'Age of Empathy' is First 2015 Book Club Selection

The first Paws & Effect Book Club selection for 2015 is "The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society" by animal behaviorist Frans B. M. de Waal.

The discussion will take place 6:30 to 8 p.m., Thurs., Jan. 8, 2105 at the Grand View University main campus library, Des Moines, Iowa.

The library is located on East 14th Street, between Grandview and Morton Avenues. For directions to campus and maps, click here.

With a doctoral degree in both biology and zoology, de Waal teaches, researches, and writes about primate behavior in the psychology department at Emory University, Atlanta, Ga. He is also the director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, also in Atlanta. According to the center's webpage:

[De Waal's] latest research concerns empathy and cooperation, inequity aversion and social cognition in chimpanzees, bonobos, and other species. He and his students have pioneered studies on how behavior is culturally transmitted in the primates, whether elephants recognize themselves in mirrors, how primates react to unequal reward divisions, how well primates spontaneously cooperate, and whether bonobo orphans are as emotionally affected by their trauma as human orphans.

Writing in plain-spoken prose, peppered with plenty of anecdotes, de Wall's "Age of Empathy" explores the possibility that humans—like other primates—are not inherently selfish, but are instead more than capable of creating an empathic and generous society.

"Having an appreciation for other species and their experiences helps us better understand our own relationships with each other," says Paws & Effect Executive Director Nicole Shumate. "So much research-based information is presented in Age of Empathy, it makes it a worthy read, two- or three-times over."