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The phenomenon of friendship is universal. Friends, after all, are the family we choose. But what makes these bonds not just pleasant but essential, and how do they affect our bodies and our minds? In Friendship, science journalist Lydia Denworth takes us in search of the biological, psychological, and evolutionary foundations of this important bond. She finds that the human capacity for friendship is as old as humanity itself, when tribes of people on the African savanna grew large enough for individuals to seek meaningful connection with those outside their immediate families. Lydia meets scientists at the frontiers of brain and genetics research, and discovers that friendship is reflected in our brain waves, our genomes, and our cardiovascular and immune systems; its opposite, loneliness, can kill. With insight and warmth, Lydia weaves past and present, biology and neuroscience, to show how our bodies and minds are designed for friendship, and how this is changing in the age of social media. Blending compelling science, storytelling, and a grand evolutionary perspective, she delineates the essential role that cooperation and companionship play in creating human (and non-human) societies. Friendship illuminates the vital aspects of friendship, both visible and invisible, and offers a refreshingly optimistic vision of human nature. It is a clarion call for putting positive relationships at the centre of our lives.

 

Details

ISBN: 9781472977717
Audience: Tertiary Education (US: College)
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 368
Publication Date: 19 Mar 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication City, Country: London, United Kingdom
Dimensions (cm): 21.6(H) x 13.5(L)
Weight (gm): 407

 

Reviews

Ms Denworth sticks to the science, calmly telling us the truth no matter what we think we need to hear. * Wall Street Journal *
The science of friendship has grown remarkably rich in recent years, with scientists studying everything from the chemicals that create bonds in our brains to the friendships animals make for years on end. There's a deep evolutionary story to friendship now, and Lydia Denworth tells it in clear, lyrical prose. -- Carl Zimmer, author of She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity
Friendship was once mocked as a naive notion, irrelevant in our species and non-existent in others. In her lively, personable style, Lydia Denworth reviews what we know about the benefits of close relationships and their long evolutionary history. -- Frans de Waal, New York Times bestselling author of Mama's Last Hug
The power of friendship - in many ways the most essential of our relationships - has long been underestimated. It's an absolute pleasure to see Lydia Denworth do it justice in this lovely, insightful, and important book. -- Deborah Blum, Pulitzer-prize winning author of The Poison Squad
Friendship takes a fascinating deep dive into the societal, emotional, and health benefits of our everyday relationships. * RealSimple *
A sweeping, precise, and engaging narrative about our primordial capacity for friendship. If you care about what really matters in life, what brings us true joy and banishes our suffering, and what people at the end of life consistently report as the thing that most matters, you will care about this fantastic natural history of human friendship. -- Nicholas A. Christakis, author of Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society
I can think of no better rebuke to today's success-obsessed brand of parenting than Denworth's clarion call for friendship. Her convincing narration of the science shows that for our kids to live happily ever after, and successfully too, we must let them spend many more afternoons with friends. -- Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise An Adult

 

Author Biography

Lydia Denworth is a science journalist. She is a contributing editor for Scientific American, and writes the 'Brain Waves' blog for Psychology Today. Her work regularly appears in Scientific American Mind, Parents, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, and many other publications. Formerly, she was a Newsweek reporter and a bureau chief for People.
Friendship: The Evolution, Biology and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond
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