The Village Effect

How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier and Happier

Publisher: Vintage Canada
In her surprising, entertaining and persuasive new book, award-winning author and psychologist Susan Pinker shows how face-to-face contact is crucial for learning, happiness, resilience and longevity.

     From birth to death, human beings are hard-wired to connect to other human beings. Face-to-face contact matters: tight bonds of friendship and love heal us, help children learn, extend our lives and make us happy. Looser in-person bonds matter, too, combining with our close relationships to form a personal "village" around us, one that exerts unique effects. And not just any social networks will do: we need the real, face-to-face, in-the-flesh encounters that tie human families, groups of friends and communities together.
     Marrying the findings of the new field of social neuroscience together with gripping human stories, Susan Pinker explores the impact of face-to-face contact from cradle to grave, from city to Sardinian mountain village, from classroom to workplace, from love to marriage to divorce. Her results are enlightening and enlivening, and they challenge our assumptions. Most of us have left the literal village behind, and don't want to give up our new technologies to go back there. But, as Pinker writes so compellingly, we need close social bonds and uninterrupted face-time with our friends and families in order to thrive--even to survive. Creating our own "village effect" can make us happier. It can also save our lives.



"Read this book. Then talk about it--in person!--with a friend." Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell Is Human
"Drawing on scores of psychological and sociological studies, [Pinker] suggests that living as our ancestors did, steeped in face-to-face contact and physical proximity, is the key to health, while loneliness is 'less an exalted existential state than a public health risk.'... Smart readers will take the book out to a park to enjoy in the company of others." The Boston Globe
"A narrative-rich book.... Pinker doesn't just describe the 'big deal,' as she puts it; she doesn't hesitate to suggest solutions, starting with her own." Maclean's
"Good peers help make centenarians." Tyler Cowen, The New York Times
"Persuasive." The Globe and Mail