Why did I love this book?
In the face of abject terror that was put in place by evolution and exacerbated by culture, nothing is quite as calming as facts and science. These psychologists spent three decades testing the various ways people reacted when given a reminder of their own mortality, and they were startlingly uniform. For example, when given a death reminder people are more likely to give in to prejudice, to vote for ‘charismatic’ leaders, to have the urge to shop or place a higher value on material goods, and become more defensive of their cultural symbols.
For me, it’s incredibly comforting to realise the behaviour we see every day—or even in ourselves when bereaved—is a predictable psychological response.