Number one bestselling science writer Jonah Lehrer explores the “only happiness that lasts”—love—in a book that “is interesting on nearly every page” (David Brooks, The New York Times Book Review).
Weaving together scientific studies from clinical psychologists, longitudinal studies of health and happiness, historical accounts and literary depictions, child-rearing manuals, and the language of online dating sites, Jonah Lehrer’s A Book About Love plumbs the most mysterious, most formative, most important impulse governing our lives.
Love confuses and compels us—and it can destroy and define us. It has inspired our greatest poetry, defined our societies and our beliefs, and governs our biology. From the way infants attach to their parents, to the way we fall in love with another person, to the way some find a love for God or their pets, to the way we remember and mourn love after it expires, this book focuses on research that attempts, even in glancing ways, to deal with the long-term and the everyday.
The most dangerous myth of love is that it’s easy, that we fall into the feeling and then the feeling takes care of itself. While we can easily measure the dopamine that causes the initial feelings of “falling” in love, the partnerships and devotions that last decades or longer remain a mystery. “Lehrer uses scores of detailed vignettes to traverse a complicated intellectual landscape, eventually arriving at modern theories of love…He is a talent” (USA TODAY), and A Book About Love decodes the set of skills necessary to cultivate a lifetime of love. Love, Lehrer argues, is not built solely on overwhelming passion, but, fascinatingly, on a set of skills to be cultivated over a lifetime.
Jonah Lehrer is a writer, journalist, and the author of Mystery, A Book About Love, How We Decide, and Proust Was a Neuroscientist. He graduated from Columbia University and studied at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He’s written for The New Yorker, Nature, Wired, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
“Jonah Lehrer has a lot to offer the world… The book is interesting on nearly every page… Good writers make writing look easy, but what people like Lehrer do is not easy at all.”—David Brooks, The New York Times Book Review
"The animating idea of his intriguing new book is that two opposing psychological laws, habituation and love, shape much of human experience... Lehrer uses scores of detailed vignettes to traverse a complicated intellectual landscape, eventually arriving at modern theories of love.... Lehrer is a talent..."—Matt McCarthy, USA Today
"The amazing thing that starts to happen, in pages I wanted to dislike, is that the anecdotes and insights made me stop thinking about Lehrer—stop noticing and interrogating his defensive notations—and instead, started taking measure of my own ability to love."—Nathan Deuel, Los Angeles Times
"Here is my deliberately short review: It is a good book."—Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution