea that the selfish actions of individuals can create a greater good, with our knowledge that selfishness is not the natural state of humanity? But possession is only part of the story.

It is a powerful emotional argument to claim that a species is close to us and share our emotional inner life, but it is also discrimination. In the end, usually within twenty minutes, all of the chimpanzees in the group will have some food. They were all dead serious.

He makes a very convincing argument th A lot of people assume that humans are naturally selfish see: Two main threads of thought emerge from this correspondence: From day one humans have innate sensitivities to faces, bodies, and voices; we’ve been designed to feel for one another. Niceness is a refinement.


Frans de Waal is almost em;athy turning upside down the long-held notion of humans and other animals as supremely selfish, concerned only with their own survival, and waal survival of their offspring. By way of example, de Waal offers up Enron CEO Jeff Skilling, who was infamous for his brutal treatment of his own employees, never mind his exploitative approach to his company’s shareholders and regulators.

In summary, this was a solid accessible book. There are some statements that resonate and leave a mark. The Other Darwinism, 3.

The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society

But then, it often takes a look in the rear view mirror twenty years later to see what was happening as aaal lived through franz. One researcher showed that if baboons lose a family member to a predator sometimes being forced to hear their kin’s bones crunchedother baboons won’t groom it more.

Jan 14, Patrick rated it it was amazing Shelves: When push comes to shove, groups do not hesitate to eliminate another! Emppathy are a generous people, yet raised with the mistaken belief that the “invisible hand” of the free market-a metaphor introduced by the same Adam Smith-will take care of society’s woes.

Another enlightening bit came in his conclusion where he described why religion has such a hard time accepting evolution. Dans la savane, le lion mange les animaux!

Greater openness to parallels with animals makes life easier for the biologist, hence my decision to go to the next level and see if biology can shed light on human society.

Frans de Waal’s The Age of Empathy.

Written in layman’s prose with a wealth of anecdotes, wry humor, and incisive intelligence, The Age of Empathy is essential reading for our embattled times. View all 5 comments. The importance of mimicry. About Frans de Waal.

It is put like a Russian doll. What we need is a complete overhaul of assumptions about human nature. Shouldn’t the president have broken off his vacation? What are they going to compare it with? It is written in simple, accessible language and is positively stuffed with provocative ideas and anecdotal stories. He does an excellent job providing empirical research evidence that demonstrates that many species, particularly the great Reading this book constantly reminded me of our arrogance to consider that animals are not conscious, feeling beings.


In this superb book, he shows how we are not the only species with elements of those cognitive capacities, empathy is as much about affect as cognition, and our empathic humanity has roots far deeper than our human-ness. Another concept that de Waal focuses on is “motivational autonomy,” by which he means, the fact that just because a behavior evolved for reason X, doesn’t mean that when an individual exhibits that behavior, it is for reason X, and even further, it doesn’t mean that reason X is the only legitimate reason for practicing the behavior.

He doesn’t present enough scientific I read this for our “science book club” meeting, and we all agreed that this book was not up to snuff. Of course they are—they are accumulated bits of psychic life thrown together over millions of years by evolution with no oversight or quality control about what they actually feel like. This applies most definitely to pack hunters, such as wolves or killer whales, but also to our closest relatives, the primates.

The endeavor has majesty. No trivia or quizzes yet. Consider the baboon, an Old World monkey. 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.

Is the evolutionary spirit really all about greed, as Gekko claimed, or is there more to it?

The Age of Empathy

Sep 07, Pages Buy. He then challenged every single reason they could come up with for their rejection of incest until his subjects ran out of reasons. Jun 13, Jenni Holland rated it it was amazing.

It relates to health care, education, justice, and-as illustrated by Katrina-protection against nature. De Waal once watched off chimpanzee give birth, standing upright with her hands cupped beneath ready to catch her baby.