The Village Effect by Susan Pinker Provides Insight into a Common Human Struggle


I continue to return to The Village Effect by Susan Pinker even though this book was published a few years ago. This is one of those rare books that, for me, provides insight into the elusive question of what it means to be truly happy. Though we no longer live in villages and none of us are willing to give up on new technologies to go back to “the way it was,” - the kind of face-to-face contact that village communities provided, science shows, is critical for not only happiness, but also resiliency, longevity and to some degree physical health.  Opportunities for face-to-face connection with others have dwindled significantly.  We no longer naturally cross paths with people or neighbors on our way to the butcher, baker, or candlestick maker. Now, connection takes effort. Now, we’re forced to make plans to see each other.  Now, we can see each other next Thursday evening between 7:15 and 8:00 depending on traffic and barring any work emergencies. We hustle. Juggle. Calculate. We adults could benefit from having a homeroom too. Just like middle school kids. A central place to gather for a daily check-in. To borrow notes or joke swap or fist bump. I can’t tell you exactly how to create a “homeroom” for yourself, but I can assure you this book places you in closer proximity of answering the burning question - “What’s missing in my life?”

Mary Delaney is a writer and licensed psychotherapist. Her 28-Day Relationship Rehab workbook will be available in 2019.