book hack

The Age of Empathy

Frans de Waal

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

The Age of Empathy outlines that empathy comes naturally to humans, just as it does to most other animals – we're not wired to be selfish and violent, but kind and cooperative.


The Age of Empathy

The Age of Empathy

by Frans de Waal


The next time you find yourself partaking in a philosophical discussion with family or friends, try out this question: Do you believe humans are evil by nature? It's unlikely that you'll reach a group consensus. If you're more of an optimist, you might be in the camp that believes humans are intrinsically good and generous beings by nature. Others maintain humans are evil and self-serving. This is also a biblical assertion via man's fall to sin, as described in the book of Genesis.

But what's the truth? Is caring for our fellow humans something that comes naturally to us? Turn on any news feed, and it seems unlikely. However, biology and science show that living in peace, harmony, and helping one another are inherently human traits.

Frans De Waal's book, Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society, explains the innate instincts that reside within us all. De Waal details why, like most animals, we're kind and friendly at heart.

Favorite quote

Many animals survive not by eliminating each other, or keeping everything for themselves, but by cooperating and sharing.

- Frans De Waal

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