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Books

 

Check out these books from the Greater Good Science Center, as well as other noteworthy titles on subjects explored by the GGSC.

 

Greater Good Books

Are We Born Racist? New Insights from Neuroscience and Positive Psychology

By Jason Marsh, Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, and Jeremy Adam Smith (Co-Editors)
Beacon Press, 2010, 149 pages

This collection of essays, many of which first appeared in Greater Good, draws on cutting-edge science to explore the psychological roots of prejudice—and how we can overcome it.

Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents

By Christine Carter
Ballantine Books, 2010, 256 pages

The GGSC's Christine Carter distills the wisdom she has been sharing for years in her parenting blog, offering research-based tips for happier, healthier children and families.
 

The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness

By Dacher Keltner, Jason Marsh, and Jeremy Adam Smith (Co-Editors)
W. W. Norton & Company, 2010, 316 pages

An anthology of essays from the first five years of Greater Good magazine, highlighting ground-breaking research and trailblazing ideas on the roots of compassion, empathy, altruism, and happiness.

Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life

By Dacher Keltner
W. W. Norton & Company, 2009, 352 pages

The acclaimed book from Greater Good Science Center co-founder and faculty director Dacher Keltner, providing a thorough and engaging overview of the science the GGSC covers--the "science of a meaningful life."
 
 

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Social Connections

The Social Animal

By David Brooks
Random House, 2011, 448 pages

The hidden sources of love, character, and achievement. Brooks explores the unconscious mind and how it shapes the way we live.

Connected

By Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler
Back Bay Books, 2011, 368 pages

Christakis and Folwer guide us through the burgeoning field of social network science, offering sharp reminders of the extraordinary role other people play in shaping our lives, for better or worse.
 

Alone Together

By Sherry Turkle
Basic Books, 2011, 384 pages

Turkle illustrates how the lines between reality and virtual reality are becoming increasingly blurred.

Virtually You

By Elias Aboujaoude
W.W. Norton, 2011, 349 pages

Aboujaoude, describes the ways we reinvent ourselves online and says that the problem with our “e-personality” is its intense focus on ourselves.
 

Join The Club

By Tina Rosenberg
W.W. Norton, 2011, 385 pages

Rosenberg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, delves deeply into stories of people who’ve developed savvy ways to exploit social, cultural, and political forces for positive change.

The Lonely American

By Jacqueline Olds and Richard Schwartz
Beacon Press, 2010, 240 pages

Psychiatrists Jacqueline Olds and Richard Schwartz, describes America's obsession with living separately from others and the corresponding (often hidden) costs to our psychological health
 

Loneliness

By John Cacioppo and William Patrick
W. W. Norton & Company, 2009, 336 pages

Cacioppo and Patrick explain how we are wired to read human faces for social cues, but that lonely people are less skilled at this and, therefore, have more trouble maintaining meaningful relationships.

Social Intelligence

By Daniel Goleman
Bantam, 2007, 416 pages

A groundbreaking synthesis of findings from social and biological sciences, revealing that we are “wired to connect” and our relationships have a surprisingly deep impact on every aspect of our lives.
 

Help for the Helper

By Babette Rothschild and Marjorie Rand
W. W. Norton & Company, 2006, 231 pages

The authors examine the literature from neurobiology and social psychology to explain how therapists suffer from an excess of empathy for their clients, and then they present strategies for dealing with burnout and stress.

Bowling Alone

By Robert D. Putnum
Touchstone Books by Simon & Schuster, 2001, 544 pages

Putnam shows how we have become increasingly disconnected from one another and how social structures have disintegrated.
 
 

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Transcending Differences

Are We Born Racist? New Insights from Neuroscience and Positive Psychology

By Jason Marsh, Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, and Jeremy Adam Smith (Co-Editors)
Beacon Press, 2010, 149 pages

This collection of essays, many of which first appeared in Greater Good, draws on cutting-edge science to explore the psychological roots of prejudice—and how we can overcome it.

Whistling Vivaldi

By Claude M. Steele
W.W. Norton & Company, 2010, 242 pages

Steele offers studies and stories that show how stereotypes can affect group members' lives in subtle but powerful ways, especially when it comes to academic performance.
 

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

By Beverly Daniel Tatum
Basic Books, 1997, 288

An expert on the psychology of racism argues that our discomfort broaching the subject of race exacerbates racial divisions and inequalities.
 
 

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Education

Making Grateful Kids

By Jeffrey Froh and Giacomo Bono
Templeton Press, 2014, 272 pages

Two experts explain how to foster gratitude in children, drawing on new research and compelling real-life stories.

NutureShock

By Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
Twelve, 2011, 352 pages

NurtureShock unravels how many of modern society's most popular strategies for raising children are in fact backfiring because key points in the science of child development and behavior have been overlooked.
 

The Mindful Child

By Susan K. Greenland
Free Press, 2010, 240 pages

Greenland offers a simple “how to” approach to mindfulness to parents who want to practice with their children.

Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents

By Christine Carter
Ballantine Books, 2010, 256 pages

The GGSC's Christine Carter distills the wisdom she has been sharing for years in her parenting blog, offering research-based tips for happier, healthier children and families.
 

Whistling Vivaldi

By Claude M. Steele
W.W. Norton & Company, 2010, 242 pages

Steele offers studies and stories that show how stereotypes can affect group members' lives in subtle but powerful ways, especially when it comes to academic performance.

The Path to Purpose

By William Damon
Free Press, 2009, 240 pages

Looks at how children are hampered in their search for meaning, and how concerned adults can help them find it.
 

The Triple Bind

By Stephen Hinshaw
Ballantine Books, 2009, 256 pages

According to Hinshaw, girls are pressured to excel at both traditional "female" roles and traditional "male" roles, while being 100% perfect all of the time. Hinshaw suggests ways to help young women thrive despite these cultural pressures.

Play = Learning

By Dorothy Singer, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek
Oxford University Press, 2008, 288 pages

How play motivates and enhances children's cognitive and social-emotional growth.
 

Building Emotional Intelligence

By Linda Lantieri
Sounds True, 2008, 155 pages

Lantieri, with contributions from Daniel Goleman, offers practical techniques to help children calm their bodies and focus their minds.

The Homework Myth

By Alfie Kohn
Da Capo Press, 2007, 256 pages

Why our kids get too much of a bad thing.
 

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

By Carol Dweck
Ballantine Books, 2007, 288 pages

Dweck shows that how we learn and grow is largely determined by whether we have a "fixed" or "growth" mindset. The good news is that most of us can learn to use a growth mindset to achieve success and happiness.

The Power of Play

By David Elkind
Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2007, 240 pages

Elkind argues that our fast-paced, screenladen, and safety-obsessed way of life is destroying spontaneous, creative, child-led play, with unhappy consequences.
 

Critical Lessons

By Nel Noddings
Cambridge University Press, 2006, 319 pages

Nel Noddings advocates critical thinking and self-knowledge as the best ways to reinvigorate our woefully inadequate school systems.

Roots of Empathy

By Mary Gordon
Thomas Allen Publishers, 2005, 240 pages

Mary Gordon explains how best to nurture empathy and social emotional literacy in all children—and thereby reduce aggression, antisocial behavior, and bullying.
 

Happiness and Education

By Nel Noddings
Cambridge University Press, 2004, 320 pages

When parents are asked what they want for their children, they usually answer that they want their children to be happy. Why, then, is happiness rarely mentioned as a goal of education?

The Compassionate Classroom: Lessons That Nurture Wisdom and Empathy

By Jane Dalton and Lyn Fairchild
Chicago Review Press, 2004, 176 pages

Dalton and Fairchild are interested in encouraging students to get to know and appreciate themselves, their community, and the world around them.
 

Leave No Child Behind

By James Comer
Yale University Press, 2004, 352 pages

Comer offers a plan with real promise to improve the lives of children well beyond their time in the classroom.

Kids Working it Out

By Tricia S. Jones and Randy Compton
Jossey-Bass, 2003, 360 pages

Offers educators and parents a guide to the most current and effective school-based conflict resolution programs, and shows how these programs can make a positive difference in our schools.
 

Punished by Rewards

By Alfie Kohn
Mariner Books, 1999, 448 pages

Kohn discusses why rewards, including praise, fail to promote lasting behavior change or enhance performance and frequently make things worse.

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

By Beverly Daniel Tatum
Basic Books, 1997, 288

An expert on the psychology of racism argues that our discomfort broaching the subject of race exacerbates racial divisions and inequalities.
 

Emotional Intelligence

By Daniel Goleman
Bantam, 1995, 384 pages

This is the seminal book on emotional intelligence, written for a general audience.
 
 

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Family & Couples

Mindful Discipline

By Shauna Shapiro and Chris White
New Harbinger, 2014, 199 pages

Psychologist Shauna Shapiro and pediatrician Chris White weave together ancient wisdom and modern science to provide new perspectives on parenting and discipline.

Making Grateful Kids

By Jeffrey Froh and Giacomo Bono
Templeton Press, 2014, 272 pages

Two experts explain how to foster gratitude in children, drawing on new research and compelling real-life stories.
 

Mindful Birthing

By Nancy Bardacke
HarperOne, 2012, 384 pages

Bardacke shares the science and stories behind her Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting Program, and explains how to incorporate mindfulness into daily life.

Rad Dad: Dispatches from the Frontiers of Fatherhood

PM Press, 2011, 200 pages

Bestselling authors, writers, musicians, and others bring their voices together to explore the modern complexities of fatherhood. Co-edited by the Greater Good Science Center's Jeremy Adam Smith.
 

The Path to Purpose

By William Damon
Free Press, 2009, 240 pages

Looks at how children are hampered in their search for meaning, and how concerned adults can help them find it.

The Daddy Shift

By Jeremy Adam Smith
Beacon Press, 2009, 256 pages

What happens when women go to work and men take care of children? This influential book from Greater Good Science Center editor Jeremy Adam Smith explores how the evolution of parenthood has opened up new possibilities for care and empathy among men.
 

