Dacher Keltner

  • Awe

  • From a foremost expert on the science of emotions, a groundbreaking and essential exploration into the history, science, and greater understanding of awe

    Award-winning social psychologist Dacher Keltner, director of the Greater Good Science Center at University of California, Berkeley, has spent his career speaking to different groups of people, from schoolchildren to prisoners to healthcare workers, about happiness and the good life. These conversations and his pioneering research into the science of emotion have convinced him that happiness comes down to one thing: finding awe.

    In Awe, Dacher Keltner presents a radical investigation into this elusive emotion, which transforms us by quieting the nagging, self-critical voice of our ego, allowing us to collaborate with others, to open our minds to wonder, and to see the deep patterns of life. Drawing on his own research into how awe transforms our brains and bodies, alongside an examination of awe across history, culture, and within his own life during a period of immense grief, Keltner shows us how cultivating awe in our everyday life leads us to appreciate what is most humane in our human nature. The book draws on intensely moving, deeply personal stories of awe from people all over the world-doctors, veterans, environmentalists, poets, artists, ministers, indigenous scholars, midwives, and hospice workers. What these stories tell us is that awe comes, above all, from human connection. It is awe that activates our inclination to share and create strong networks, to take actions that are good for the natural and social world around us. It is awe that inspires the creation of art, music, and religion. And during a moment in which our world feels more divided than ever before, we are greatly in need of awe.

    At turns radical and profound, brimming with enlightening and practical insights, Awe is our field guide for how to uncover everyday wonder as a vital force within our lives.

Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the faculty director of UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center. A renowned expert in the science of human emotion, Dr. Keltner studies compassion and awe, how we express emotion, and how emotions guide our moral identities and search for meaning. His research interests also span issues of power, status, inequality, and social class. He is the author of The Power Paradox and the bestselling book Born to Be Good, and the coeditor of The Compassionate Instinct.

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