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Publisher's Summary

An entertaining investigation into the biology and psychology of why we sacrifice for other people. Researchers are now applying the lens of science to study heroism for the first time. How do biology, upbringing, and outside influences intersect to produce altruistic and heroic behavior? And how can we encourage this behavior in corporations, classrooms, and individuals? Using dozens of fascinating real-life examples, Elizabeth Svoboda explains how our genes compel us to do good for others, how going through suffering is linked to altruism, and how acting heroic can greatly improve your mental health.

She also reveals the concrete things we can do to encourage our most heroic selves to step forward. It’s a common misconception that heroes are heroic just because they’re innately predisposed to be that way. Svoboda shows why it’s not simply a matter of biological hardwiring and how anyone can be a hero if they're committed to developing their heroic potential.

©2013 Elizabeth Svoboda (P)2013 Gildan Media LLC

Critic Reviews

"Elizabeth Svoboda's engaging new audiobook explores what makes a hero - and reveals science behind the greatness and generosity possible to any human being." (Jill Neimark, co-author of Why Good Things Happen to Good People)

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What listeners say about What Makes a Hero

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

With The Passing Of Nelson Mandela...

we are reminded of what the heroic life really means. Svoboda not only challenges us to find our inner "hero" but demonstrates how evolution has programmed us toward altruism. This book is a fine overview of the theory, but it should be read with other more thorough books on the neo-Darwinian look at selflessness like Robert Wright's The Social Animal and Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

hard to listen

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Have someone else read it

Would you be willing to try another one of Rose Itzcovitz’s performances?

Not in the near future, though long term I don't see why she couldn't improve.

Any additional comments?

I'm having a hard time getting through the book, because I keep getting distracted by the narration.
The diction is largely good, though it falls through the cracks on a regular basis - this tells me the narrator is certainly capable of speaking clearly, but she collapses some words into an unintelligible mess when she'd rather just move on to the next sentence.

What drives me crazy is the cadence. Picture a 4th grader reading a poem - there's a strong rhythm (so not a painfully even tone which can also be maddening), but the rhythm is fixed and not very responsive to the nuances of the text. So there is often unneeded emphasis on non-essential words, or plowing straight over what should be a break in the sentence or a crucial point. There's no reason this should happen. All it takes is a careful reading of the text *before* narrating it. Try to think about the main points the author is making in each paragraph, and then render it accordingly. Maybe that will mean shorter takes, but it will make it soooo much easier to listen to the final recording. Argghh!!!

Anyway, maybe 2 stars is too harsh, but 3 would be too much. With a little more care, I think the narrator is easily capable of 4 or 5.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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a politically correct piece of garbage

I tried to keep an open mind, but as time went on it was ever more evident that the author is a idealistic leftist, with a very strong bias in favor of meditation and other new age ideas and strong Buddhist leanings. I don't have any objections to Buddhism. In fact, I think it's a fine religion with a lot of good philosophies. However, she mentions no other religions with teachings that focus on loving others, including our enemies. she also seems to be very much in favor of having our schools teach our children meditation and similar mental exercises.While there is nothing wrong with encouraging our kids to be more compassionate, this kind of training sounds a like brainwashing to me, and possibly even religious indoctrination. I was hoping to learn something about how to encourage our First Responders and military personnel to be more compassionate, selfless, and courageous in the performance of their duties, but all I saw was a lot of politically correct, new age silliness.

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I picked it for its title, but it was lacking

I felt the book was too unfocused as if she didn't have a clear idea what she was doing. At times the author writes as if she is a reporter, other times like a kid learning a topic. I picked up a couple of points at best, but at most an unfocused agenda book with little meat.

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not what I expected

This is a collection stories which has to do with altruistic behaviour, and heroic individuals. I expected more information on current research being conducted in the field of psychology but instead found that this text only glossed over research