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

By Carol Dweck
Ballantine Books, 2007, 288 pages

Dweck shows that how we learn and grow is largely determined by whether we have a "fixed" or "growth" mindset. The good news is that most of us can learn to use a growth mindset to achieve success and happiness.

When Parents Hurt

By Joshua Coleman
HarperCollins, 2007, 312 pages

Compassionate strategies when you and your grown children don't get along.
 

Forgive for Love

By Fred Luskin
HarperOne, 2007, 240 pages

Luskin lays out a seven-step program designed to help long-term partners learn to forgive each other for simply being human.

Kids Working it Out

By Tricia S. Jones and Randy Compton
Jossey-Bass, 2003, 360 pages

Offers educators and parents a guide to the most current and effective school-based conflict resolution programs, and shows how these programs can make a positive difference in our schools.
 

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

By John Gottman
Orion, 2000, 288 pages

It only takes Gottman five minutes to predict, with 91 percent accuracy, which couples will eventually divorce.

Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child

By John Gottman, with Joan Declaire
Simon & Schuster, 1998, 240 pages

This is a great book for learning how to emotion coach your child, written by a highly regarded researcher.
 
 

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Work & Career

The Daddy Shift

By Jeremy Adam Smith
Beacon Press, 2009, 256 pages

What happens when women go to work and men take care of children? This influential book from Greater Good Science Center editor Jeremy Adam Smith explores how the evolution of parenthood has opened up new possibilities for care and empathy among men.

All Rise

By Robert W. Fuller
Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2006, 200 pages

Fuller's second book on "rankism," elaborating on his vision for replacing a “rankist” world with a “dignitarian” one, in which dignity is recognized as a human right.
 

Making Good

By Wendy Fischman, Becca Solomon, DeborahGreenspan, and Howard Gardner
Harvard University Press, 2004, 208 pages

Harvard researchers explore how professional success and professional ethics don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand.

Emotional Intelligence

By Daniel Goleman
Bantam, 1995, 384 pages

This is the seminal book on emotional intelligence, written for a general audience.
 

Flow

Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 1990, 336 pages

Flow, a state of deep enjoyment, creativity, and total involvement with life, is something we can cultivate with practice, according to this influential book.
 
 

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Mind & Body

The Emotional Life of Your Brain

By Richard J. Davidson (Author), Sharon Begley (Contributor)
Plume, December 24, 2012, 304 pages

Davidson, a pioneering neuroscientist, and Begley, a leading science journalist, explain how we each have specific, identifiable brain circuits that give rise to our Emotional Style, reflecting our individual inclination to express emotions such as compassion, affability, and empathy.

Mindful Birthing

By Nancy Bardacke
HarperOne, 2012, 384 pages

Bardacke shares the science and stories behind her Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting Program, and explains how to incorporate mindfulness into daily life.
 

Real Happiness

By Sharon Salzberg
Workman Publishing, 2011, 208 pages

Shares the lessons and wisdom Salzberg has developed over 30 years of teaching meditation, distilled into a 28-day program.

Fully Present

By Susan Smalley and Diana Winston
DeCapo, 2010, 260 pages

Smalley highlights research encouraging readers to try mindfulness themselves, and Winston explains how.
 

The Wise Heart

By Jack Kornfield
Bantam, 2009, 448 pages

Jack Kornfield explains the Buddhist concept of mindfulness and how it can be used for personal transformation.

Counterclockwise

By Ellen Langer
Ballantine Books, 2009, 240 pages

Langer argues that, as we grow older, our physical limitations are largely determined by the way we think about ourselves and what we're capable of.
 

Spark

By John J. Ratey
Little, Brown, and Company, 2008, 304 pages

Ratey, a physician, argues that exercise has a “profound impact on cognitive abilities” and “is simply one of the best treatments we have for most psychiatric problems.”

Building Emotional Intelligence

By Linda Lantieri
Sounds True, 2008, 155 pages

Lantieri, with contributions from Daniel Goleman, offers practical techniques to help children calm their bodies and focus their minds.
 

The Mindful Way through Depression

By Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn
The Guilford Press, 2007, 273 pages

The book draws from both Eastern meditative traditions and cognitive therapy to create a mindful way out of depression.

The Mindful Brain

By Daniel J. Siegel
W. W. Norton & Company, 2007, 387 pages

Daniel shows readers how personal awareness and attunement can improve life by boosting well-being, resilience, emotional balance, and other physiological benefits.
 

Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain

By Sharon Begley
Ballantine Books, 2007, 304 pages

Begley explains neuroplasticity: how experience can shape the brain’s structure—and, in turn, change the way our minds and bodies function.

The Brain That Changes Itself

By Norman Doidge
Penguin, 2007, 427 pages

Explores the significance of neuroplasticity, where thoughts and experience can change the shape of the brain over time, engaging the reader with stories of miraculous recovery.
 

Coming to Our Senses

By Jon Kabat-Zinn
Hyperion, 2005, 631 pages

Jon Kabat-Zinn expands upon the themes of his earlier books: that Buddhist-based meditation and mindfulness techniques can relieve stress and stimulate healing.

Destructive Emotions

By Daniel Goleman
Bantam, 2004, 448 pages

Reporting on a ground-breaking dialogue between scientists and the Dalai Lama, this book explores how can we can develop peace with ourselves and others.
 

The Art of Happiness

By The Dalai Lama
Riverhead Books, 1998, 352 pages

A handbook for living. This is the book that kicked off the genre of happiness books, and it remains a cornerstone of the field of positive psychology.

Everyday Blessings

By Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn
Hyperion, 1998, 416 pages

The inner workings of mindful parenting of children of all ages.
 

Wherever You Go, There You Are

By Jon Kabat-Zinn
Hyperion, 1994, 304 pages

Sequel to "Full Catastrophe Living," Jon further delves into meditation and mindfulness theory.

Peace is Every Step

By Thich Nhat Hanh
Bantam, 1992, 160 pages

Thich Nhat Hanh shows us how to make positive use of the very situations that usually pressure and antagonize us through mindful practices.
 

Full Catastrophe Living

By Jon Kabat-Zinn
Delta, 1990, 512 pages

Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness.
 
 

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Big Ideas

The Mindfulness Revolution

By Barry Boyce (Editor)
Shambhala, 2011, 288 pages

Some of the top experts on mindfulness explain what it is, why we should practice it, and how to apply it at work, at home, and beyond.

The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness

By Dacher Keltner, Jason Marsh, and Jeremy Adam Smith (Co-Editors)
W. W. Norton & Company, 2010, 316 pages

An anthology of essays from the first five years of Greater Good magazine, highlighting ground-breaking research and trailblazing ideas on the roots of compassion, empathy, altruism, and happiness.
 

Positivity

By Barbara Fredrickson
Crown Archetype, 2009, 288 pages

Fredrickson lays out the science of positivity in a book that promises to change the way people look at feeling good.

The Empathic Civilization

By Jeremy Rifkin
Tarcher, 2009, 688 pages

Rifkin believes that we humans are in a race for survival in a world of crisis, dependent on our ability to organize around an empathic approach to our planet.
 

Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life

By Dacher Keltner
W. W. Norton & Company, 2009, 352 pages

The acclaimed book from Greater Good Science Center co-founder and faculty director Dacher Keltner, providing a thorough and engaging overview of the science the GGSC covers--the "science of a meaningful life."

Destructive Emotions

By Daniel Goleman
Bantam, 2004, 448 pages

Reporting on a ground-breaking dialogue between scientists and the Dalai Lama, this book explores how can we can develop peace with ourselves and others.
 

Full Catastrophe Living

By Jon Kabat-Zinn
Delta, 1990, 512 pages

Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness.
 
 

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Forgiveness

The Forgiving Life

By Robert D. Enright
American Psychological Association, 2012, 384 pages

Guides readers through the path to forgiveness, drawing on Enright's decades of research.

Beyond Revenge

By Michael McCullough
Jossey-Bass, 2008, 320 pages

McCullough argues that forgiveness is truly a biological adaptation, naturally selected for its benefits to us as individuals and as a species.
 

Altruism, Intergroup Apology, Forgivness, and Reconciliation

By Samuel P. Oliner
Paragon House, 2008, 328 pages

Samuel Oliner argues it's time for apology and forgivenss on a global scale.

Forgive for Love

By Fred Luskin
HarperOne, 2007, 240 pages

Luskin lays out a seven-step program designed to help long-term partners learn to forgive each other for simply being human.
 

The Anatomy of Peace

By The Arbinger Institute
Berrett-Koehler, 2006, 231 pages

This book demonstrates that treating others humanely can resolve conflict better than direct confrontation.

On Apology

By Aaron Lazare
Oxford University Press, 2004, 320 pages

Explains what makes an effective apology and explores apology's role in forgiveness and reconciliation.
 

Forgiving and Reconciling

By Everett L. Worthington
IVP Books, 2003, 268 pages

Considers forgiveness as an act of altruism rather than a strictly personal benefit.

Forgive for Good

By Frederic Luskin
HarperOne, 2003, 240 pages

Outlines both the benefits of forgiveness and Luskin's nine-step method for giving up grudges.
 

Helping Clients Forgive

By Robert D. Enright and Richard P. Fitzgibbons
American Psychological Association, 2000, 376 pages

Discusses forgiveness in psychotherapeutic and clinical settings.

No Future Without Forgiveness

By Desmond Tutu
Image, 1999, 304 pages

Tutu urges forgiveness as a way to peace, even in the wake of atrocities.
 

Exploring Forgiveness

By Edited by Robert D. Enright and Joanna North
University of Wisconsin Press, 1998, 208 pages

A collection of essays that offer different perspectives on forgiveness, from the scientific to the personal.

Forgive and Forget

By Lewis B. Smedes
HarperOne, 1984, 192 pages

Discusses the role of forgiveness in healing after others hurt us.
 
 

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Gratitude

Learn more about the science of gratitude through our Expanding Gratitude project.

