Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life

Penguin Pr. Jan. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9781984879684. $28. PSYCH
Keltner’s (psychology, Univ. of California, Berkeley; Born To Be Good) book considers what awe is and the contexts in which it arises. It looks at how awe transforms thoughts of self, one’s relationship to the world, and physical reactions to it. The author analyzes personal stories in which his participants exhibited awe at the beauty they discovered in libraries, art institutions, and scientific explorations. He looks at finding collective effervescence in activities like dance, professional basketball, and other collective movements. He also examines nature and how it has been used as a source to heal the traumas of combat, loneliness, and poverty. The richness of nature has been used to open eyes, minds, and hearts, and lets people see their problems on a smaller scale, enabling them to sort out solutions to their problems. Finally, Keltner explores awe in music, visual arts, religion, and spirituality. He also probes life and death, while positing eight wonders of life where awe reveals personal insights into the meaning of life.
VERDICT This book is destined to become a classic and should be included in any behavioral and social sciences library.
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