Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN 10: 9780195189117
ISBN 13: 978-0195189117
One of the most profound interactions that can occur between people, apologies have the power to heal humiliations, free the mind from deep-seated guilt, remove the desire for vengeance, and ultimately restore broken relationships. With On Apology, Aaron Lazare offers an eye-opening analysis of this vital interaction, illuminating an often hidden corner of the human heart.
He discusses the importance of shame, guilt, and humiliation, the initial reluctance to apologize, the simplicity of the act of apologizing, the spontaneous generosity and forgiveness on the part of the offended, the transfer of power and respect between two parties, and much more. Readers will not only find a wealth of insight that they can apply to their own lives, but also a deeper understanding of national and international conflicts and how we might resolve them.
The act of apologizing is quite simply immensely fulfilling. On Apology opens a window onto this common occurrence to reveal the feelings and actions at the heart of this profound interaction.
"At a time in our history when there seems to be so much to apologize for--Lazare's book is a wise reminder of how much depends on the sincerity and openheartedness with which we acknowledge that a wrong has been done and begin to work together toward forgiveness."--Francine Prose, Oprah
"Lazare, a gifted psychiatrist, distinguishes between genuine apologies and statements of sympathy ('I'm sorry for your loss') and pseudo-apologies of the kind often favored by politicians ('I'm sorry if you were offended by anything that was said').... The strength of this book rests in the
stories of apologies that Lazare has collected from people, politics, literature and history."--Washington Post Book World
"This unique book is sure to set a reader thinking on many levels, but its ultimate message is the meaning and the magically transformative power of what would seem on the surface to be a simple apology. No one who becomes familiar with Dr. Lazare's perceptive interpretations will forget his
sensitivity and wisdom."--Sherwin B. Nuland, MD, author of Lost in America and How We Die
"This jewel of a book reveals the many facets of the seemingly simple act of apology.... Drawing on a vast array of literary and real-life examples, from Agamemnon to George Patton to Arnold Schwarzenegger, from the current pope to the machinist who approached him after a lecture, Lazare
lucidly dissects the process of apology.... Everybody on earth could benefit from this small but essential book." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Traces the history of the world's most humbling act, exploring everything from Lincoln's apology for slavery to Arnold Schwarzenegger's mea culpa after allegations of breast-groping."--Wall Street Journal
"The culmination of the prestigious career of a man who has dedicated his entire professional life to improving relations between people."--The Forward
"Moving, enlightening, and potentially profoundly healing, On Apology is a timely gift for our era. Aaron Lazare sheds light on one of the most basic of human interactions, and on why people, and even nations, can feel so bad and then so good, on both sides of a true apology. His skillful
storytelling and analysis touchingly reveal our common humanity, how we might nurture it, and how it is also sometimes ignored or betrayed. You may find yourself more than once in tears of empathy and uplift."--Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, author of Wherever You Go, There You Are and Coming to Our
"A splendid treatment of a fascinating set of topics that touch all of our lives."--Sissela Bok, PhD, author of Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life and Secrets: On the Ethics of Concealment and Revelation
"A detailed review of the psychology and process of apology...Lazare's contribution touches on basic human emotion and interaction and will be of interest to a wide general audience as well as to those in the healing professions."--Douglas G. Langsley, M.D., former president of the American
"Intimacy is healing, and apology is a powerful doorway to intimacy and healing. This is the most important book ever written on the value of apology. Highly recommended." --Dean Ornish, MD, author of Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease and Love and Survival
About the Author
Aaron Lazare, M.D., is Chancellor and Dean, and Professor of Psychiatry, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, in Worcester, Massachusetts and Senior Psychiatrist at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He is a leading authority on the psychology of shame and humiliation, and wrote a highly regarded article on apology in Psychology Today that led to appearances on "Oprah," "Talk of the Nation."