“I'm not sure where I saw this book, but I'm glad it came to my attention. I had no idea how perfect the contained subject was in reference to my interests.
This book examined topics that fascinate me: animals, ethics, ethology, behavioral science, you name it. It was a dense read and it took quite awhile to work through, but it was worth it. Bekoff examined questions that I've always wondered about with anecdotal and evidential support. In short, it was absolutely fascinating to see the development of the study of animal emotions and feelings in the realm of scientific study. It was particularly fascinating to read about the purpose and examination of play in animals as well as grieving and other social interactions like empathy. I was also pleased that Bekoff made a point of differentiating between animal and human emotions while acknowledging their similarities.
I think his writing style was a little long winded and repetitive, but perhaps this was meant to be more of a scientific analysis/paper than a novel, and so I may just be unfamiliar with the format. I think I also disagreed with some of his finer points, but his approach to the subject was so open minded and compassionate that I didn't feel badgered, guilted, or upset with any of his research or opinions.
I feel like this is a book that should be read several times. Maybe one day I can buy it and study it. It's inspiring: makes me want to go back to school to learn ethology, animal psychology, animal preservation, all of that :)”
“Not for everyone. You really have to interested in the subject matter. Still some interesting insights.”Timothy Tosta wrote this review Monday, January 21, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“All the cats I know are in full agreement with Bekoff.”MaryD wrote this review Saturday, May 21, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The book is an eye opener, but I think it would be better if some of the points in the book were backed up by scientific studies as it relies heavily on one off observations made by the author, and while intriguing, I have to wonder if his interpretation is correct (and of course, needs to be recorded on film or observed by others). Scientific studies would confirm if his interpretations are correct. The author no doubt cares about animals and this comes across well in the book. But to do animals justice, espeacially when their welfare is at stake, we need to have confirmation that it is correct - if not, it can be just as damaging to animal welfare as hunting, animal testing, factory farming, and fur farming are.”Emimar wrote this review Thursday, January 20, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This book highlights some very scientific terms that some readers may find difficult to understand. It seems to be a fairy difficult read.”Kaitlyn P wrote this review Friday, September 3, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“love it. Anyone who owns a pet should read this”Mellissa G wrote this review Sunday, May 31, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“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.”