Making Grateful Kids

By Jeffrey Froh and Giacomo Bono
Templeton Press, 2014, 272 pages

Two experts explain how to foster gratitude in children, drawing on new research and compelling real-life stories.

Gratitude Works!

By Robert A. Emmons
Jossey-Bass, 2013, 196 pages

The world's leading scientific expert on gratitude offers a step-by-step guide to becoming a more grateful person.
 

A Simple Act of Gratitude

By John Kralik
Hyperion, 2011, 240

A memoir on how a man's resolution to write 365 thank you letters in one year changed his life.

Living Life as a Thank You

By Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammons
Viva Editions, 2009, 224

Presents a simple, but comprehensive program for incorporating gratitude into one's life, and reaping the many benefits that come from doing so.
 

Thanks!

By Robert A. Emmons
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007, 256 pages

How the science of gratitude can make you happier.

The Psychology of Gratitude

By Robert A. Emmons and Michael E. McCullough
Oxford University Press, 2004, 384 pages

This is a collection of academic articles on the science of gratitude.
 
 

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Altruism

Moral Origins

By Christopher Boehm
Basic Books, 2012, 432 pages

Our moral sense is a defense mechanism. From the days of Darwin to today, biologists--and now Boehm--understand altruism as the key to thriving and surviving in groups.

Pathological Altruism

By Edited by Barbara Oakley, Ariel Knafo, Guruprasad Madhavan, and David Sloan Wilson
Oxford University Press, 2011, 496 pages

Altruism is good, but too much of it can trigger burnout--or worse--depression. "Hyperempathy" and "pathological" altruism make us sick and endanger our precarious world.
 

SuperCooperators

By Martin Nowak and Roger Highfield
Free Press, 2011, 352 pages

Novak re-tells the story of evolution as a story of cooperation, not competition, offering scientific and mathematical evidence that altruism is key to survival.

The Price of Altruism

By Oren Harman
W. W. Norton & Company, 2011, 451 pages

If evolution has yielded goodness, then why wasn't Darwin concerned about the survival of the nicest? Harman tells a story of human kindness through one human's story, that of American genius George Price.
 

Altruism in Humans

By C. Daniel Batson
Oxford University Press, 2011, 336 pages

We lose time to save the whales and we lose sleep over a heartbroken friend. With this, Baston posits the remarkable thesis that we humans have the capacity to care for others for their own sakes.

Connected

By Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler
Back Bay Books, 2011, 368 pages

Christakis and Folwer guide us through the burgeoning field of social network science, offering sharp reminders of the extraordinary role other people play in shaping our lives, for better or worse.
 

The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness

By Dacher Keltner, Jason Marsh, and Jeremy Adam Smith (Co-Editors)
W. W. Norton & Company, 2010, 316 pages

An anthology of essays from the first five years of Greater Good magazine, highlighting ground-breaking research and trailblazing ideas on the roots of compassion, empathy, altruism, and happiness.

Why We Cooperate

By Michael Tomasello
The MIT Press, 2009, 232 pages

Nature and nurture interact to inform, and reform, cooperative behavior. Infants and apes are both able to share, but only the two-year-old will pick up that thing you dropped in front of her.
 

29 Gifts

By Cami Walker
Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2009, 256 pages

Walker’s life is in a downward spiral until she takes unusual advice from a friend: to give away 29 gifts in 29 days.

Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life

By Dacher Keltner
W. W. Norton & Company, 2009, 352 pages

The acclaimed book from Greater Good Science Center co-founder and faculty director Dacher Keltner, providing a thorough and engaging overview of the science the GGSC covers--the "science of a meaningful life."
 

The Lucifer Effect

By Philip Zimbardo
Random House, 2007, 576 pages

What makes good people do bad things? How can moral people be seduced to act immorally? Zimbardo explores how we are all susceptible to the lure of the dark side.

Giving

By Bill Clinton
Knopf, 2007, 256 pages

How each of us can change the world. Clinton urges us to seek out what each of us, “regardless of income, available time, age, and skills,” can do to help, to give people a chance to live out their dreams.
 

The Altruistic Species

By Andrew M. Flescher and Daniel L. Worthen
Templeton Press, 2007, 304 pages

Biology, psychology, philosophy, and religion all inform the answer to the age-old questions on altruism; on whether it is essential to the human experience, or whether it even exists at all.

Why Good Things Happen to Good People

By Stephen Post and Jill Neimark
Broadway Books, 2007, 320 pages

Post and Neimark make the case that giving to others—in small doses and from a young age—will help you “be happier… healthier… and even live longer.”
 

Do Unto Others

By Samuel P. Oliner
Basic Books, 2004, 304 pages

Oliner explores why ordinary people perform extraordinary acts of courage, compassion, and self-sacrifice.

Unto Others

By Elliott Sober and David Sloan Wilson
Harvard University Press, 1998, 416 pages

Unselfish behavior exists--without pretense and without hidden motives. Our capacity for generosity as a goal in itself is the most important feature of people and perhaps of other species.
 

The Altruistic Personality

By Samuel P. Oliner and Pearl M. Oliner
Touchstone, 1992, 448 pages

Why, during the Holocaust, did some people risk their lives to help others while some stood passively by? Samuel Oliner, a Holocaust survivor, provides some surprising answers in this compelling work.
 
 

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Compassion

The Better Angels of Our Nature

By Steven Pinker
Viking Adult, 2011, 832 pages

Pinker's controversial claim: Violence has been diminishing for millennia and we may be living in the most peaceful time in our species's existence. This book backs it up with exhaustive evidence.

Self-Compassion

By Kristin Neff
William Morrow, 2011, 320 pages

Learn to be kind to yourself. A society obsessed with competition doesn't always make that an easy thing to do, but seeking after self-compassion, not self-esteem, is our ticket to happiness.
 

The Power of Compassion

By Pamela Bloom and Joan Halifax Roshi
Hampton Roads Publishing, 2010, 256 pages

Compassion is powerful, but it is also contagious. Forty first-person stories make it abundantly clear that extraordinary acts of kindness are nothing out of the ordinary.

The Compassionate Mind

By Paul Gilbert
New Harbinger Publications, 2010, 544 pages

We're angry, fearful, depressed--and we can't help it. Societies that encourage us to compete with each other make it difficult to exercise compassion towards ourselves and others.
 

A Call to Compassion

By Karen Armstrong
Knopf, 2010, 240 pages

Drawing on foundational texts across many world religions, Armstrong describes the building blocks of compassion and challenges readers to begin applying these practices to the way they relate to others.

The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness

By Dacher Keltner, Jason Marsh, and Jeremy Adam Smith (Co-Editors)
W. W. Norton & Company, 2010, 316 pages

An anthology of essays from the first five years of Greater Good magazine, highlighting ground-breaking research and trailblazing ideas on the roots of compassion, empathy, altruism, and happiness.
 

Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life

By Dacher Keltner
W. W. Norton & Company, 2009, 352 pages

The acclaimed book from Greater Good Science Center co-founder and faculty director Dacher Keltner, providing a thorough and engaging overview of the science the GGSC covers--the "science of a meaningful life."

Emotional Awareness: Overcoming the Obstacles to Psychological Balance and Compassion

By The Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman
Times Books, 2008, 288 pages

Dialogue discussing how people can cultivate compassion, minimize the harmful effects of emotions like anger, and achieve balance in their emotional lives.
 

The Science of Compassionate Love: Theory, Research, and Applications

By Beverley Fehr, Susan Sprecher, and Lynn G. Underwood
Wiley-Blackwell, 2008, 488 pages

This anthology of essays is grounded in current literature on altruism and compassionate love: the specific brand of love that is giving the self for the good of the other.

The Hand of Compassion: Portraits of Moral Choice During the Holocaust

By Kristen Renwick Monroe
Princeton University Press, 2006, 384 pages

The Hand of Compassion is the latest of several books to use the Holocaust as a basis for studying altruism and compassion.
 

Field Notes on the Compassionate Life: A Search for the Soul of Kindness

By Marc Ian Barasch
Rodale, 2005, 352 pages

Field Notes on the Compassionate Life chronicles Barasch's attempts to better understand people who so powerfully embody the better side of human nature.

The Compassionate Classroom: Lessons That Nurture Wisdom and Empathy

By Jane Dalton and Lyn Fairchild
Chicago Review Press, 2004, 176 pages

Dalton and Fairchild are interested in encouraging students to get to know and appreciate themselves, their community, and the world around them.
 

Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century

By Jonathan Glover
Yale University Press, 2001, 480 pages

Hiroshima and the Holocaust have something in common, and Humanity sets out to exploit the disturbing similarities in ways that can potentially empower us all to resist the call to cruelty.

Toward a Caring Society

By Pearl M. Oliner and Samuel P. Oliner
Praeger, 1995, 256 pages

Promoting a sense of personal responsibility for the well-being of others is perhaps the greatest moral challenge we face. And making our social institutions more caring is perhaps our greatest call to action.
 
 

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Empathy

The Emotional Life of Your Brain

By Richard J. Davidson (Author), Sharon Begley (Contributor)
Plume, December 24, 2012, 304 pages

Davidson, a pioneering neuroscientist, and Begley, a leading science journalist, explain how we each have specific, identifiable brain circuits that give rise to our Emotional Style, reflecting our individual inclination to express emotions such as compassion, affability, and empathy.

The Moral Molecule

By Paul J. Zak
Dutton Adult, 2012, 256 pages

A look at the hormone oxytocin's role in trust and how that may be the basis of a well-functioning economic system.
 

Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives

By Amy Coplan and Peter Goldie (co-editors)
Oxford University Press, USA , December 17, 2011, 464 pages

A collection of philosophy/psychology sources revealing how important it is to bring to bear an understanding of the role of empathy in its various guises.

Empathy

By Jean Decety (Editor)
The MIT Press, 2011, 336 pages

This edited volume explores current research on empathy, theories about empathy, and the relationship between empathy and clinical and medical practices for an academic audience.
 

