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Survival of the Friendliest

Understanding Our Origins and Rediscovering Our Common Humanity

Brian Hare Vanessa Woods

‘Brilliant, eye-opening, and absolutely inspiring – and a riveting read.’ Cass Sunstein, author of How Change Happens and co-author of Nudge

What is the secret to humanity’s evolutionary success? Could it be our strength, our intellect… or something much nicer?

From the authors of New York Times bestseller The Genius of Dogs comes a powerful new idea about how ‘friendliness’ is the key factor in the flourishing of our species. Hare and Woods present an elegant new theory called self-domestication, looking at examples of co-operation and empathy and what this can tell us about the evolutionary success of Homo sapiens

  • Publication date: September 9, 2021
  • ISBN: 9780861541294
  • RRP: £10.99
  • Pages: 304
  • Publication date: August 20, 2020
  • ISBN: 9781786078834
  • RRP: £16.99
  • Pages: 304
  • Publication date: August 20, 2020
  • ISBN: 9781786078841
  • RRP: £6.99
  • Pages: 304

Reviews

‘Brilliant, eye-opening, and absolutely inspiring – and a riveting read. Hare and Woods have written the perfect book for our time.’

Cass Sunstein, author of How Change Happens and co-author of Nudge

‘An utterly persuasive explanation for why the human psyche has evolved to be dangerous – and what to do about it. It should be read by every politician and every school-child.’

Richard Wrangham, author of The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evolution

‘Very few books even attempt to do what this book succeeds in doing. It begins in basic behavioural science, proceeds to an analysis of cooperation (or lack thereof) in contemporary society, and ends with implications for public policy. Everyone should read this book.’

Michael Tomasello, author of Origins of Human Communication and Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University

‘Please read this beautiful, riveting, and uplifting book. You will learn the astonishing story of how and why humans evolved a deep impulse to help total strangers but also sometimes act with unspeakable cruelty. Just as importantly, you’ll learn how these insights can help all of us become more compassionate and more cooperative.’

Daniel E. Lieberman, author of The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health and Disease and Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do is Healthy and Rewarding

Survival of the Friendliest is a fascinating counterpoint to the popular [mis]conception of Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest.’ Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods offer a convincing case that it was not brute strength, raw intelligence, or ruthlessness that allowed modern humans to thrive while our hominin relatives died out. Instead, they argue that friendliness was the key to our flourishing – and that the same kind of cooperative communication is the key to freeing us from the tribalism currently threatening democratic governance around the world. Powerful, insightful, accessible – this book gives me hope.’

Megan Phelps-Roper, author of Unfollow

‘How can a top predator like the wolf have evolved to become “man’s best friend”? Finally a book that explains in the clearest terms how friendliness and cooperation shaped dogs and humans. This book left me with a happy and optimistic view of nature.’

Isabella Rossellini, actress and activist

Brian Hare

Brian Hare is Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University, where he founded the Duke Canine Cognition Center. His research on ‘dognition’ has been published in the leading journals. With his wife Vanessa Woods, he cofounded the new dog intelligence testing and training company Canines Inc. To find out more, visit the Dognition website.

Author page

More books by Brian Hare

Vanessa Woods

Vanessa Woods is a research scientist at the Duke Canine Cognition Center as well as an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in BBC Wildlife and New Scientist, among others. She is also author of the acclaimed memoir Bonobo Handshake, which tells the story of the scientic love affair and partnership with her husband, Brian Hare. With Hare, Woods cofounded the new dog intelligence testing and training company Canines Inc. To find out more, visit the Dognition website.

Author page

More books by Brian Hare

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