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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing Animal Science and Common Sense Together
Once in a while it's a joy to come across an inspiring book which deserves to be consulted time and time again. Lesley Skipper's brilliantly researched and observed "Inside Your Horse's Mind" had that effect on me, as did Lucy Rees' "The Horse's Mind". For me, this beautifully written book, by the eminent animal biologist Marc Bekoff, will be sharing pride of place on...
Published on 28 July 2008 by C. Johnson

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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Waste of Time
This ought to be a fascinating book, given the subject. In fact I had difficulty finishing it. It's extremely repetitive. Over and over again Bekoff states that animals do indeed have emotions - most readers likely to buy or borrow the book probably don't need persuading of that. Over and over again he criticises scientists who deny the existence of emotions in...
Published on 17 Mar 2010 by S. Lewis


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing Animal Science and Common Sense Together, 28 July 2008
By 
C. Johnson "Clive Johnson" (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy and Why They Matter (Paperback)
Once in a while it's a joy to come across an inspiring book which deserves to be consulted time and time again. Lesley Skipper's brilliantly researched and observed "Inside Your Horse's Mind" had that effect on me, as did Lucy Rees' "The Horse's Mind". For me, this beautifully written book, by the eminent animal biologist Marc Bekoff, will be sharing pride of place on my bookshelf.

This is a study which anyone who has an interest in animal behaviour will delight in. Behaviours such as loneliness and weaving amongst elephants, bereavement of donkeys and affection shared by whales remind us that all mammals share many neuroanatomical similarities, even if we cannot be sure that they experience emotion in the same way.

The book might be seen as a series of self-contained essays, tackling topics such as what animals feel and ethical questions about how we respond to what we know about animal emotion. Bekoff doesn't pretend to know the answers, but he challenges fellow scientists to use common sense alongside their quest for the perfect `scientific method' and to stop seeing animals as little more than moving objects. He argues that anecdotes gathered from repeated observations aren't to be brushed off as fool-hardy irrelevancies, and even suggests that there's a time and place for carefully applied anthromorphism.

Whilst backed by extensive research - the end notes alone reach over 30 pages - Bekoff's writing style is simple, speaking to the lay reader and written from the heart. I actually felt I could picture him sitting at his window wondering what it's like to be the fox standing on his lawn, whilst the whole book is written from a desire to better understand and co-exist with the animals he so loves. As his co-founder of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Jane Goodall says in her Foreword, `I only hope [the book] will persuade many people to reconsider the way we treat animals in the future.'
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Emotional Lives of Animals, 10 July 2008
By 
Tami Brady "Tami Brady: Transition-Empowermen... (Calgary, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy and Why They Matter (Paperback)
Animals and emotions. It's a touchy subject. Most people can readily admit that most animals have primary (fight or flight) type reactions. However, opinions begin to change when researchers start discussing secondary emotions, like love, compassion, sadness, etc.

Anyone who has ever had a pet knows for a fact that their cat, dog, snake, etc has such emotions. We know for a fact that they have very distinct personalities and preferences. Yet, somehow the same people, find it difficult to believe that a chimpanzee, an elephant, a wolf, a magpie, or a fish might also be capable of something beyond primitive reactions.

The Emotional Lives of Animals gives accounts of animals displaying what would seem to be primary emotions. As one would expect, the author discusses big brained animals such as elephants, higher primates, whales, and dolphins. However, the most interesting studies look at unexpected animals such as fish to examine their capabilities.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Waste of Time, 17 Mar 2010
By 
S. Lewis "Sash" (Belgique) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy and Why They Matter (Paperback)
This ought to be a fascinating book, given the subject. In fact I had difficulty finishing it. It's extremely repetitive. Over and over again Bekoff states that animals do indeed have emotions - most readers likely to buy or borrow the book probably don't need persuading of that. Over and over again he criticises scientists who deny the existence of emotions in animals; it would be better to spend more time analysing why so many scientists have unfortunately felt the need to do this. The book is inevitably anecdotal, but many of the anecdotes are not particularly interesting or interestingly told. And there's a certain flavour of US-style New Age woffle which is often very irritating. In short, the book's a bore; don't waste your time with it.

It does, however, have one virtue. Among the references cited by Bekoff is a 2006 article by New York Times journalist Charles Siebert called "The Animal Self". If you have Bekoff's book in paperback, you can find the reference to the article on page 174, referring back to page 50. The very long link Bekoff gives to the article doesn't work, but you can easily find it simply by googling Siebert or checking the NYT website. In less than 15 A4 pages (and free of charge) the article describes the latest research on personality in a wide variety of animals, with brief but precise scientific background and details. Inevitably, Siebert is short on individual anecdotes about the personality and emotions of animals, but you can find them in plenty of books. So don't bother with Bekoff - download Siebert's article for the basic scientific information on animal personality and then follow up your individual animal interests with the amazon websites.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 16 April 2014
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This review is from: The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy and Why They Matter (Paperback)
Absolute proof for those that needed it that animals have emotions. A beautiful book and a great insight into the animal kingdom.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, 17 Dec 2013
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Very good and thought-provoking book. I felt he went beyond the evidence in his conclusions, but maybe that's because I'm a meat-eater.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love it., 6 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy and Why They Matter (Paperback)
This books makes me laugh a minute and cry the next. Really powerful and emotional it just reminds me every time of why I am vegetarian.
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5.0 out of 5 stars compelling, 8 Jun 2013
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A great read. Inspires one to think. An intelligent, well written book that stays strongly in the scientific domain. Recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting & Insightful, 24 Jan 2013
This review is from: The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy and Why They Matter (Paperback)
I love this book! Clear and easy to read, while bringing in some very interesting points on the behaviour and emotions of various animals. I read it while researching behaviour for a project and found it to be a great read and very useful! Would recommend to anyone interested in animals or behaviour!
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4.0 out of 5 stars well written, 25 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy and Why They Matter (Paperback)
you will never look at any animal in the same way as before you read this very well written book
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 1 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy and Why They Matter (Paperback)
It is such a touching book and I really hope that one day everyone will get a chance to experience it, and be able to find the ability to show more respect and understanding for animals like Bekoff does.
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