In Born to Be Good, Dacher Keltner demonstrates that humans are not hardwired to lead lives that are “nasty, brutish, and short”—we are in fact born to be good. Antony van Leeuwenhoek changed how we look at the natural world. Born in Delft, the Netherlands, in , he came from a family of brewers. In Born to Be Good, Dacher Keltner demonstrates that humans are not hardwired to lead lives that are “nasty, brutish, and short”-we are in fact.

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Born to Be Good | W. W. Norton & Company

It is linked gopd our survival to be good to each other. It was very enlightenin Religious history tells us that we are born of original sin and we need the help of a supreme being to help us be good and find salvation.

Keltnsr are much better accounts of our evolutionary nature than this, including Michael Shermer’s Science of Good and Evil and anything by Steven Pinker.

Those activities are subjective as a beautiful sunset, exercising, religion or to psychotic behavior.

Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life by Dacher Keltner

But that’s not what I got. Sorry, that person’s shelf is private. If nothing else, this book should make you feel more optimistic about the present and future state of humanity. That’s the power of belief. It occasionally ventured into territory that seemed so optimistic as to leave me wondering if things could possibly be as positive as he was asserting, but in every chapter usually several times a chapter Keltner brings in specific studies often done by himself personally to test his assertions.


In fact, Darwin theorized in the 19th century that compassion was a result of natural and sexual selection. Then another chapter on smiles. He makes some points that tend to renew one’s faith in humanity. If interested in more on this I suggest the following books: His research focuses on the prosocial emotions such as love, sympathy, and gratitudemorality, and power. Given the wonderful introductory chapter, this was a definite let down.

Born to Be Good: Some of it gets a little dry and boring, but it is very uplifting to read of biological evidence of how “fearfully and wonderfully made” we are not only as phy The author, a professor at UC Berkeley, explains how he and his students and other researchers are demonstrating that positive emotions and behavior such as smiling, touching, and caring for others, are biologically based and have their origins in our evolution as a species who must care for our young over a very extended number of years.

Read it, and then go give someone a hug.

Many will find it worthwhile. However, the ending was terrible. I bought this book and started reading keltnerr because it was advertized as a sociological study of how people are inherently good. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. The funny thing is that I rather enjoyed the chap Goodness!

Keltner doesn’t believe we are happy when we act that way, and he thinks he has the science to prove it. When shyness and Jerome Kagan was mentioned I giggled with joy. The Science of a Meaningful Life Norton paperback. The minuses of the borj include: The result is a measurable happiness quotient. By combining stories of scientific discovery, personal narrative, and Eastern philosophy, Keltner illustrates his discussions with more than fifty photographs of human emotions.

It was written at a much more accessible and interesting level than a scholarly article, and the long discussions on emotional development was quite complementary to my field of study in social development.


Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life

Thanks for telling us about the problem. I put this in more of a free-wheelin self-help category versus a scientific and open approach to meaning and science.

Also forthcoming from Greater Good Science Center authors: Another book that I have no idea why I put it on my to-read list. Maybe it gets better after pagebut somehow, I doubt it. Oct 03, Mahala Helf rated it liked it. Rather than reading it with a feeling of tension, a mix of excitement and dread, reading daacher to Be Good” was light, optimistic, and reassuring.

Born to Be Good is a profound study of how emotion is the key to living the good life and how the path to happiness goes through human emotions that connect people to one another.

May 19, Melanie rated it liked it. The final chapters were on love, compassion and awe. It turned out to be gooc pretty interesting textbook on emotions and their evolutionary origins, and how it is advantageous to be kind and keltmer. And of course, I loved the interesting discussions of research methods. Return to Book Page.

Apr 06, Mark Flanagan rated it liked it Recommended goood Mark by: Got this book, because I listened to Keltner’s lectures on emotions to psych majors at Berkeley and found them fascinating. Sep 23, Stephen Burns rated it liked it.