Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential--and Endangered
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.