“There is a widely held assumption that humans are hard-wired for relentless and ruthless competition… Frans de Waal sees nature differently — as a biological legacy in which empathy, not mere self interest, is shared by humans, bonobos and animals.”
Ben Macintyre, 'The Times'
“A pioneer in primate studies, Frans de Waal sees our better side in chimps, especially our capacity for empathy… Dr de Waal has gathered ample evidence that our ability to identify with another's distress… has deep roots in the origin of our species.”
'The Wall Street Journal'
“Freshly topical… a corrective to the idea that all animals — human and otherwise — are selfish and unfeeling to the core.”
Empathy holds communities together, and humans have evolved into empathetic creatures (and not only humans, but also primates, elephants, even rodents). Humans are hardwired to be altruistic, the result of thousands of years of evolutionary biology that has kept society from slipping into anarchy.
It is often assumed that humans are inherently selfish but can an understanding of the role of empathy in evolution help to develop a society based on a more generous view of human nature? In keeping with contemporary politics Frans de Waal concentrates on how empathy creates a sense of social responsibility and moral reasoning that is a force for good in society. Written in an accessible style but with a wealth of anecdotes, scientific observations, wry humour and incisive intelligence this is essential reading for the Age of Empathy we are entering.
In this thought-provoking book Frans de Waal examines how empathy comes naturally to a wide range of animals, including humans. Social behaviour in animals, the herding instinct, bonding rituals, expressions of consolation, even conflict resolution, demonstrates that animals are designed to feel for each other. From chimpanzees caring for mates that have been wounded by leopards, elephants reassuring youngsters in distress to dolphins preventing sick companions from drowning The Age of Empathy demonstrates that animals are guided by cooperation.