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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The columnist David Brooks has summarized the findings like this: Waal knocks down those who use the idea of “survival of the frasn to excuse their behavior. We don’t just hear a scream, it chills us to the bone; when we see a smile, we answer with e,pathy of our own. This book is written in t This is the second book by Frans de Waal that I read, and I like his work so much that he is fast becoming one of my favorite non fiction writer. His writing style encouraged that, with his 1,2,3 listing of important points, a delightfully clarifying approach.

At our field station northeast of Atlanta, we house chimps in large outdoor corrals, sometimes providing them with shareable food, such as watermelons. They might say that incest leads to abnormal offspring, but in Haidt’s story the siblings used effective contraception, which took care of this argument.

The Age of Empathy by Frans de Waal | : Books

To us, it just looks like an excruciatingly deficient version of human empathy. Few topics are as timely to the understanding of the human mind and behavior. Income inequality, say what? This is optimistic because this allows us to place great confidence in fundamental human nature and not just in institutions that control it.

Cheney mocked conservation as “a sign of personal virtue” that, sadly, wouldn’t do the planet any good. 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. It is a rather peaceful scene even though there is also quite a bit of jostling for position. Includes sketches that complement the excellent narrative.


Americans 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. Those who depict this as contrived and not part of biology, don’t have the latest neurological data on their side! The adult baboons occasionally answered their calls, but they never stepped into the water to go retrieve their stranded offspring in time.

Right in the middle of it, he comically slipped on a tree branch.

He doesn’t draw big sweeping conclusions thankfully, he did not write a book called “How Chimpanzees Explain The World” or something like thatand is basically content to present some fascinating research and to suggest that we reconsider individualistic theories of society in its light.

The difference between that work and “The Age of Empathy” is that there is some actual science behind de Waal’s work. De Waal related a story about an alpha chimp who was blustering up to a big dominance display. De Waal is not a fan of Ayn Rand. Wilson was showered with cold water after a lecture on the connection between animal and human behavior.

The “Age of Empathy” is really about several different emotions and traits thought to be uniquely human like empathy, emathy, self awareness, sense of fair play, and egalitaria Is it just me, or does current non-fiction contain way too many personal aye. In fact, if we have a destructive impulse to watch out for, it may be our readiness to embrace the “civilized” view that deep down we’re horrible.


It is not hard to see how the desert nomads might have arrived at this view. These and numerous other examples that de Waal cites demonstrate clearly the author’s point oc nature is much more than “red in tooth in claw,” but instead can teach us humans a great deal in how to cooperate and understand feans other in an increasingly polarized world.

In humans, such unpremeditated feeling has been shown by a Swedish psychologist who put electrodes on people’s face to prove that when we see pictures of angry faces, we frown; when we see happy faces, our mouths turn up. There actually exists respect of ownership, so that even the lowest-ranking female is allowed to keep her food by franz most dominant male.

Frans de Waal’s The Age of Empathy.

This happens via the body, says de Waal, and such “body-mapping” has been shown again and again in animals as well as humans. A society that ignores these tendencies can’t be optimal. If two monkeys perform the same task but are given different-size rewards, the monkey that is cheated acts cheated.

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 concept of mutualism. 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.

If the poor can be blamed for being poor, everyone else is off the hook.