Penguin Publishing, 2012

The Emotional Life of Your Brain

Richard Davidson’s 2012 New York Times best seller offers a new model for understanding our emotions – their origins, their power and their malleability. He has discovered that personality is composed of six basic emotional “styles,” including resilience, self-awareness, and attention. Our emotional fingerprint results from where on the continuum of each style we fall. He explains the brain circuits that underlie each style in order to give us a new model of the emotional brain, one that will even go so far as to affect the way we treat conditions like autism and depression. And, finally, he provides strategies we can use to change our own brains and emotions-if that is what we want to do.

Praise for The Emotional Life of Your Brain

A mind-opening journey guided by one of the world’s great pioneers in the study of emotion. Richard Davidson addresses the questions about how we become who we are with a scientific rigor and impassioned curiosity that enable us to understand others and ourselves, as well as to directly influence how we approach life with a sense of resilience and vitality. He also crucially reveals the science-proven steps we can take to improve the function and even the structure of our brain. Soak in the wisdom of these pages and enjoy.
— Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., author of "Mindsight"
This superb book is many things – a crystal clear tour of the neuroscience of emotion; a primer about how the scientific process works; a personal story by a really likeable guy; and the promise of a better world. This is a wonderful book.
— Robert M. Sapolsky, Ph.D., author of "Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers" and "Monkeyluv"
“The best book I know on how to use the exciting discoveries of neuroscience to change your life. A fabulous read – a scientific adventure story like Sherlock Holmes meeting Watson and Crick with the Dalai Lama as their advisor.
— Jack Kornfield, Ph.D., author of "The Wise Heart"
The Emotional Life of Your Brain is an eye-opener, replete with breakthrough research that will change the way you see yourself and everyone you know. Richard Davidson and Sharon Begley make a star team: cutting-edge findings formulated in a delightful, can’t-put-it-down read. I loved this book.
— Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., author of "Emotional Intelligence"
Richard Davidson and Sharon Begley have created a pioneering look at the brain chemistry of our emotions. By looking at Davidson’s scientific proof that meditation and other cognitive practices actually change the brain, the authors enable all of us to genuinely modify our most difficult emotional habits and create new and more fruitful ones. Look forward to cultivating keener attention, having more attunement to others, and being more connected to your own intuition. It’s all possible—and this book shows you how.
— Deepak Chopra, M.D., author of "How to Know God"
Whether he is measuring neural activity in the laboratory or climbing the Himalayas to meet the Dalai Lama, Davidson is an inveterate explorer who has spent a lifetime probing the deep mystery of human feeling. Don’t miss this smart and lively book by the world’s foremost expert on emotion and the brain.
— Daniel Gilbert, Ph.D., author of "Stumbling on Happiness"
In this spine-tingling journey through the hills of the Himalayas and the circuitry of your brain, visionary neuroscientist Richard Davidson uncovers deep and practical insights into humanity’s oldest questions: Who are we as individuals? What are the origins of our minds? How do we find peace and cultivate greater kindness for all? Weaving together the latest neuroscience of brain plasticity and emotion and the timeless wisdom of Buddhist thought, “The Emotional Life of Your Brain” will lead you to answers to these questions, and leave you inspired by science and the promise of change for the better.
— Dacher Keltner, Ph.D., author "Born to Be Good"
Richard Davidson, a visionary neuropsychologist, joins with Sharon Begley, one of the most astute science writers, to illuminate the dimensions of our emotional makeup and offer cogent and compelling ways for us to grow into more effective and fulfilled selves.
— Jerome Groopman, M.D., co-author of "Your Medical Mind"
Richard Davidson’s distinguished scientific career has been dedicated to making sense of human emotion and deepening its significance. Now, with the help of writer Sharon Begley, he turns a trove of accumulated facts into wisdom accessible to lay readers and directly applicable to their lives.
— Antonio Damasio, M.D., Ph.D., author of "Self Comes to Mind" and "The Feeling of What Happens"
What a gift from the world’s leading neuroscientist who works on what makes life worth living. This is a must read for everyone who is interested in positive psychology.
— Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., author of "Learned Optimism" and "Flourish"