Born to Be Good

The Science of a Meaningful Life

Dacher Keltner (Author, Author, University of California, Berkeley)

Overview | Inside the Book

“A landmark book in the science of emotions and its implications for ethics and human universals.”—Library Journal, starred review

In this startling study of human emotion, Dacher Keltner investigates an unanswered question of human evolution: If humans are hardwired to lead lives that are “nasty, brutish, and short,” why have we evolved with positive emotions like gratitude, amusement, awe, and compassion that promote ethical action and cooperative societies? Illustrated with more than fifty photographs of human emotions, Born to Be Good takes us on a journey through scientific discovery, personal narrative, and Eastern philosophy. Positive emotions, Keltner finds, lie at the core of human nature and shape our everyday behavior—and they just may be the key to understanding how we can live our lives better.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • October 2009
  • ISBN 978-0-393-33713-6
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 352 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Package Offers

  1. Book Image

    Buy Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life and get The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness for just $3.00 more. Buy the package for $19.95

Endorsements & Reviews

“A fact-filled, fun, and enlightened peek into our minds and hearts.” — Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

“A fresh and absolutely fascinating book.” — Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma

“A bright, entertaining book . . . [that] covers broad, interesting territory.” — Janet Maslin, The New York Times

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