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The Compassionate Brain

How Empathy Creates Intelligence

Gerald Hüther

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


The Compassionate Brain presents readers with a ‘user’s-manual’ for the brain, an evolutionary overview of its development and role in human culture, and a heartfelt plea for its intelligent and merciful use.  This is the first of Hüther’s books to be translated into English.  Let’s hope this fascinating and provocative treatise is not his last.” —Body and Soul

Here is the ultimate explanation of the brain for everyone who thinks: a guide to how the brain works, how our brains came to operate the way they do, and, most important, how to use your precious gray matter to its full capacity.
The brain, according to current research, is not some kind of automatic machine that works independently of its user. In fact, the circuitry of the brain actually changes according to how one uses it. Our brains are continuously developing new capacities and refinements—or losing them, depending upon how we use them. Gerald Hüther takes us on a fascinating tour of the brain's development—from one-celled organisms to worms, moles, apes, and on to us humans—showing how we truly are what we think: our behavior directly affects our brain capacity. And the behavior that promotes the fullest development of the brain is behavior that balances emotion and intellect, dependence and autonomy, openness and focus, and ultimately expresses itself in such virtues as truthfulness, considerateness, sincerity, humility, and love.
Hüther's user's-manual approach is humorous and engaging, with a minimum of technical language, yet the book's message is profound: the fundamental nature of our brains and nervous systems naturally leads to our continued growth in intelligence and humanity.

Publishers Weekly Review

Jun 12, 2006 – A kind of users manual for the human brain, neurobiologist Huther's work explains in straightforward terms how the brain works, how our environment and behavior affect its development, and recommendations for the most effective ways to encourage our brains (and our children's) to operate at the highest possible levels. Beginning with the scientific basics of brain function, Huther's discussion ranges from the history of European philosophy (especially Plato, Kant and Heidegger) to current trends encouraged by the mass media. Especially striking are the final sections of the book, which begin with a quote from seventeenth-century Jesuit writer Baltasar Gracian, whose theological investigations of human conduct reach the same conclusions as Huther's laboratory research: humans must encourage all actions and mental habits that engender feelings of deep personal concern (empathy) and reject those that do not. Although the discussion avoids moralizing, Huther's conclusions border at times on the apocalyptic, with visions of a human race trained by TV, advertising, video games and consumerism to content themselves with material comfort and overstimulation, to the point that they become nearly incapable of survival. Huther is an engaging writer, however, and this concise, elegant work will appeal to a great many readers, from those interested in neuroscience and psychology to those interested in philosophy, religion, and history.
The Compassionate Brain
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Science & Nature
  • Published: Feb 19, 2013
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications
  • Seller: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Print Length: 160 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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