WHY WE LOVE: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love

(Henry Holt, 2004)

What ’tis to love? Shakespeare asked. People probably pondered this as they lay around their campfires and watched the stars a million years ago. Anthropologist Helen Fisher and her colleagues have put 49 men and women into a brain scanner to understand this ecstasy: 17 who had just fallen in love; 15 who had just been rejected; and 17 who are still in love after 21 years of marriage. In WHY WE LOVE, Fisher follows romantic love among peoples around the world (the oldest love poem comes from ancient Sumeria over 4,000 years ago.) She discusses what happens in your brain when you fall in love, saying one area also “lights up” when you feel the rush of cocaine. She traces types of love, the feelings of love, the evolution of love, love among other creatures—from wolves to ducks and chimps, and the future of this beguiling feeling. “Romantic love,” she says, “is a powerful and primordial mating drive that evolved to find and keep life’s most precious gift—an appropriate mating partner. “

“Helen Fisher’s book will entice you, charm away your resistance to its thesis, seduce you into accepting it. It is poetic, sexy, beguiling, and all at the same time, scientific.”
— Richard Dawkins.

“Like the words of a talented lover, Fisher’s prose is charming and engaging…In hands as skilled and sensitive as Fisher’s, scientific analysis of love only adds to its magic.”
— Scientific American

Selection of the Scientific American Book Club; Discovery Book Club; The Quality Paperback Book Club; Bertelsmann Media Spolka (Polish book club); Recommended in: 360° of Reading: A Literature Guide for the College Bound. 16 foreign language editions. Buy from Amazon.com

Why We Love: published in 26 countries