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Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love

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Overview

"If you want flashes and particular experiences of romantic love, read novels. If you want to understand this central quality of human nature to its roots, read Why We Love."

?Edward O. Wilson

In Why We Love, renowned anthropologist Helen Fisher offers a new map of the phenomenon of love?from its origins in the brain to the thrilling havoc it creates in our bodies and behavior. Working with a team of scientists to scan the brains of people who ...

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Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love

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Overview

"If you want flashes and particular experiences of romantic love, read novels. If you want to understand this central quality of human nature to its roots, read Why We Love."

Edward O. Wilson

In Why We Love, renowned anthropologist Helen Fisher offers a new map of the phenomenon of love—from its origins in the brain to the thrilling havoc it creates in our bodies and behavior. Working with a team of scientists to scan the brains of people who had just fallen madly in love, Fisher proved what psychologists had until recently only suspected: when you fall in love, specific areas of the brain "light up" with increased blood flow. This sweeping new book uses this data to argue that romantic passion is hardwired into our brains by millions of years of evolution. It is not an emotion; it is a drive as powerful as hunger.

Provocative, enlightening, engaging, and persuasive, Why We Love offers radical new answers to age-old questions: what love is, who we love—and how to keep love alive.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Written in a deceptively simple manner, in language that is over nobody's head, Why We Love mixes [Fisher's] new research with prior scientific findings to build a thesis with startling ramifications." —The New York Times Book Review

"Like the words of a talented lover, Fisher's prose is charming and engaging . . . In hands as skilled as Fisher's, scientific analysis of love only adds to its magic."

Scientific American

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805077964
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 143,832
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Helen Fisher, Ph.D., is one of this country's most prominent anthropologists. Prior to becoming a research professor at Rutgers University, she was a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Fisher has conducted extensive research on the evolution, expression, and chemistry of love. Her two previous books, The First Sex and The Anatomy of Love, were New York Times Notable Books. She grew up in Connecticut and lives in New York City.

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Read an Excerpt

Why We Love

The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love


By Helen Fisher

Henry Holt and Co.

Copyright © 2005 Helen Fisher
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-2944-2


From Why We Love:

All of our basic drives are exceedingly difficult to control. It is impossible to sublimate or redirect thirst or hunger. It is difficult to quell the maternal instinct. And it is very tough to control one’s persistent craving for a sweetheart. We need food. We need water. We need salt. We need warmth. And the lover needs the beloved. Plato had it right over two thousand years ago. The God of Love “lives in a state of need.” Romantic love is a need; it is a fundamental human drive.

The drive to love has produced some of humankind’s most compelling operas, plays, and novels, our most touching poems and haunting melodies, the world’s finest sculptures and paintings, and our most colorful festivals, myths, and legends. Love has adorned the world and brought many of us tremendous joy. But this passion is fickle. When love is scorned, it can cause excruciating sorrow. Romantic rejection, crimes of passion, and high divorce and adultery rates are prevalent in societies around the world.

Romantic love is one of the most intense of all human experiences; blissful when it is requited; devastating when it is spurned. I think it is time for a serious attempt to answer Shakespeare’s question: “What ‘tis to love?”

(Continues...)

Excerpted from Why We Love by Helen Fisher. Copyright © 2005 Helen Fisher. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Co..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2014

    Interesting!

    100% interesting!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Interesting Stuff, Boring Book

    This book just wasn't very interesting to me. So much of it was quotations from literature about how people in history have felt when they were in love (this isn't what I purchased the book for). I found the author repetative, saying the same thing over again in different ways. Personally I would have preferred to learn more studies that were done and the results of those. Additionally, a few of her theories at the end of the book regarding rage and anger while being in love contradicted things she wrote earlier. Finally I would have loved to learn more about how men and women are biochemically different when in love.

    In short, I'm very interested in this subject matter but I didn't love the book. I did learn a little. I learned more, however, from the books I reccommend below.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2010

    Informative Reading aimed at Decision Making when it comes to love from a scientific perspective that helps to gain a comprehensive understanding of how interpersonal attraction works including the location of the human body where love originates.

    The book Why We Love is a great book to read due to its factual content based on scientific research as of to how and why opposites attract and the ongoing process that continues as love progresses into romantic and attachment or mature love which is the culmination towards a healthy interpersonal relationship with the opposite sex. Why We Love provides great informative reading that promotes a general understanding at why people of both genders behave the way do during the four phases of Love which are: Lust,Romantic Attraction,Deepening Affection,and Attachment.

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  • Posted January 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Would recommend to every love bug who also likes science!

    A fascinating read about the science of love and why we love. It tells you everything about the different stages of love and how we deal with it on mental, emotional and on a physical level within the body and mind. Really a good read if you're into psychology too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2008

    Interesting studies, but stated the obvious

    I found Fishers writing style, her vagueness in addressing such topics, and her failure to elaborate on them quite annoying. However, her case study was interesting and did yield solid results.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2007

    Extremely interesting!

    For anyone out there interested in learning not only about the chemicals our brain releases when we're in love, but also to learn so much about the human brain in such a captivating way...not a boring medical book, but one that teaches you scientific information without you even realizing it! It's one that I refer to often and refuse to loan out.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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