Author(s): Lydia Denworth
The phenomenon of friendship is universal. Friends, after all, are the family we choose. But what makes these bonds not just pleasant but essential, and how do they affect our bodies and our minds?
In Friendship, science journalist Lydia Denworth takes us in search of the biological, psychological, and evolutionary foundations of this important bond. She finds that the human capacity for friendship is as old as humanity itself, when tribes of people on the African savanna grew large enough for individuals to seek meaningful connection with those outside their immediate families. Lydia meets scientists at the frontiers of brain and genetics research, and discovers that friendship is reflected in our brain waves, our genomes, and our cardiovascular and immune systems; its opposite, loneliness, can kill.
With insight and warmth, Lydia weaves past and present, biology and neuroscience, to show how our bodies and minds are designed for friendship, and how this is changing in the age of social media. Blending compelling science, storytelling, and a grand evolutionary perspective, she delineates
the essential role that cooperation and companionship play in creating human (and non-human) societies.
Friendship illuminates the vital aspects of friendship, both visible and invisible, and offers a refreshingly optimistic vision of human nature. It is a clarion call for putting positive relationships at the centre of our lives.