Cover Image: Friendship

Friendship

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Member Reviews

Lydia Denworth's comprehensive look at the evolution and necessity of friendship is highly informative and engaging. I don't think I've ever devoured a nonfiction book quite this quickly, and that was all due to Denworth's writing style--she ably breaks down even complicated scientific terms and ideas so anyone can understand them by illustrating unfamiliar concepts with stories and analogies from her own life.

Learning more about what scientists are currently discovering about the importance of friendship would have been compelling enough (spoiler alert: friendship is highly important to our health and well-being at all points of our lives) but she also takes us through the all the primate studies that have been conducted through the past several decades. Interestingly, primate research teaches us that friendship is much older than humans are, suggesting that it is not just a nice thing to have; it's a biological imperative. 

Denworth wraps up with an exhortation for us to pay attention to and cultivate our relationships even if we feel we're too busy for friends because just like neglecting our health, the ramifications of neglecting our friends could lead to loneliness in later life, and that loneliness has been proven to be just as deadly as any of our current health crises. Everyone should read this book and then go hug their friends and family members.
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I was not able to finish this book as I did not find it particularly compelling. I tried to read it as part of non-fiction November, but the pacing of the research in the book just did not capture me or motivate me to continue reading it. I enjoy the subject matter, but alas, it just was not compelling enough for me to finish.
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Lydia Denworth does an excellent job of explaining historical and current friendship research to lay people.  She provides copious examples and frequent glimpses into research taking place right now.  She also ties together animal and human research to show that friendship networks are common to many animals, not only humans, and that good relationships affect physical, mental, and cognitive health.  She offers a strong case for making meaningful relationships a priority in our busy lives, starting with childhood and continuing through old age.   I highly recommend this book to people of all ages who seek healthy, meaningful lives.
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