The Science of Evil

By Simon Baron-Cohen
Basic Books, 2011, 256 pages

Baron-Cohen reports on what he has learned about the link between empathy and cruelty over more than two decades of research.

The Social Neuroscience of Empathy

By Jean Decety and William Ickes (Co-Editors)
The MIT Press, 2011, 272 pages

This edited volume takes a social neuroscience approach to empathy by examining empathy at multiple levels including biological, cognitive, and social, written for an academic audience.
 

Born for Love

By Bruce D. Perry and Maia Szalavitz
William Morrow, 2010, 384 pages

Szalavitz and Perry examine the development of empathy in children, why it is crucial for society, and how it may be threatened in the modern world.

Mirroring People

By Marco Iacoboni
Picador, 2009, 336 pages

Marco Iacoboni, a leading neuroscientist, explains the groundbreaking research into mirror neurons, the "smart cells" in our brain that allow us to understand others.
 

The Empathic Civilization

By Jeremy Rifkin
Tarcher, 2009, 688 pages

Rifkin believes that we humans are in a race for survival in a world of crisis, dependent on our ability to organize around an empathic approach to our planet.

The Age of Empathy

By Frans de Waal
Crown, 2009, 304 pages

De Waal shares stories of pets who comfort their distressed owners and indicate that the roots of empathy are not limited to humans, and in fact go far back in the evolutionary chain.
 

The Empathy Gap: Building Bridges to the Good Life and the Good Society

By J.D. Trout
Viking Adult, 2009, 320 pages

Trout explains how our empathic wiring actually undermines the best interests of individuals and society. However, it is possible to bridge this "empathy gap" and improve our decision-making.

Roots of Empathy

By Mary Gordon
Thomas Allen Publishers, 2005, 240 pages

Mary Gordon explains how best to nurture empathy and social emotional literacy in all children—and thereby reduce aggression, antisocial behavior, and bullying.
 

From Detached Concern to Empathy

By Jodi Halpern
Oxford University Press, 2001, 115 pages

Halpern considers ways for physicians to bring empathy into their practices to minimize the sense of detachment patients often feel while also allowing the physician to maintain objectivity.

Emotional Intelligence

By Daniel Goleman
Bantam, 1995, 384 pages

This is the seminal book on emotional intelligence, written for a general audience.
 
 

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Happiness

Flourish

By Martin E.P. Seligman
Free Press, 2011, 368 pages

Redefining what Positive Psychology is all about, Seligman now considers, What is it that enables you to cultivate your talents, to build lasting relationships with others, and to contribute meaningfully to the world--in short, to flourish?

The Happiness Project

By Gretchen Rubin
Harper Paperbacks, 2011, 336 pages

Rubin decides to work on changing one aspect of her life each month for a year, following a recipe for self-improvement culled from the works of happiness researchers and her own observations.
 

Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents

By Christine Carter
Ballantine Books, 2010, 256 pages

The GGSC's Christine Carter distills the wisdom she has been sharing for years in her parenting blog, offering research-based tips for happier, healthier children and families.

The Geography of Bliss

By Eric Weiner
Twelve, 2009, 368 pages

Weiner takes us on a journey around the world to discover what makes some cultural groups happier than others.
 

Positivity

By Barbara Fredrickson
Crown Archetype, 2009, 288 pages

Fredrickson lays out the science of positivity in a book that promises to change the way people look at feeling good.

Curious?

By Todd Kashdan
HarperCollins Publishers, 2009, 355 pages

Todd Kashdan writes on the benefits of curiosity, mindfulness, and embracing uncertainty through science, story, and practical exercises.
 

The How of Happiness

By Sonja Lyubomirsky
Penguin, 2008, 384 pages

Much of our happiness is within our power to control—roughly 40 percent, according to research by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky.

Happiness

By Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener
Wiley-Blackwell, 2008, 304 pages

Happiness documents not just what happy people have in common, but the concrete benefits of happiness. For starters, happy people are more successful and more creative, and they have more friends.
 

Happier

By Tal Ben-Shahar
McGraw-Hill, 2007, 244 pages

Happiness is a skill you can develop no matter how happy you currently are.

Happiness: Lessons From a New Science

By Richard Layard
Penguin, 2006, 320 pages

Since 1950, postwar capitalism has led to an unprecedented standard of living in the West. Yet it has not translated into an equal upsurge in human happiness.
 

Stumbling on Happiness

By Daniel Gilbert
Knopf, 2006, 277 pages

Daniel Gilbert’s engaging and surprising new book, Stumbling on Happiness, won’t teach you how to become happy, but it will convince you of how difficult that goal is to achieve.

The Happiness Hypothesis

By Jonathan Haidt
Basic Books, 2006, 320 pages

Why do some people find meaning, purpose, and fulfillment in life while others do not? Jonathan Haidt’s book draws on ancient wisdom and modern science to answer this question.
 

Happiness: A History

Grove Press, 2006, 560 pages

Throughout history happiness has been equated with the highest human calling, argues McMahon, and our modern belief of happiness is the product of a dramatic revolution in human expectations beginning in the 18th century.

