Format Hardcover
Publication Date 06/04/24
ISBN 9781639366484
Trim Size / Pages 6 x 9 in / 320

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The Laws of Connection

The Scientific Secrets of Building a Strong Social Network

David Robson

This groundbreaking study reveals how social connections are far more important than we thought, showing us the steps we can take to build better relationships and improve our lives.

Social connection is as essential for our health and happiness as a balanced diet and regular exercise. It reduces our risk of stroke, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. It enhances our creativity and adds years to our life span. Yet many of us struggle to form strong and meaningful bonds—and the problem lies not with our personalities but with a series of cognitive biases that stop us from fulfilling our social potential.

In The Laws of Connection, award-winning science writer David Robson describes the psychological barriers that lead us to keep others at a distance and offers evidence-based strategies to overcome them.

Drawing on philosophy, neuroscience, and cutting-edge psychology, Robson introduces readers to new concepts such as the liking gap, the novelty penalty, the fast-friendship procedure, the beautiful mess effect, and the Japanese art of amae. Whether we are shy or confident, introvert or extrovert, we can all build deeper relationships. The Laws of Connection shows us how.

David Robson is an award-winning science writer and the author of The Intelligence Trap and The Expectation Effect. A graduate of Cambridge University, he previously worked as an editor at New Scientist. His writing has appeared in the Guardian, the AtlanticMen's Health, the Psychologist, the Washington Post, and many other publications. The Intelligence Trap has been translated into fifteen languages. David lives in England.

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Endorsements & Reviews

"Science writer David Robson has encouraging news for those who struggle to create meaningful bonds with others. In The Laws of Connection, he insists that people like and respect you more than you might think and that they are keenly interested in your deepest thoughts and feelings. Mr. Robson isn’t just being kind, although the book’s tone is upbeat. His claims are rooted in recent studies in psychology and neuroscience that social connection is vital to mental health and longevity." The Wall Street Journal
"[A] persuasive study. Robson skillfully traces the benefits of social connection down to their psychological and neuroscientific roots without getting too mired in the science and concludes chapters with specific 'action points,' such as asking 'why questions—which encourage broader insights—rather than how questions' in moments of conflict. Those struggling to reestablish social bonds in the wake of the pandemic will find Robson’s insights especially valuable." Publishers Weekly
"The Laws of Connection is the perfect antidote to modern-day isolation. With his trademark brilliance and nuance, David Robson offers a hopeful and entertaining take on why so many of us feel like islands in a sea of people and provides practical, evidenced-backed strategies for creating bridges, connecting to others, and living more socially fulfilled lives." Hal Hershfield, UCLA Professor and author of Your Future Self

"A brilliant book from a world class science synthesizer. The Laws of Connection is a masterful distillation of the latest research into the benefits of sociality. Robson unveils a series of practical, science-backed tips for forming and maintaining healthy relationships of all kinds; tips that will not just extend but possibly even save your life. Robson encourages us to be brave: talk to strangers, be quick to compliment, be vulnerable and honest, reconnect with lost friends, ask for help, forgive, apologize, and above all accept that social connection is as vital to our mental and physical health as food and water. It’s a roadmap to overcoming social timidity and a science-based cure for misanthropy." Justin Gregg, PhD, author of If Nietzsche Were a Narwhal


"Robson has distilled a vast amount of high-quality research into an engaging manual on what makes or breaks meaningful social connections. I was astonished at how many long-held assumptions we hold that are just plain wrong. In an era of increasing social isolation, The Laws of Connection is a necessary and timely book." Lauren Aguirre, author of The Memory Thief and the Secrets Behind How We Remember finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
"David Robson is one of my favorite science writers. He strikes the perfect balance between scientific accuracy, engaging storytelling, and practical relevance. His latest book compiles the best advice to come out of the large body of research on interpersonal relations to offer a comprehensive roadmap for building connections and strengthening relationships. Whether you want to get better at small talk or at staying close to the important people in your life, this book provides tangible, scientifically vetted solutions." Vanessa Bohns, Cornell professor and author of You Have More Influence Than You Think
Praise for David Robson:

“As David Robson makes plain in this compelling book, the way we think about the world can profoundly shape how we navigate it. Based in science and packed with smart advice, The Expectation Effect will expand your mind?and maybe even extend your life.” Daniel Pink, New York Times bestselling author of When, Drive, and To Sell Is Human
"Highly readable. Strikes the right balance between illustrative vignettes and accessible translations of complex research, delivering a smart look at intellect and its shortcomings." Publishers Weekly
"An engrossing standout in the thinking genre that will appeal to anyone who has ever been wrongheaded." Kirkus Reviews
"The Intelligence Trap combines mesmerizing storytelling with groundbreaking new research about why having a high IQ can backfire. Essential reading for anyone who wants to think more clearly." Rolf Dobelli, author of The Art of Thinking Clearly