Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential-and Endangered

Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential-and Endangered

Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential-and Endangered

Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential-and Endangered



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The groundbreaking exploration of the power of empathy by renowned child-psychiatrist Bruce D. Perry, co-author, with Oprah Winfrey, of What Happened to You?

Born for Love reveals how and why the brain learns to bond with others—and is a stirring call to protect our children from new threats to their capacity to love.

“Empathy, and the ties that bind people into relationships, are key elements of happiness. Born for Love is truly fascinating.” — Gretchen Rubin,  author of The Happiness Project

From birth, when babies' fingers instinctively cling to those of adults, their bodies and brains seek an intimate connection, a bond made possible by empathy—the ability to love and to share the feelings of others.

In this provocative book, psychiatrist Bruce D. Perry and award-winning science journalist Maia Szalavitz interweave research and stories from Perry's practice with cutting-edge scientific studies and historical examples to explain how empathy develops, why it is essential for our development into healthy adults, and how to raise kids with empathy while navigating threats from technological change and other forces in the modern world.

Perry and Szalavitz show that compassion underlies the qualities that make society work—trust, altruism, collaboration, love, charity—and how difficulties related to empathy are key factors in social problems such as war, crime, racism, and mental illness. Even physical health, from infectious diseases to heart attacks, is deeply affected by our human connections to one another.

As Born for Love reveals, recent changes in technology, child-rearing practices, education, and lifestyles are starting to rob children of necessary human contact and deep relationships—the essential foundation for empathy and a caring, healthy society. Sounding an important warning bell, Born for Love offers practical ideas for combating the negative influences of modern life and fostering positive social change to benefit us all.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061987670
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/06/2010
Format: eBook
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 265,155
File size: 773 KB

About the Author

Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D., is the senior fellow of the ChildTrauma Academy (, a not-for-profit organization based in Houston that is dedicated to improving the lives of high-risk children, and he is an adjunct professor of psychiatry at the Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago. He is the author, with Maia Szalavitz, of The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, a bestselling book based on his work with maltreated children.

Maia Szalavitz is the author of Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids (Riverhead, 2006), which led to state investigations into the industry as well as federal legislation. She is a senior fellow at media watchdog and has written for the New York Times, Elle, Time magazine online, and the Washington Post.

Table of Contents

Authors' Note ix

Introduction 1

1 Heaven is Other People 7

2 In Your Face 27

3 Missing People 45

4 Intense World 72

5 Lies and Consequences 96

6 No Mercy 120

7 Resilience 145

8 The Chameleon 170

9 Us Versus Them 193

10 Glued to the Tube 211

11 On Baboons, British Civil Servants, and the Oscars 232

12 Warm as Iceland 259

13 All Together Now 288

epilogue People and Programs 323

Acknowledgments 335

Appendix 338

Notes 343

Index 364

What People are Saying About This

Annie Murphy Paul

“Strikingly original and thought-provoking, Born for Love explores the crucially important role empathy plays in all of our lives. It should be required reading for every parent, partner, and friend.”

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