The survival of the nicest : how altruism made us human and why it pays to get along / Stefan Klein ; translated by David Dollenmayer.

by Klein, Stefan, 1965- [author.]Looking glass; Dollenmayer, David B [translator.]Looking glass.

Publisher: Brunswick, Melbourne, Vic. ; Scribe Publications, 2014.Description: xv, 253 pages : illustrations (black and white) ; 24 cm.ISBN: 1615190902; 1922247626; 9781615190904; 9781922247629.Subject(s): AltruismLooking glass | Evolutionary psychologyLooking glass | Human behaviorLooking glass | Interpersonal relationsLooking glassNote: Originally published in 2010 in German, in slightly different form, by S.Fischer Verlag GmbH, Frankfurt am Main.Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2014

This revelatory tour de force by an acclaimed and internationally bestselling science writer upends our understanding of "survival of the fittest"--and invites us all to think and act more altruistically

The phrase "survival of the fittest" conjures an image of the most cutthroat individuals rising to the top. But Stefan Klein, author of the #1 international bestseller The Science of Happiness and winner of the Georg von Holtzbrinck Prize for Scientific Journalism, makes the startling assertion that the key to achieving lasting personal and societal success lies in helping others. In fact, Klein argues, altruism is our defining characteristic: Natural selection favored those early humans who cooperated in groups, and with survival more assured, our altruistic ancestors were free to devote brainpower to developing intelligence, language, and culture--our very humanity. As Klein puts it, "We humans became first the friendliest and then the most intelligent apes."

To build his persuasive case for how altruistic behavior made us human--and why it pays to get along--Klein synthesizes an extraordinary array of material: current research on genetics and the brain, economics, social psychology, behavioral and anthropological experiments, history, and modern culture. Ultimately, his groundbreaking findings lead him to a vexing question: If we're really hard-wired to act for one another's benefit, why aren't we all getting along?

Klein believes we've learned to mistrust our generous instincts because success is so often attributed to selfish ambition. In Survival of the Nicest, he invites us to rethink what it means to be the "fittest" as he shows how caring for others can protect us from loneliness and depression, make us happier and healthier, reward us economically, and even extend our lives.

Originally published in 2010 in German, in slightly different form, by S.Fischer Verlag GmbH, Frankfurt am Main.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Introduction (p. ix)
  • Part I You And I
  • Chapter 1 The Unexplained Friendliness of the World (p. 3)
  • Chapter 2 Give and Take (p. 20)
  • Chapter 3 Building Trust (p. 35)
  • Chapter 4 Feelings Without Borders (p. 54)
  • Chapter 5 There Is Only One Love (p. 73)
  • Part II All of Us
  • Chapter 6 Humans Share, Animals Don't (p. 95)
  • Chapter 7 It's the Principle of the Thing (p. 116)
  • Chapter 8 Us Against Them (p. 137)
  • Chapter 9 The Evil in Goodness (p. 154)
  • Chapter 10 The Golden Rule (p. 169)
  • Chapter 11 The Triumph of Selflessness (p. 190)
  • Epilogue: The Joy of Giving (p. 207)
  • Notes (p. 211)
  • Bibliography (p. 225)
  • Index (p. 245)
  • Acknowledgments (p. 253)
  • About the Author (p. 254)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Publishers Weekly Review

Klein (The Secret Pulse of Time: Making Sense of Life's Scarcest Commodity) transforms Darwinian interpretation of evolution and resets the conversation about how we relate to each other as individuals and communities in this mind-bending book. Klein's inquiry fuses the work of neuropsychologists, neuroeconomists, geneticists, philosophers, anthropologists, a chemist, and a lion expert, with myriads of studies conducted in cultures around the world. He distinguishes, then connects dots, between abstract concepts, using the growing body of fMRI experiments to illustrate biological activations of sharing, empathy, sympathy, selflessness and his main subject, altruism. He then he applies familiar behavioral models, including the Prisoner's Dilemma, in constructing new arguments. His main point-that over time evolution has favored cooperation-is simple but profound and so astutely argued that if there is a science to winning readers over, Klein has surely mastered it. Far from pedantic or sententious, the wealth of knowledge here is astounding. His conviction history, empirical facts and ongoing discoveries about human characteristics and societies serve as a roadmap for a better world. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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