• The Science of Compassion

  • A Modern Approach for Cultivating Empathy, Love, and Connection
  • By: Kelly McGonigal Ph.D.
  • Narrated by: Kelly McGonigal Ph.D.
  • Length: 6 hrs and 45 mins
  • Speech
  • Release date: 09-01-16
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Sounds True
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.6 (69 ratings)

Regular price: $34.28

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Publisher's Summary

Breakthrough science and practical tools for cultivating compassion.
Why is compassion so powerful? Like many forms of spirituality and meditation, compassion practice has been shown by research to enhance your health, psychological well-being, relationships, and sense of purpose. "The unique quality of compassion," teaches Dr. Kelly McGonigal, "is that its benefits extend to the one who offers it, the one who receives it, and all those who witness compassion in action."
With The Science of Compassion, this acclaimed researcher presents a practical workshop to help you understand what makes compassion work - and how you can cultivate it in your life.
The Power of Choosing Compassion
Compassion can be a difficult choice to make - after all, why would we deliberately choose to add another person's pain to our own? "Not only does our compassion ease the suffering of others," teaches Dr. McGonigal, "Our brain, heart, and entire physiology are tuned to support us when we make the courageous decision to be compassionate." In this seven-hour training intensive, she provides invaluable tools and guidance for overcoming emotional fatigue, empathic distress, self-judgment, and other obstacles that can keep us closed down and afraid to reach out.
"Compassion is an embodied state that prepares us to take positive action," says Dr. McGonigal. Here is an audio course filled with cutting-edge science, inspirational stories, and research-based practices to help you build your capacity for generosity, empathy, and kindness - and become a compassionate force in the world.
©2016 Kelly McGonigal (P)2016 Sounds True
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By David on 10-09-16


This is probably one of the most powerful and life-changing books I have ever listened to on Audible. I have felt more connected to others since I began listening to it. I have experienced an increase in self-compassion, an increased sense of well-being, and an overall sense of equanimity. It has enriched my life. A heartfelt thanks to Kelly McGonigal for another excellent book.

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13 of 13 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Margaret E. Hess on 05-08-17

Want 2 know the particular hormones of compassion?

What made the experience of listening to The Science of Compassion the most enjoyable?

This book gives significant scientific backing to the benefit of being more compassionate for the purpose of helping. (In one study people were actually less altruistic when paid for their empathic responses.)

What other book might you compare The Science of Compassion to and why?

Into the Magic Shop maybe because of the way it makes Science so fantastic and some of the subject matter.

Which character – as performed by Kelly McGonigal – was your favorite?


What did you learn from The Science of Compassion that you would use in your daily life?

Most interesting to me is that health benefit really seem to abound when we think about compassion. In fact, by simply meditating compassionately (thinking of a loved one while focusing on the physical heart), boosts dopamine which is our hormone that makes us feel something good will come of this. Also, meditating compassionately increases for just 5 minutes the antibody SIGA (which increases when you hug people) by 240% and the SIGA antibody lasts in us 1-5 hours. In fact, a study was done where participants snorted the cold virus and with just five minutes of compassionate thinking, they were significantly less likely to get sick.

But by far the most interesting anecdote I found was about progesterone, the recovery and strengthening hormone. According to a study of 1,000 adults in a Buffalo New York study, care-giving and volunteering protects us from mortality and illness. So our longevity improves dramatically when we care.

Any additional comments?

At least so far, McGonigal's research seems to focus on compassion in a way that side steps the use of the term “self compassion.” The thing to remember here, I would suggest, is that compassion and self compassion are really the exact same thing. It can be complicated to think about, especially because compassionate acts with self serving purposes can have the adverse affect. But we must know that there is the such thing as legitimate intrinsic honest to goodness self compassion that is not greedy at all and by virtue of its nature, it has a ripple effect. After all, compassion heals suffering and all suffering is connected.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Nekir on 01-20-18

Solid introduction to Compassion

What did you like best about The Science of Compassion? What did you like least?

I enjoyed the casual tone of this audiobook. It thought it gave a solid introduction to the topic of compassion, and made some interesting points about the scientific implications of the practice of compassion.
I would have preferred to have sources for all the studies she cited, so I could check the validity of those studies afterwards.
I did not enjoy the meditations so much, they felt a little vague to me. I also didn't get on with the idea of breathing into my heart, as it contradicts the usual practice of breathing into your belly. You end up filling the upper part of your lungs, which doesn't allow for very deep breathing.

Was The Science of Compassion worth the listening time?

I did enjoy listening to this audiobook, and as it was fairly short, I would say it was probably worth it. If you're not a big fan of meditation, you can easily skip the last chapter, which is just an hour of guided meditations.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Svein Olav Nyberg on 04-16-17

Good information

Good information from science and Buddhist practice about how compassion interweaves with so many other positive traits. The meditation instructions were not so good imho, especially in the instruction to breathe INTO the heart rather than THROUGH it leaves the meditator filling his chest rather than his abdomen with air. But by avd large, this book was mainly about the positives and the science, and I recommend it to my friends.

Her voice was pleasant enough to listen to, but vocal fry killed the performance, and I had to work hard to dissociate the sound of Kardashians. Sorry Kelly, if you read this, but I hope you take it as encouragement to do something about it, rather than a disparagement.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Michael on 11-10-16

Be the compassion

This is a deeply considered, strongly structured and supported, and authentically delivered gift of compassion. It is what it describes and offers: access to the sources of compassion, in ourselves and in and for others. It is academically sound and heartfelt. Thank you, Kelly McGonigal.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Victor Roberts on 10-10-16

A must for personal growth

Kelly's ability to share and guide on this topic of compassion is a must for personal growth

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