Born for Love

Born for Love : Why Empathy is Essential--and Endangered

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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, renowned child 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 it is threatened 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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  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 134.62 x 200.66 x 27.94mm | 181.44g
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • William Morrow Paperbacks
  • New YorkUnited States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0061656798
  • 9780061656798
  • 2,857

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"Empathy, and the ties that bind people into relationships, are key elements of happiness. Born for Love is truly fascinating." -- Gretchen Rubin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project "Once in awhile a book changes the way I experience the world. This time it's Born For Love, by Bruce D. Perry and Maia Szalavitz. Their book explores how children learn to love-or not. No work of fiction is as compelling." -- Denver Post "An accessible and important work of popular science." -- "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." -- Annie Murphy Paul, author of Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives

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About Bruce D. Perry

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.

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