The Handbook of Positive Psychology

Oxford University Press, 2005, 848 pages

The first systematic attempt to bring together leading scholars of the emerging field of positive psychology, this book gives readers an analysis of what the foremost experts believe to be the fundamental strengths of humankind.
 

Happiness and Education

By Nel Noddings
Cambridge University Press, 2004, 320 pages

When parents are asked what they want for their children, they usually answer that they want their children to be happy. Why, then, is happiness rarely mentioned as a goal of education?

Positive Psychology in Practice

By P. Alex Linley, Stephen Joseph, and Martin E. P. Seligman
Wiley, 2004, 770 pages

This book distinguishes itself by not only reporting on breakthroughs in positive psychology, but by emphasizing how these findings can be applied.
 

Flourishing

By Corey Keyes and Jonathan Haidt
American Psychological Association, 2002, 335 pages

Distinguished scholars explore what it means to lead a life wel-lived, expanding the scope of psychological research to encompass happiness, well-being, courage, and other positive qualities.

Authentic Happiness

By Martin E. P. Seligman
Free Press, 2002, 336 pages

A foundational text in positive psychology, explaining how to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment.
 

The Art of Happiness

By The Dalai Lama
Riverhead Books, 1998, 352 pages

A handbook for living. This is the book that kicked off the genre of happiness books, and it remains a cornerstone of the field of positive psychology.

Flow

Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 1990, 336 pages

Flow, a state of deep enjoyment, creativity, and total involvement with life, is something we can cultivate with practice, according to this influential book.
 
 

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Mindfulness

Mindful Discipline

By Shauna Shapiro and Chris White
New Harbinger, 2014, 199 pages

Psychologist Shauna Shapiro and pediatrician Chris White weave together ancient wisdom and modern science to provide new perspectives on parenting and discipline.

Mindful Birthing

By Nancy Bardacke
HarperOne, 2012, 384 pages

Bardacke shares the science and stories behind her Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting Program, and explains how to incorporate mindfulness into daily life.
 

The Mindfulness Revolution

By Barry Boyce (Editor)
Shambhala, 2011, 288 pages

Some of the top experts on mindfulness explain what it is, why we should practice it, and how to apply it at work, at home, and beyond.

The Mindful Child

By Susan K. Greenland
Free Press, 2010, 240 pages

Greenland offers a simple “how to” approach to mindfulness to parents who want to practice with their children.
 

Fully Present

By Susan Smalley and Diana Winston
DeCapo, 2010, 260 pages

Smalley highlights research encouraging readers to try mindfulness themselves, and Winston explains how.

Curious?

By Todd Kashdan
HarperCollins Publishers, 2009, 355 pages

Todd Kashdan writes on the benefits of curiosity, mindfulness, and embracing uncertainty through science, story, and practical exercises.
 

Building Emotional Intelligence

By Linda Lantieri
Sounds True, 2008, 155 pages

Lantieri, with contributions from Daniel Goleman, offers practical techniques to help children calm their bodies and focus their minds.

The Mindful Way through Depression

By Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn
The Guilford Press, 2007, 273 pages

The book draws from both Eastern meditative traditions and cognitive therapy to create a mindful way out of depression.
 

The Mindful Brain

By Daniel J. Siegel
W. W. Norton & Company, 2007, 387 pages

Daniel shows readers how personal awareness and attunement can improve life by boosting well-being, resilience, emotional balance, and other physiological benefits.

Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain

By Sharon Begley
Ballantine Books, 2007, 304 pages

Begley explains neuroplasticity: how experience can shape the brain’s structure—and, in turn, change the way our minds and bodies function.
 

Coming to Our Senses

By Jon Kabat-Zinn
Hyperion, 2005, 631 pages

Jon Kabat-Zinn expands upon the themes of his earlier books: that Buddhist-based meditation and mindfulness techniques can relieve stress and stimulate healing.

Destructive Emotions

By Daniel Goleman
Bantam, 2004, 448 pages

Reporting on a ground-breaking dialogue between scientists and the Dalai Lama, this book explores how can we can develop peace with ourselves and others.
 

Everyday Blessings

By Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn
Hyperion, 1998, 416 pages

The inner workings of mindful parenting of children of all ages.

Wherever You Go, There You Are

By Jon Kabat-Zinn
Hyperion, 1994, 304 pages

Sequel to "Full Catastrophe Living," Jon further delves into meditation and mindfulness theory.
 

Peace is Every Step

By Thich Nhat Hanh
Bantam, 1992, 160 pages

Thich Nhat Hanh shows us how to make positive use of the very situations that usually pressure and antagonize us through mindful practices.

Full Catastrophe Living

By Jon Kabat-Zinn
Delta, 1990, 512 pages

Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness.
 
 

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First Congregational Church of Berkeley
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A Path Appears: Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn

New York Times op-ed columnist Kristof and reporter Sheryl WuDunn talk about their new book, A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity. Presented by the Greater Good Science Center and Berkeley Arts & Letters


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